With places of worship and sabhas (music institutions) clustered in and around the locality, it comes as no surprise that Mylapore is the hub of cultural immersion in Chennai.
Home to a number of sabhas, one of the most frequented one is the Mylapore Fine Arts Club. The sabha usually plays host to cultural performances by young artists throughout the year and features performances by established and senior artists in the evenings during the Margazhi Kutcheri Season.
Besides performances, the sabha is a favourite among rasikas (culture enthusiasts) for its simple yet delicious food which is served during concerts.
With the sabha set to host prominent musicians this Margazhi season, here are the steps that the management at Mylapore Fine Arts Club have taken to ensure that rasikas have the Margazhi experience of a lifetime this year.
V Mahalingam, the joint secretary of the sabha told indianexpress.com that that sabha can accommodate 900 rasikas for each concert. “The auditorium is fully air-conditioned, having been renovated in 2017”, he said.
Concerts are held in five time slots during the season. While the concerts in the morning are free of charge, the evening concerts at 4 pm and 6.30 are ticketed. “Tickets are sold in two or three classes, with priority given to members. Additionally, a ticket purchased for a single concert in the evening, say 4 pm, can be used for both the 4 pm and 6.30 pm concerts as per the wish of the ticket holder”, said the joint secretary.
Daily tickets can be purchased a day in advance for a particular concert in person at the sabha. Season tickets can be purchased by members for the whole Margazhi season as well. The season tickets were earlier provided free of cost when the auditorium was not an AC hall.
Speaking about the refreshments which are available for the rasikas, Mahalingam quipped, “The attraction of the Margazhi season is the sabha canteen in all the sabhas. Besides attending concerts, people hop from sabha to sabha for eating.” On a serious note, he added that the Mylapore Fine Arts Club has enlisted the services of a caterer who has been preparing food here during the Margazhi season for the past 10 years. “The caterer prepares vegetarian dishes for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner”, he said.
The sabha has roped in volunteers at the main gate to usher rasikas into the auditorium after the tickets have been duly punched in, with more volunteers posted inside the auditorium to guide the audience into their seats.
While the sabha does not have ramps in place for senior citizens or persons with disabilities, Mahalingam said, “The auditorium has been built in such a way that nobody finds it difficult to reach their seats.”
As for parking facilities, the Mylapore Fine Arts Club has provided parking facilities only for the vehicles of the artists within the premises.
With regards to security, the sabha has installed several CCTV cameras within the premises to keep an eye on the public and ensure that nothing goes amiss during the concerts.
“So far, we have never experienced any problem in managing the crowd. Even during concerts of big artists, the only hassle is that people will be rushing at the gate,” concluded Mahalingam.