Concerts remain an elusive dream

Saadia Qamar April 23, 2010

KARACHI: Musicians continue to lament the loss of earnings in Pakistan as a result of the uncertain security situation in the country.

Even though large-scale events like fashion weeks in Karachi and Lahore have been organised without a hitch over the past two years, concerts have taken a huge hit. Ticketed events are few and far between, and the only musical entertainment remains through low-key shows organised by corporate sponsors or at venues such as Karachi’s The Second Floor or Lahore’s Peeru Cafe.

Is there any future for concerts in the country? The Express Tribune spoke to musicians for their two cents on the issue. Mekaal Hasan, The Mekaal Hasan Band “A true artist in the country today is surviving on their meagre savings that they earned during the couple of years when the music scene was alive and concerts were regularly happening in Karachi or Lahore. Since this has all been stopped, the government of Pakistan must fund their artists and send them abroad to cultural festivals which will also boost a ‘soft image’ of the country.”

Omar Bilal Akhtar, Aunty Disco Project “Security is the main concern for why concerts are not happening in Karachi. People are genuinely scared of what might happen. But more importantly the next big thing that has hit the music industry is the global recession. Big corporate functions are no longer affairs to remember. Most of us are surviving because we have a day job at our disposal to make ends meet. It would surely have been better if some telecommunication giant in our country came forward and hired some of us on a full time contract.For mid-level people, surviving in the music world is a very hard thing to do.”

Shallum Xavier, Fuzon Shallum Xavier is optimistic, and said that three to four corporate events have taken place recently where Fuzon performed. However he asserted, “Things pick up and then they slow down.” So how does Fuzon survive? “Emu and I have our studios, so that’s how we are making ends meet and Rameez works for a private channel. So things are turning out just fine so far.”