Can Coldplay concert success revolutionise India’s live music scene?

While Mumbai revels to the tunes of global music icons, questions still linger



News - India & You

November 21, 2016

/ By / Kolkata

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Chris Martin still remains the heartthrob of a number of Indian music lovers

Chris Martin still remains the heartthrob of a number of Indian music lovers

Over 80,000 spectators crooned with the British rock band Coldplay in Mumbai on Saturday; however, why international bands don’t perform in India regularly remains an enigma.

India was perhaps seeing a stellar line-up of this stature for the first time. American rapper Jay Z, pop singer Demi Lovato, British pop rockers Vamps, Coldplay and AR Rahman (the home-grown global icon) performed at the maiden Global Citizen Festival held in Mumbai, India on Saturday. Not many could have expected it out of blissful ignorance, but Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech addressing the audience should have given the audience an idea that this was not a regular charity event. Global Citizen is an annual event that is happening for the very first time outside the United States and that too in India.

In the middle of budgetary promises and arrangement declarations by both government and open establishments, the first ever Global Citizen Festival held in Asia was by far the greatest music celebration in India. Bollywood music directors and singers such as Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Arijit Singh and Farhan Akhtar gave the audience their most loved hits, and there were even a few silver screen personalities like veteran Amitabh Bachchan, Sonakshi Sinha and Shraddha Kapoor grabbing the microphone to treat the audience to their vocal abilities.

Challenges for international concerts in India

Primarily, organisers would hide their inabilities to host such global concerts by stating that these shows are not profitable enough. These explanations don’t work now after India has seen Iron Maiden playing in Bangalore almost annually now. However, the problem lies in entertainment taxes charged and that too varies from state to state. In India, all states do not have the same laws and regulations; the difficulty of organising a massive concert also depends on which state it is being held in. There are dissimilar laws that seek to regulate these concerts – starting from environmental and sound pollution laws, to entertainment taxation laws, administrative orders in metros that control large public gatherings and nightlife, various police acts and even public nuisance laws. Most of the organisers in India are novices in terms of understanding the Indian laws.

The Global Citizen Festival 2016 witnessed records being broken in terms of numbers. In two months after launching the Global Citizen Festival in India, the organisers received 500,000 registered user applications to take up 2,000,000 actions for their tickets. Commitment of investment of up to INR 40.5 billion (EUR 560 million) were tallied and much remains to look forward to for the audience at the next edition. Despite India being slow starters in terms of hosting regular international concerts of this scale, will this show turn the tides in favour of the millions who fan worship stars like Chris Martin? Only time will tell.

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