RadioandMusic
| 18 Feb 2018
blueFROG to relocate in Mumbai with two new outlets?
Image credit: The Black Sakura
Image credit: The Black Sakura

MUMBAI: So there’s bad news and then there’s great news. The bad news, expectedly, would leave several music aficionados from South Bombay crestfallen with the announcement that blueFROG – counted among Mumbai’s finest live music venues - would be shifting base from the iconic Mathuradas Mills Compound to somewhere in the suburbs.

blueFROG, which opened in 2007 at the Lower Parel premises, will run out of its lease this August, and it seems the owners have decided to move on. National Programming Head at blueFROG Media, Ruchika Tiku confirmed to Radioandmusic.com that the franchise will shut down its operations at the Lower Parel venue. “We surely would continue to function in Mumbai. Along with Pune and Bengaluru, blueFROG will continue to exist in Mumbai. But I cannot provide further details,” said Tiku, when asked where the outlet would relocate.

The heartening news next. Replacing blueFROG in the mill compound would be Bengaluru’s brewery pub ‘Toit’, known for its crafted beers and an ambience or a theme completely different to blueFROG’s. Also to add, Toit is not a live music venue. Sources say that in order to outbid blueFROG for its claim on the 6000 sq. ft. space, Toit paid 1.5x more than blueFROG for the acquisition of the deal and the space. blueFROG did not comment on the same, however, the franchise is likely to put out a public statement soon to provide further details.

A statement on its website reads, “We're actively looking to diversify into a secondary venue in North and South Mumbai - it could have a different flavour or avatar, we're open to ideas and collaborations. If interested, do get in touch with us immediately on franchise@bluefrog.co.in

Sources from the music industry suggest that blueFROG is headed to the suburbs. “If you observe the recent trend of activities, several franchises have opened their outlets in the suburbs, especially in Bandra, Khar and Andheri. I wouldn’t be surprised if blueFROG does so too,” said a musician who’s been a regular performer at the nine-year-old establishment.

“It changes a lot of things for us,” said an event organiser, whose IPs have found space on the blueFROG platforms throughout the years. “But what I can ensure is the fact that the emphasis on original music, and unique experience for fans wouldn’t change with this development. People behind blueFROG are responsible musicians who have encouraged original music for almost a decade now.”

The great news, however, comes from the same source who reported that blueFROG would open two ‘smaller’ outlets in suburbs. Surely, opening two venues in one city hasn’t been a unique initiative with blueFROG’s rival Hard Rock Café’s expansion to a new outlet in Andheri has created an upper hand for the latter in terms of presence. The newest competitor in the city - antiSocial’s raising dominance in the live music arena could also gradually affect blueFROG’s identity as the ‘go-to’ venue for original music.

Several factors could have led to blueFROG’s latest decision, and whatever strategic and financial reasons behind the development, if the rumours of two blueFROG venues in Mumbai turn out to be true, the ultimate beneficiaries of the outcome would continue to be the people of Mumbai.