BENGALURU: World Music Day was celebrated across the city on Friday except in Indiranagar. Most of the city’s popular watering holes in this area welcomed the day with silence, choosing not to play any music. Uncertain over their future, pubs and bars are staring at a crisis as irate residents have approached the High Court, filing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against loud music being played by several establishments in the area.
Pub owners said that they had to cancel several gigs scheduled for celebrating the day as well as for the rest of the weekend.“We had called artistes from Mumbai and Chennai but had to cancel since news of the PIL spread. Some were cancelled at the last minute, even though our establishment is sound proof.
Because of this our patrons are moving towards Koramangala and we are losing out on business,” said the owner of a bar.
Last week, the court had directed the police to use noise measuring equipment to check sound levels. Recently, they pulled up the police’s status report on the check, terming it a ‘casual’ effort asking for a more serious attempt. However, restaurant managers say that these checks have forced them to turn off the music entirely or reduce the volume drastically.
“We had a line up for World Music Day which had to be cancelled. Zero music means zero crowd. Restaurants and bars depend on artistes to keep customers entertained but now we cannot do anything,” said Kiran B, manager at PUMA Shuffle. Chef Shaikh Istekhar from Black Rabbit said,” We had booked gigs one month ago for big artistes and 15 days ago for smaller ones for World Music Day. These had to be cancelled owing to issuing of notices from the police. We are supposed to be making Rs 1.5 lakh per hour but our business has dropped to Rs 40,000 ever since we stopped playing music.”
“ This is a huge loss of business for us and turning off music is as good as shutting shop for us,” he added.
Effect on the livelihood of artistes is another aspect that pub owners highlighted. The residents on their part have been fighting a long standing battle against illegal commercialisation, violation of building bye-laws in residential areas and noise pollution late into the night. Owing to the crowd it draws, Indiranagar along with Ulsoor sees the highest parking violations in the city. Street crimes also unnerve residents of the area, especially on weekends when the crowds are larger.