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The Humming Tree Announces Closure This Month

The Bengaluru venue is the third in the span of a year to succumb to pressures of license laws and complaints from local resident associations, including Take5 and BFlat

Anurag Tagat Sep 19, 2019

American experimental act Battles live at The Humming Tree, Bengaluru in 2015. Photo: Courtesy of The Humming Tree

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After months of speculation, another Bengaluru venue in Indiranagar announced it would be shutting at the end of September. The Humming Tree — which has been operational for six years on different floors in the same building — hosted music, theater, film screenings and comedy shows.

While there were teething issues with building regulations, prevailing license laws and operational necessities that plagued the venue for more than a year, owner and founder Nikhil Barua kept modifying the venue with the hopes of keeping things running. In a press statement that was also released on their social media, Barua says, “The last two years in Bangalore has [sic] been a nightmare in terms of running a functioning performance venue in light of myopic rules regarding music licenses. We do hope that there is clear and fair legislation going forward and we look forward then to coming back in better avatars as a venue.”

The Humming Tree hosted international and national bands across all genres during its six year run, including top line artists such as Skrillex, Battles, Ratatat, The Vaccines and many more. Indian acts across the board performed at the venue, including Prateek Kuhad, Peter Cat Recording Co., The F16s and Blackstratblues, among others. The focus of the venue now remains on their event series such as annual festival Backdoors, which started in 2016 in Bengaluru. The statement added, “We will be back as a venue definitely at some point soon hopefully and will have updates for you all regarding the things we will be doing which is not conditional on having a physical venue space.”

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The Humming Tree’s closure, while imminent, was originally made known at the start of the month. The official announcement comes just a day after fellow Indiranagar venue BFlat also announced they would shut after 10 years in action, on October 2nd. Barua minces no words when he says why he chose to make the announcement soon after BFlat. “We actually put up a post at the start of the month, this is just the official one and it’s nice to tie it in with BFlat so people see how dangerous and damaging this saga of moral policing and absurd laws/legislation are,” Barua said, referring to the recent Central Crime Branch and residents association-aided drive against clubs and venues operating without a proper license.

While The Humming Tree and other venues had applied for a new license, news reports say that their applications had been rejected. A report by The Hindu cited an official from Bengaluru’s civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), saying that most buildings which housed pubs and venues violated zonal regulations set forth. This was among the chief reasons why applications for the new permit, under the Licensing of Places of Public Entertainment Order, 2005, were turned down.

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