Drummer Maynard Grant has been on stage every New Year since 1986. But this year will break this trend. Like most of his friends in the city’s western music circuit, he won’t be on stage as the hotel he was supposed to play at called off the celebrations because of the floods.
While one party less may be a small sacrifice for most, for musicians it means missing the biggest pay cheque of the year. “Bands make anywhere between `70,000 to more than `2 lakh on this one night,” says Maynard, who was supposed to play at the Presidency Club.
Some hotels like Le Royal Meridien have cancelled their celebrations because they don’t believe it is appropriate for revelry, according to the F&B head. Others, like the GRT Grand in T Nagar and The Raintree, Anna Salai will not hold a bash as the managements and staff are still recovering from the effects of the deluge.
Usually, bookings for New Year’s Eve begin as early as six months in advance, so performers cannot jump ship for a better deal later. By the time celebrations were being cancelled in the first week of December, it was too late for most to find gigs. Those who don’t have day jobs, like crooner Marcia Nicholas who relies solely on her performances for income, were perhaps the worst affected. “I’m a single mom and this time of the year is usually a huge boost for me,” sighs the singer.
This is not counting the other concerts cancelled through the month of December. Corporate gigs, private parties and theme nights featuring performers at hotels have taken a hit this year.
Everyone, from DJs to sound and light technicians and emcees, is heading to bear the brunt. A DJ who plays at a popular club in the city says, “I signed up to play at a farmhouse for New Year, but now it’s completely washed out. I had to return my advance, which was an unexpected blow. Now I definitely don’t feel like fireworks.” While some have tried to squeeze in last minute gigs at other cities, most tell City Express they are resigned to a quiet New Year’s Eve at home. And the hope is that 2016 will bring in a little more cheer, even if that means a slew of off-season shows.