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What is a live band? Confusion over the term creates chaos among Bengalureans



BENGALURU: Every now and then confusion reigns high over the term ‘live band’ in Bengaluru and it is back to haunt pub owners. A statement by the Chief Minister in which he apparently said that government will not tolerate live bands and is looking at regulating pubs that stay open late in the night, followed by a directive to an Indiranagar performance hot spot by the local cops requesting them to get their license sorted has sent the city’s music fraternity into a tizzy. What’s adding to the panic is that there isn’t much clarity on the issue.

Musician Chris Avinash says, “This issue has cropped up earlier as well and there has been no clarity, and there probably will never ever be any. In my understanding, when there are grey areas looming over issues, they can be only solved by taking local authorities into confidence and then figuring out an amicable situation. This has been the way things have been happening over the years.”

Will this directive sent by the cops and authorities asking club owners to get licenses to allow live-band performances spell trouble for bands looking to perform in Bengaluru? Tejas Shankar of Lagori believes that is not the case. “I think people are reacting too quickly and hastily. Yes, there is an alarm that has been raised owing to the Chief Minister’s statement. But one needs to understand what he means by the term live band. There are talks about specific licenses. One needs to find out more about the issue. Things will sort themselves out; people need not panic prematurely,” he says.

But what does live band really mean in Bengaluru? While live bands in a pub or a hot spot generally means a musical act performing in front of an audience, there is also a disguised parlance for bars, where girls dance to peppy numbers to titillate patrons.

KV Dhananjay, attorney at the Supreme Court and the Karnataka Hight Court, adds, “I don’t think even the government has a clear idea of what it wants to do. There were some extreme actions and reactions in this context earlier. There was a point of time when one couldn’t have music and patrons could not take to the dance floor. Now, when they say live band, we don’t know what they intend to prohibit. I think there is a lot of confusion and exploitation that happens. What one needs to remember is that there are places where women are exploited to perform and those performances are not family-friendly. If the government wants to prohibit that, then I think that is alright. But the government laws are generally so vaguely worded that it also prevents patrons from dancing. Right now, I do not know what the extent of the prohibition is. All said and done, we can distinguish between a professional music band and patrons getting on the dance floor. I don’t think authorities will take offence to that.”



Live bands or dance bars? What is it that the government will not tolerate?



Viraj Suvarna, whose performance-friendly hot spot in Indiranagar received a notice, says, “We have received a notice (see right) to get an entertainment license. This is the same license holds good for dance bars. For this, we have been asked to get a lot of certificates and documents in place, many of which are hard or nearly impossible to get for the old pubs, whose buildings were constructed before most of these practices came into place. I will be meeting the Commissioner of Police to figure out the way forward.”

The notice mandates to obtain a license to run live band (live or recorded in the place of public entertainment) as per The Licensing and Contolling of Places of Public Entertainment Order 2005

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