Be it the Gaslight Café in New York where Bob Dylan first got noticed or the pubs lining the streets of Seattle, which played no small part in the rise of grunge bands such as ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Pearl Jam,’ pubs have been a major factor in promoting the growth of musicians in every city. Closer home, the thriving rock scenes in Bangalore and Mumbai are partly owing to the assured performing venues provided by the pubs.
The capital city still has only a single pub — ‘Purple Lounge’ near the Overbridge junction that was started six years ago. Over these few years of existence, it has played host to several rock and metal festivals, organised by the bands and fans here.
“On concert days, we have huge crowds coming in even from outside the city. The entry fee is always kept low to get more people in. There is scope for more such pubs in different parts of the city,” says Madhu, manager of the pub.
Right from getting the sponsors to dealing with the authorities, who still see rock concerts with a tinge of suspicion, organising a public concert is a nightmare for the few who take the pains to do it. The lack of enough venues is also a major problem.
“For most of the concerts I organised, I have never got back even half the money I invested in. But it is all being done in the hope of the scene improving in the future with regular concerts,” says Rohith L.T, drummer of the band ‘Pathayam,’ who organised ‘Uthrada Chinthu’ rock festival at the Manaveeyamveethi during Onam with the help of the Tourism Department. Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar had then promised to make it an annual affair. The lack of proper sound systems, hiring which will set one back by a few lakh, has also been a concern for the bands.