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Coming together to oppose the ban on live bands

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FOR A CAUSE: Members of Soul Circus performing in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue as part of a protest against the ban on discos in Bangalore on Sunday.
FOR A CAUSE: Members of Soul Circus performing in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue as part of a protest against the ban on discos in Bangalore on Sunday.

Staff Reporter

They plan to protest every Sunday until it is lifted

‘Those who make a living with music are losing out on locations to perform at’

‘No other metro in the country has such narrow-minded rules’

Bangalore: Even as the Bangalore police have resolved to curb “illegal” live bands in and around the city, a group of musicians, music managers and supporters gathered in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue and at Cubbon Park to stage a protest on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

The sudden decision to stage a protest against the ban on live bands was taken after Opus, the restaurant and bar on Palace Cross Road, had to call off its live act on Saturday night due to police intervention.

With banners asking for the ban to be lifted and singing songs on the theme, the protest was an impromptu decision taken at 11 a.m.

“We are among the 32 other clubs, pubs, lounges and discotheques that have been asked to cancel live gigs. Only recorded music is allowed,” said Carlton Braganza, owner of Opus.

While the protest was staged by those who have little or nothing to do with Opus, their anger is focussed on the fact that those who make a living with music are losing out on locations to perform at.

Kabir Ahmed, owner of Soul Cirkus, an entertainment management company and spokesperson for the protesters, said: “We plan to protest every Sunday until this ban is lifted.” Sources say that the Live Band Association has pushed for the ban because it believes that if it is not allowed to operate, then neither should others be allowed to have live performances.

Refusing to comment on demands made by the protesters, Commissioner of Police Shankar M. Bidari said: “The owners of some bars and restaurants have given representations to permit live music performances. But we are merely implementing the law under Section 31 of the Karnataka Police Act.”

The Hindu spoke to members of two well-known bands in the city who are upset over the turn of events. A rock guitarist who did not want to be named, said if the ban stays, then local bands would have no place to perform.

“As it is, night life in Bangalore ends at 11 p.m. This ban will be the last nail in the coffin (for performers) in Bangalore,” he said.

Another artiste, specialising in vocals, said that the only choice they are left with is to perform in places outside the State.

“No other metro in the country has such narrow-minded rules. Such rules don’t exist anywhere else. Bangalore is now famous for implementing rules that will surely lead to the decline of whatever music culture is left,” he said.

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