Indians learn to rock in offshoot of economic boom

Published on Kuwait Times, by Anil Penna, June 02, 2007.

A generation of Indians now earning more than their parents ever did are ready to rock to the likes of Aerosmith, underlining the country’s increasing emergence as a magnet for top names. India’s economic growth has ended a period of austerity when entertainment not long ago meant a trip to the cinema for most. Aerosmith, the latest 1970s band to arrive here, performs in the high-tech hub of Bangalore today as part of a world tour.

More than 25,000 fans are expected to pack the Palace Grounds to hear them belt out classic hits such as “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” “Livin’ On The Edge,” “Walk This Way,” Falling in Love” and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Recent months have seen the Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Bryan Adams, Deep Purple, Roger Waters and Shakira all perform to sell-out crowds. Tickets priced up to 1,800 rupees ($45), or 10 times the price of a multiplex movie show, are not putting people off, said Venkat Vardhan, head of DNA Networks which is organising the Aerosmith concert.

“We have sold 8,000 tickets to fans who will be flying to Bangalore from other parts of India,” he said. “Not a single hotel room in the city will be going empty at the weekend. “Fans know a live experience can’t be replicated. Indians have become very aspirational.” A booming economy, which grew at a record pace of 9.4 percent in the year ended March 31, and rising salaries, have put high-priced live entertainment within reach of India’s 300-million-strong middle class. (full text).

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