There's a deep rot in gig culture in India, perpetuated by a system of draconian taxes, red tape, and a certain lack of creativity (but that's an issue for another time). In case you've looked around at the state of live independent performances in Delhi NCR, you might have noticed that pretty much all large scale shows have dried up.
NH7 Weekender literally packed up and said 'never again' to Delhi. Permission hassles, entertainment tax, corrupt officials asking for free tickets in bulk - it's all come together to turn Delhi into a buttfuck for anyone trying to do an honest gig here. The entire space is marred by administrative and licensing incompetence. Oh, and a preposterous 25% tax on stand-up comedy shows.
Even the Bryan Adams gig in 2011 in Delhi was cancelled after cops decided there would be 'parking problems', which is just the lamest excuse I've ever heard. It's not just the fault of ineffectual officials however, Delhi also has a history of housing the worst crowds. Delhi festival goers don't want to pay for tickets for most performances, leading to abysmal turnouts for all but the most commercial of acts coming in. When the Delhi boyz do decide to show up though, they go on to cause the kind of mayhem that led to the annoyingly avoidable cancellation of the Metallica concert. What a fuckin' shitshow.
Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Coldplay - all of them played in Mumbai. Granted, that's not exactly my jam, but there's a lot of people in Delhi who are all up in that zone, and I can understand their pain when these guys don't come to Delhi. It's 2017, man. Hell, Lil John freakin' performed at Kitty Su. So why the fuck are we seeing fewer and fewer concerts that really blow our balls off? There's the ASEAN India Music Festival that happens at Purana Qila, which is a great free gig to go to, but the only reason that always goes off without a hitch is because it's literally organised by the freakin' government. Which means if they wanted to to, we could easily watch the Arctic Monkeys or whoever the fuck play through a 15 bajillion watt PA while drinking Coronas with our feet in the grass.
Just to put things in perspective, Weekender has now been happening in a blissed out patch of greenland near Shillong. The logistics of holding a massive 3 day festival in the middle of literally nowhere is still easier than sorting out a concert in the capital.
We could have our own version of the Mahindra Blues Fest that happens in Bombay, with legends of the blues from across the world coming in and just ripping it. We could have our own Sulafest, with Old Monk instead of Sula wine to go with the reggae, dub and swing that rules there.
But no. Our dreams drift ever further, just like the last note of that guitar solo from 5 years ago. Or was it 6?