what happened to good ol' I rock?

Published: Jul 22, 2009, 11:43 IST | Rohit Bhatia

My news reader Rohit Bhatia is disappointed that Independence rock has lost the flavour and fervour of its Rang Bhavan auditorium days

My news reader Rohit Bhatia is disappointed that Independence rock has lost the flavour and fervour of its Rang Bhavan auditorium days

Around Independence Day there used to be a concert at Rang Bhavan called I Rock. Yours truly and his friends would save up their pocket money to attend it. Everyone went broke after I Rock and some even fell in debt, but that didn't stop us. We made up a fraternity in which all rockers were welcome while the world around looked at us with amusement or disdain.

We would chip in money after buying the tickets and buy booze, which was gulped in the lane while one of us watched out for passing cop vans. The bands were big draws. In front of our eyes, Indus Creed, Pentagram and Parikrama evolved from teens with acne to rock stars with attitude.

That was then. We could be sure that we would be there the year after.

Now, I Rock has become bigger and spread to other metros. On the down side, the gig's finale has shifted to Chitrakoot Grounds, Andheri, part of which is used as a parking lot on other days. This is not bad considering the current parking crisis, but the "oldest and biggest rock festival held in the country" surely deserves better.

Problem: There isn't anything better available after Rang Bhavan went out of bounds due to new laws.

Having attended it since 1994, I feel the draw of I Rock is not in its current 'rock competition' form, but in the nostalgia it evokes. There are big bucks riding on this gig now. There are sponsorships and media hype. Rock bands are portrayed in Hindi films and people who can't tell Deep Purple from Black Sabbath flock to be 'seen' with rock bands.

Getting drunk inside bars near Chitrakoot Grounds isn't as thrilling as getting sloshed on the sly. Everyone
has spare cash, so why 'chip in'? The crowds have thinned and the fraternity has disappeared.

These days, when someone asks me if I will be attending I Rock, I'm not sure.

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