Classical Music Fest: Abahani ground new venue
The Bengal Foundation's classical music festival has finally got a venue at Abahani field of Dhanmondi.
Pending government approval, the five day long festival will start from December 26 for the sixth consecutive year.
Replying to an application from Bengal Foundation, the Abahani authority gave the permission on Monday for use of the grounds from 6:30 PM to 5:00 am from December 26 to December 30.
The Bengal Foundation had initially planned to host the event at the Army Stadium on Nov 23, but did not receive permission from the authorities. Later, Bengal Foundation cancelled the festival due to the unavailability of the venue.
Signed by chairman of Abahani Limited, the latest permission letter also set some conditions for use of the venue including getting government permission, controlling sound level and bearing the cost of Abahani's athletes to practice in another ground.
The foundation made the cancellation announcement at a press conference at the Westin Dhaka in the capital on October 22.
They also issued a press release that said the Army Sports Control Board (ASCB) on August 31 had denied allotment of the Army Stadium from November 20-28 (with the event set for November 23-27) to Bengal Foundation, citing the arrival of the Pope to Bangladesh at the same time as the reason.
When it was known that the Pope was arriving on November 30 and his main programme would not be held at the Army Stadium, Bengal Foundation reapplied for the venue on September 9 but no progress was made in this regard.
After getting the venue, Bengal Foundation has applied to the cultural affair ministry for government approval for the festival.
The Abahani grounds can accommodate around 14,000 spectators.
Initiated in 2012, with assistance from Kolkata's ITC Sangeet Research Academy the first year, the Bengal Classical Music Festival became a marquee event of Bangladesh's cultural calendar. The four-nightlong festival featured the world's leading exponents of Hindustani and Carnatic Classical Music in the first two years, with attendance numbers reaching nearly 100,000 in the second year.
Since 2014, the festival was extended to five nights, and audience numbers swelled to 1,50,000. That year the Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay also began its journey with the aim of producing future classical musicians and singers, under the tutelage of noted classical gurus. In 2016, the attendance rose to nearly 200,000.