A sabha is an organisation that conducts carnatic concerts. They usually have a tie-up with a concert hall, and all their concerts throughout the year take place there. The trials and tribulations that sabhas go through stem from the fact that they are an organisation in a creative field- where there is none. Steady revenue is a long forgotten dream. The sabhas make more than 50% of their revenue in December. This month is a time of frantic activity, with concerts going on throughout the day. The challenge faced by the sabha is to merge the requirements and expectations of the artists and the listeners.
Apart from money, artists have other expectations which have to be met. The sound system needs to be managed professionally, by someone who is knowledgeable about music, and knows his way around a stereo. Many senior artists are only available on their own time, the sabha has to prepare schedules accordingly. Artists also demand respect, which is something that sabhas have to be very careful about. Hurt egos and sentiments can go a long way in ruining a reputation. Sabhas have to look after these needs while handling hundreds of applications from budding artists looking for a slot in their tight schedule.
On the other hand, there are the listeners who demand the complete experience. It’s not only about the music- It’s about the hall, the food, the atmosphere. Sabhas are forced to keep morning and afternoon concerts open to all, partly for promotion but mainly because of peer pressure. Most listeners are not ready to pay money for short concerts performed by upcoming artists. Then there are the evening concerts, where crowds in the order of thousands have to be managed efficiently without incident, day after excruciating day.
All in all, the role of a sabha is as difficult as it is important. After all, they provide the crucial interface between the artists and the listeners.Share this post