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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Bands face the music as UP govt lowers guests cap

The guidelines have led to confusion among west UP residents who had made arrangements keeping in mind the earlier 200 person limit on guests.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | Noida | Updated: November 24, 2020 1:35:34 pm
coronavirus weddings, coronavirus wedding bands, UP bands, UP coronavirus, delhi news, delhi ncr news, indian express newsBand members during a wedding function. Express photo by Jaipal Singh

With the UP government imposing a 100-member cap on wedding celebrations and gatherings, bands and DJs find themselves facing the music amid the wedding season as families are now cancelling bookings in an effort to bring down the number of guests. While the guidelines have no specific order for wedding processions, families are now wary of including DJs and band processions as part of the function.

“… only 50% of the capacity or 100 persons will be allowed to gather in any indoor facility… Similarly, for outside gatherings, only 40% of the field area will be utilised for gathering,” read an order issued by the UP government on November 23.

The guidelines have led to confusion among west UP residents who had made arrangements keeping in mind the earlier 200 person limit on guests. This has impacted music bands that were already facing a crunch during the lockdown.

For several such bands, since celebratory events had not been held the entire year, wedding season was the only way to earn.

“It’s slowly coming to a point where we are better off dying than living in debt. We understand that one must not gather without a reason since there is Covid but weddings are our bread and butter. For the last two days, we are getting calls from people wanting their advance. The fresh guidelines have compounded that fear… the lack of clarity will render us bankrupt,” said Raja, who runs the 22-member Raja Band in Noida’s Hoshiyarpur.

According to other such bands, many bookings were made a month in advance after guidelines were relaxed. Since the advance was forwarded on credit to vendors, the cancellations have disrupted their finances, said band members.

“For every baraat, there is usually a horse required apart from lights and music. When we take advance, we pay it to the charioteer, the one who brings the light and many others. With customers cancelling, the money we paid to them is unlikely to be returned. Some say that rules do not apply to processions on road and only indoor gatherings. But the mere confusion is making people apprehensive…,” said Ravi who runs a 12-member wedding band in Ghaziabad.

DJs and other music bands for indoor functions are also facing lower demand. “People do not want to waste the limited permissions on things like music even though they were once an integral part of the functions. There is an alternative of virtual DJ sessions but it’s unlikely that people will warm up to the idea,” said Dhruv, a Noida-based DJ.

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