Ban on live music at pubs robs livelihoods, gives relief to others

Art & Culture City Event Lifestyle

Bengaluru city’s nightlife has gone a little silent due to the ban on live music at pubs.

Twenty-seven pubs in Bengaluru were barred from playing live music in 2018. The number has now increased to 107, according to reports, causing huge losses to the F&B industry.

Artists who used to perform at these pubs say they do not earn a living anymore.

“I used to do jam sessions with my mates in BFlat, a pub in Indiranagar, regularly and then we formed our band and started playing there professionally. We were getting a lot of crowds and appraisals. But due to the new regulations and licensing problems, we had to leave what we love most. My mates go to private companies (to perform), but I couldn’t get into one as I couldn’t get over my passion. So I left the city and am following my passion in Mumbai,” said Swarnabha Gupta, a guitarist who used to play in Bengaluru’s pubs.

Rishikesh Dharap, a guitarist who used to play at a pub in Indiranagar, informed The Observer: “I used to play the guitar at two to three pubs in Indiranagar and Koramangala. The earning was sufficient to sustain myself, but with the ban, I had to stop playing was faced with an economic crisis. I started to find jobs but those weren’t of my interest. In the end, I took a call center job.”

Since many of the pubs didn’t have licence to play loud music, police banned live music as per the Supreme Court’s orders.

“Too many restrictions have been imposed on pubs, bars, and discos. The F&B industry is facing losses. Rates of different licences are increasing by the day.  We have to pay the audio company if we play any music…. The government hasn’t mentioned any proper instructions,” said the manager of a pub who didn’t wish to be named.

N. Prathap Reddy, the assistant commissioner of police, Ashoknagar, said pubs and bars need to have occupation certification to play loud music and organize any live concert. “A pub must be built according to a certain plan so that it does not intervene the city life. We go in when we receive any complaints against them.”

Dr. Chetan Singh Rathor, DCP, Cubbon Park police station, said: “Pubs and bars which have licence can play music up to a time. After that, if we receive any complaint, we act immediately.”

Many residents have complained to police against loud music.

Anuja Sengupta, a resident of Koramangala, said: “The pub What’s in a Name’, situated in a residential area of 5th Block, is quite disturbing at times. There shouldn’t be any pubs in residential areas as they affect their serenity.”

Rajkumar S, a resident, shared: “Due to the noise and the beats that come from pubs near our residential area, it is very difficult to sleep at night. Children cannot concentrate on studies.”

Swamy KL, assistant director of town planning, BBMP, said: “Every vacant place needs to have plans approved by the local authority. In Bengaluru, BBMP, BDA, BMRCL are the authorities that issue completion and occupancy certificates. If the pubs don’t have such certificates, then they are illegal.”

Akshay Heblikar, director of Eco-Watch, said: “Pubs and discos have to be away from residential areas. The music in pubs has to be below certain decibels so that it doesn’t affect the neighborhood. Loud music creates noise pollution. Unregulated and technically faulty licences for pubs, bars, and discos in and around residential areas have to be canceled. There has to be a demarcation between residential, commercial and recreational areas.”

The Supreme Court had while upholding ‘The Licensing and Controlling of Places of Public Entertainment (Bangalore City) Order, 2005, held that it is the duty of the police to maintain and give precedence to the safety and the morality of the people and the state. “Indeed, both are important and lie at the heart of the doctrine that the welfare of an individual must yield to that of the community.”


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