Over the next four months, the Hanging Gardens in Malabar Hill, will take up an old purpose. Every Saturday until May, the park will host two band performances at its amphitheatre.
A bunch of young, enthused, music and Mumbai lovers have been lobbying for the use of open spaces, an effort that has paid off with the Revival of the Bandstand Culture in Mumbai project, which kickstarts this Saturday.
“The city used to have an incredible bandstand culture but now gardens have just become jogging spots. For any space to be utilised well you have to have more character. Bandstands are unique to us, it’s a great platform for musicians and a reason for people to congregate and that’s a winning combination,” said Stuart Da Costa, bassist for the jam-band Something Relevant.
The band and the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) organised the first set of bandstand performances at the garden and the Bandra Bandstand promenade in 2007. “It’s sad that most bandstands are defunct or being redeveloped. Our attempt is to make this an annual feature and even include more venues,” said Kavita Sharma, joint director, BCCI, the body that acquires the permits from the BMC.
Bombay Elektrik Projekt (BEP), an arts and culture enterprise, has set the music agenda, which they promise will cover a range of genres. “Everyone talks about the scene but not many come forth to contribute. The idea is to promote one bandstand at a time and new talent too,” said Kenneth Lobo, co-founder BEP.
Each band will have a two-hour slot and an opening act preceding the headlining band. Space Cadets, a Facebook group is doing it’s best to push the concert and the cause. The performances will culminate in a mini music festival at the same venue in May. “We are waiting on permissions to use the Dadar Bandstand,” said Sharma.