As noble as the intentions are behind the proposed clampdown on commercial activities, many citizens rue the loss of an iconic space.
Home to concerts that have put Bangalore on the world map, the politician’s favourite spot for supersize rallies, and a convenient arena for exhibitions and trade shows, the centrally located venue will be sorely missed. Even venue organisers and those who own the rental rights for certain sections of the grounds said they spent most of the day receiving calls from vexed customers who wanted to know if there was any chance of their event being permitted.
The best musicians
Several rock heads, who view the Palace Grounds as hallowed, what with the best bands having performed here, posted sad-smileys on Facebook and social media, expressing their sense of loss.
The proprietor of an event management firm that organises rock shows said: “This is a sad day. Where else in the city can we organise concerts?”
While there are smaller spaces in the city where concerts can be held, all these have limited capacity, which means that the price of tickets will spiral upwards making it unaffordable for the “real music lover”.
Vinay, who says Palace Grounds is a globally known rock destination, explains: “There have been concerts in smaller spaces, but that’s for an exclusive audience. Tickets there cost Rs. 5,000 upwards, whereas here it is possible to organise on a larger scale and charge even below Rs.1,000 if there are decent sponsors.”
The same holds true for expos. “Expos cost around Rs. 3 lakh, and given that the trade fair business is so competitive, losing Palace Grounds means that we cannot do it at a large scale anymore,” says a manager at an event management firm. A better option, she believes, is that the government take over the grounds’ management, rather than shut it down.
Political activists too are upset with the new order. Of course, political rallies here are few and far between given costs are high and permits tough to obtain. However, ABVP activist Prem Kumar points out that though Freedom Park is an alternative, it simply cannot hold enough people. When the ABVP held a State-wide event there a few years ago at Palace Grounds, the rental was around Rs. 2.5 lakh. “There are no other spaces in Bangalore to hold such events. They cannot simply ban all political activities there,” he said.