The electronic scene in this country is booming at the moment.
Every weekend sees a large scale techno/deep house or a progressive act that has been playing in the city. Multiple people swarming in dressed in black, wearing their trendy glares and their pocket-sized bottles of water on the move chanting the name of the artist performing and claiming how wonderful their music is. It is absolutely great to witness this and also see the fact that people are willing to take out the effort to step out and come watch the artist play.
But this mostly is the case when you have an international act coming down to play in the city or touring the country. Very rarely do we see people supporting the local talent with the same amount of enthusiasm. In fact, we very rarely get to see new talent get the opportunities to play at a venue or even open for a bigger artist. In most cases, we either see Indian acts who are known for having a major “crowd pull”. Rather, acts who pull more crowd or have a huge social circle and media following are preferred over artists who are genuinely talented.
One can’t entirely blame a promoter or an organizer for this. For them, eventually it is a business that they need to run and more crowd is directly proportional to a better-looking gig, and of course, more money. So though they may want to book an artist who may genuinely deserve the slot, they may be forced to go ahead and book an Indian artist who is already well recognized, or who brings in an assured crowd.
Of course, the promoter does have a choice, the main issue boils down to the fact that we as an audience don’t appreciate the local talent in this country as much. Very rarely do we see events having an all Indian lineup being as packed as the ones with international acts playing. Even the artists who have finally managed to gain global recognition have had to slog for years to get to where they are. And though they get the opportunity to play at major festivals across the globe, they are usually not given the peak slots at the festival. This is not because they lack talent in any way, In fact, for all practical purposes, they may be even more talented than most of the people out there, but they are not given enough opportunities to showcase their skill.
The only time an Indian talent gets recognition amongst the masses is either if they have played at a major festival globally, or if they get recommended and pushed by other artists from the global scene that majority of the population recognizes the Indian talent.
The thing that most people do not realise is the fact that if we as an audience do not support our local talent, how can we expect the world to? The reason why Europe produces some of the best talents in the music scene is that artists there are given the opportunity to perform on multiple occasions. Secondly, at major festivals as well, their own artists are given prime slots and are treated like superstars. When an artist gets such a major push from their own people, it not only pushes them to get more gigs and produce more, but it eventually leads to them being recognized by others as well. And the same works here as well.
It is crucial to recognize and push the local talent of the country to ensure that the scene grows. Local artists should be given more opportunities to showcase their skill and talent, irrespective of the crowd they pull. Moreover, as a consumer of this music, if not always, it would be great if people stepped out more often to support more local artists. It definitely won’t be easy to bring about this change and it will probably take a lot of time and effort, but even small steps towards it will eventually lead to a better future for the music scene in India.