Sawai Gandharva fest organisers to look for new venue in the city

ST CORRESPONDENT
Tuesday, 9 October 2018

“Usually, we declare the dates of the festival by this time of the year. However, barely two months prior to the event, the unavailability of the venue has been communicated, as the school seems to be extra concerned about the health of the students.” Shrinivas Joshi of Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal said.

PUNE: In a shocking revelation, the Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal, on Monday, announced that the 66th Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav will not be held at the Deccan Education Society’s New English School, Ramanbag ground this year. Apparently, the venue and the festival had become synonymous with each other.

The reason as informed by the Deccan Education Society (DES) to the organisers through a written communication, was that the place will be unavailable as the school wants to conduct a sports training and exercise for the students on the ground.

“Usually, we declare the dates of the festival by this time of the year. However,   barely two months prior to the event, the unavailability of the venue has been communicated, as the school seems to be extra concerned about the health of the students. We will not be able to declare the dates until we are able to find a new venue,” Shrinivas Joshi of Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal said.

The festival is being organised at the ground of the school for the past three decades. It has now become almost a norm in Pune to hold important musical concerts on the ground of this school. 

“At present, the mandal has very less time at its disposal for the preparations. While all possible courses of action are being examined, if any positive development takes place, the same will be communicated to the aficionados. One thing I can assure is that we will not compromise with the reputation and grandeur of the festival in any manner,” Joshi added.

The mandal will have to find a venue that can accommodate a disciplined audience of at least 10,000 to 15,000 people. 

Till date, the festival has been delayed only twice, once due to heavy rainfall at the time, and once when there was an upsurge in the swine flu in the city.

Joshi further said, “There have never been conflicts between the mandal and the Deccan Education Society as we have always cooperated with each other. However, despite discussions, there was not anything we could do retain the venue. Hence, we have no choice but to look for a new one.”

While it was not officially stated by the mandal, this brings out the possibility of the festival getting delayed this year. 

The delay in the declaration of the dates may also affect the music lovers coming from other countries, who will not be able to make flight bookings in advance.

Reacting to the press interaction by the mandal, Dr Sharad Kunte, President of Deccan Education Society’s Governing Council, said, “DES had formed a sports training programme for the students at all its schools under which training will be provided to students in 10 different sports like Kabaddi, Kho Kho, Athletics, Mallakhamb, Basketball, Volleyball, Football, Cricket, Badminton, Yoga and Suryanamaskar, etc. Hence, the society has decided that the grounds of any of its schools will not be rented out to any other event apart from those of sports from now on.”

Secretary of Deccan Education Society Shrikrishna Kanetkar said, “Henceforth, we have decided that the school grounds will not be given on rent for any festival or other functions. The number of grounds in the city are decreasing and when the ground is given, it remains engaged for three to four weeks and it also suffers damage.”

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