The 6th of March promised to be an eventful day, with some of the best metal bands in the country scheduled to perform at Metal Assault, which was to take place at a local venue called Pebbles. The show started on time at 3 p.m with Kerala based band Chaos playing a great set followed by their compatriots in The Down Troddence upping the ante soon after. However, trouble soon reared its head before Inner Sanctum had a chance to take the stage. A cop showed up at the venue demanding that the show be stopped at once due a complaint lodged by a lawyer who resided in the same neighborhood. Apparently, the lawyer, who was entertaining the Chief Justice as his guest, requested the police to shut down the event immediately, as he could not conduct his business with the Chief Justice due to the ‘loud noise’. To top it off, he threatened to use his influence with higher authorities if his request was not complied with.
I was then taken to the police station along with the manager of Pebbles, Mr Mathew, where we met the lawyer. We apologized and assured that the volume would be reduced, and subsequently requested him let the show go on since we had bands and fans who travelled from all over the country for the gig. The Inspector of the High Grounds Police Station filed a petty case against me, because according to him I was creating a ‘public nuisance’ and also warned me against turning the music back on. If I did not comply, he told me that I would be arrested unconditionally. While I was willing to risk arrest for the sake of the event, the management of Pebbles refused to allow me to continue citing their desire to ‘safe guard’ their venue.
This has raised many questions
1) Prior to conducting the event, I had consulted with Mr. Harris (the Pebbles owner) stating that the event would go on throughout the day, since the PA and sound system would have to be set up and tested during the morning before the show began. He was completely aware of this and did not have any issue whatsoever. If I had known ‘loud music’ would have been a problem for a place that usually plays much louder music on a regular basis, I would not have held the event at the venue.
2) Pebbles is a venue that is known to conduct events that range from DJ nights to EDM shows every weekend. Bizarrely, after the entire mess, they told me that since I didn’t use their own PA system, the volume of the event got out hand. The PA at Pebbles is insufficient to run a live rock or metal event and there have been events before where organisers have brought in their own PA systems, so why was it an issue now?
3) Pebbles is surrounded by marriage halls that frequently play music at ear shattering levels many times during the year. Why then was this event singled out for being ‘too loud’?
4) Pebbles has a license to hold live music events on their premises. This was not the first time a live event has taken place there, so, once again, why was my event singled out?
I don’t really want to get sucked into a blame game here, but if Mr.Harris from Pebbles really cared about organisers running events at his venue, he would have offered to help with the situation at hand. While he was in Goa, the Pebbles manager Mr. Mathew and I were running from pillar to post trying to get the gig up and running. Mr. Harris, however, could not be reached, since he never bothered answering his phone, despite numerous calls from our end.
Mr. Harris, I would like to openly state that due to your negligence towards your own venue, I was shamed into apologizing and pleading before the police for no fault of my own. I have also suffered tremendous monetary loss due to the shutting down of the event.
To everyone who attended, I am truly grateful and I cannot thank you enough for your patience and support. Having said that, I would like to further explain the situation we are facing. As most of you know, we run events on the revenue model of ticket sales. All money that comes from these ticket sales goes towards hiring the venue, hiring sound and lights, booking flights and hotels for the artists and much more. Due to this we are unfortunately unable to provide refunds at this point. We are, however, aware that 170 people purchased their tickets through Book My Show, while a further 50 purchased tickets at the venue.
To make up for what has happened, we have a similar event planned, wherein everyone who has purchased a ticket for Metal Assault will be given free entry. To the 50 people who purchased their tickets at the venue, we kindly request you to send in your names at [email protected] so that we can keep a record for the next event.
I would like to once again offer my sincere apologies to everyone who attended the show, especially to all the amazing people who travelled long distances to attend the gig. I thank you immensely for your support and patience through all of this, and I hope this will not deter you from attending more metal events in the future. I would also like thank the wonderful crew who area always the backbone of the festival, Special Thanks to Sufiyan Ken No, Shiva, MadDas, Saurabh, Chintan Chinnappa Nikhil V. Pai Govind Joshi! You guys are always awesome!
Salman U. Syed
(Promoter – Bangalore Open Air)