India: Live music banned, concert cancelled



Live music banned, concert cancelled

The organisers of a concert on 1 August 2008 in Bangalore got a surprise notice from the police. They were told that no restaurant in the city could host live music anymore.

Recorded music would be fine, but not live, one of Bangalore’s popular nightspots was informed by the police. The restaurant had scheduled to host a show with Virgil Donati — labelled the “wildest drummer in the world”. In a hurried move, the Virgil Donati-Brett Garsed show was postponed to 6 August and moved to a regular auditorium in the city.

This was reported by The Indian Express which also wrote that Bangalore, once known as the ‘Pub City’ on account of a pub culture, finds itself stretching at the moral seams as a small but increasingly international and modern lifestyle vies with conservative administrative mindset. Misadventures in the framing and interpretation of new laws have not helped matters either.

According to The Indian Express the current clampdown on live music and discotheques in Bangalore began around 1 August 2008 after owners of the dance bars filed a petition in the high court stating that many discotheques were functioning without licenses in the city. Summoned to the high court, Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari promised to shut down all places operating in violation of the 2005 public entertainment order. He warned local police inspectors of suspension if any establishment violated the order in their respective areas.

The clampdown has resulted in two Sunday protests in the heart of Bangalore — the first by a handful of people and then by over 1000 — for restoration of live music in restaurants. But the Police Commissioner and Home Minister have stated that there will be no relaxations in the existing law.

“The number of people who want a nightlife in Bangalore constitute a small percentage. Those against it are larger in numbers. Maybe it will take another 10 years for the majority of the city to adapt to a new lifestyle,” a senior government official said.


The Indian Express – 13 August 2008:

‘Bangalore mourned the day music died’

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