Now hiring a band costs a bomb

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Hyderabad: Bands, big gathering, chants of ‘Ganapati Bappa Mourya‘, dance performances, pandal tours—these are things that automatically come to mind when we talk about Ganesh Chaturthi. Unlike the past two years when celebrations were low-key, there are now big celebrations everywhere. However, as Covid hit all walks of life economically, prices across the whole space skyrocketed. Ganesh idol prices have tripled this year; the demand for group rentals and the amount they charge has also increased.

A few dhol organizations said “as we couldn’t earn anything for our livelihood in the past two years, this year the demand and number of our group has increased. Devotees in the city will now have to pay extra to the organizers of ‘dhol’ as their demand has also increased.The increase in group rentals in the city has surprised many Ganesh festival organizers.

Of ‘Shari Band‘ to the traditional ‘dappu’ and ‘Marfa’, the groups charge from Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000. They collect Rs 2,000 per head for the days preceding the main immersion and for the last day, it will be Rs 4,000 for a few hours. The price doubles if you book a DJ and a sound system.

Kevin Kavidi, a devotee said: “Last year I paid Rs 20,000 for a group of 10 members. The same group is now asking for Rs 40,000, which is Rs 4,000 per person, saying the demand has increased . Band members say these are the only few opportunities that help them earn a living for the year.”

Raju, the founder of Dhol Players, said, “As the demand and the cost of everything has increased, we have increased our rentals. I have a group of 15 members. Before covid, we charged between 1500 and 2000 per person. But since we couldn’t earn a living during the pandemic, this year our load also increased. Now we charge 2000-2500 rupees per person. which sums up to Rs 30,000-40,000. Our demand also increases according to the number of hours of play”.

Mohan, a devotee. says prices go up the closer you get to immersion day. For other days they charge a flat rate of around Rs 2,000-2,500 per person, but for immersion, they ask us to pay Rs 4,000. Usually the duration is five to six hours, however, if it is extended, they require additional payment.

Apart from the commercial groups, there are a few volunteers. One of them is the Mitraangan – Maharashtrians of the Hyderabad strip. Ambarish Lahankar, the founder of Mitraangan, said that we mainly go to the celebrations voluntarily. We don’t do it for the money; it just highlights our tradition and our devotion to Bappa.”

“Except for a few places like big corporations we charge Rs 40,000-50,000 just to cover our tape cover expenses and the roughly 150 sheets of tape which cost around Rs 1,500 per piece which is about 3 lakh rupees.”

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