Monday, January 08, 2007

My apologies, Herbie & Wayne (for not being able to catch you guys)

Jazz legends, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter are performing in Mumbai, this weekend. We got euphoric and my guitarist friend, Bojangles lined up outside Rhythm House, on the morning of the first ticketing day only to experience despair and frustration. All the tickets got over in the first 10 minutes! Deja Vu! Deja Vu! Hasnt this happened before...when Jean Luc Ponty was here?

Still sad and angry about the whole affair, I saw a letter this morning which made me feel a tad better. With the permission from its writer, I am putting that 'happiness inducing' letter here on my blog. The writer, a Jazz afficionado (and a good musician too) has addressed the letter to Lalitha (as you will see) who is writes in Midday, the daily with the flavour of Mumbai city

Dear Lalitha,

Thank you for writing about one of my favourite jazz artists Herbie Hancock whose music I have been collecting since the mid 70's before the age of the CD. Your article ended with the details of the show and the tickets. Perhaps you are not aware of how this was organised.

I was standing in a queue at the NCPA Saturday morning since 9 am because the NCPA told me the previous day that the box office opens at 9. There were 7 people in the queue when I arrived there but many joined the queue later and it was long and winding by 10 am. At around 9.30 am a little boy walked around the queue telling everyone that there were only 30 tickets available. He was trying to forewarn the people in the queue that they might not get any tickets and they should not waste their time.

10 am the same little boy opens the window at the box office. The 6 people in front of me don't look like jazz afficionados for sure. I am the last one in the queue to get 2 tickets. Some of the people in front of me have even booked 7 tickets each exhausting the 30 tickets allotted to the NCPA very quickly. This raises a lot of questions in my mind about how this city is organising jazz and blues shows:

1. How come there are only 30 tickets available when the auditorium holds close to 900 seats.

2. The only tickets available were 30 at NCPA and 100 at Rhythm House. Both locations exhausted their inventory in the first 10 minutes.

3. Who is really seeing these shows for Buddy Guy and Herbie Hancock? Obviously not people who are interested in jazz or blues? Because people like me never get tickets for these shows.

4. Is it people in high places? Is it VIPS? Is it corporates? How many of these people know jazz or have even heard of Herbie Hancock before they saw the first ad in the TOI?

5. Why are prestigious organisations like the NCPA hosting these shows and going through the indignity of offering 30 seats on the last row of their auditorium to the public?

6. Jazz is a people's art. Its not for the rich, the influential, or the monied.

7. Whoever the organisers are why are they going throught the motions of pretending to offer tickets to the public? Why isn't this just a private show for their sponsors?

8. Does Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter know that the people who really know their music are not going to have a chance to see their show? And that the people in the audience who clap in the auditorium are really people who don't know jazz?

9. Why is that our auditoriums are empty for many of these shows and yet tickets are never available in anything but small numbers to the public?

I was wondering if you knew the answers to any of the questions raised or would like to investigate more about them. There is a whole body of people> who love jazz in the city and will not be seeing this show. I wish you could talk to them. I can give you their contact details.

Prabhakar Mundkur
Thanks for making us music lovers feel a bit better, Prabhakar...enjoy your trip to 'Cantaloupe Island' with the "Watermelon Man' and a 'seventy something' saxophonist.


Two With Nature said...

I'd really like to see what the Mid Day journalist's response was, if any. You should put that up too - including the silences.

Naked said...

tickets weren't the only uns that sold out.

meraj said...

a response from Oranjuice Entertainment in reply to the published letter...

To all the Jazz lovers of Mumbai.

The management of Oranjuice entertainment sincerely apologizes for the lack of tickets for the Black & White VH1 Jazz India Concert.

We honestly had nothing to do with the ticket distribution, but apologies on behalf of all concerned.

Also let this be top of all our minds to say a big NO when people ask for complimentary tickets as it is our strong belief that Comp tickets kills live music.

However one must understand that with due regards to everybody's feelings credit must be given to VH1 for putting up this show.

One needs to understand and although It's unfortunate but due to multiple sponsors & bodies supporting the show each of them require tickets for their investment.

We need bigger auditoriums and venues in Mumbai and a healthy ticket buying audience to put an end to such situations in the future.

Warm rgds


meraj said...

so arti...the midday woman directed the mail in the right direction.