First of all… RIP Aurus. You hung in there as long as you could. But Shah Rukh Khan’s tiff and Bollywood’s unnecessary limelight has once again highlighted a not-very-life-threatening situation in Mumbai. Here’s to having one less place in a city that lacks space.
However, that’s not what the fraternity is currently agitated about. What’s bothering music lovers right now is the fact that Fatboy Slim has given this city a miss. Instead the gig is happening in Delhi, where people probably think ‘Fatboy’ is Norman Cook’s first name.
The decision to skip Mumbai didn’t come as a shock, though. In the past, David Guetta, Metallica, Lady Gaga, Akon and The Prodigy have also ignored us. And with news of Aerosmith coming to Pune in November this year, this situation doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better.
Girish Bobby Talwar, co-promoter and director of OML, which has successfully pulled off NH7 Weekender in Pune for the last two years, happens to explain why. The primary reason, of course, being: there isn’t any space! (Space that permits liquor being served, that is.)
“There was MMRDA, but then you can’t serve alcohol there; and it’s the same with the Andheri Sports Complex. Turf Club is the only venue that has recently realised the potential in gigs, but it has limited capacity when we’re looking at people in excess of 8,000,” says Girish, going on to provide a probably-questionable yet interesting insight. “At a big gig in Mumbai, you’ll see very few people coming in from Pune, Delhi or Bangalore, but many people from here like travelling to these places for gigs.” He’s probably right, though there’s no way to substantiate the fact that Mumbai’s spending power seems to have bitten it in the a**.
And it’s far from fair to expect us to do so, but such seems the case. “The entertainment tax in Mumbai (which is reportedly 25 per cent in contrast with 10 per cent in Karnataka and 15 per cent in Delhi) is also a negative, but it’s not a deterrent when you’re doing a gig that is a large scale show. It’s the space that’s the issue,” he insists. I think it’s time we join the thousands who’ve been fighting for ‘open spaces’ in this city. So what if they stand for different reasons, we could still strike a deal. And if you can spot spaces that you feel can be better utilised, please do tell, we would love to try and help you help us.