| 07 Feb 2023
Mumbai's 'Temple of Music' bids final adieu

MUMBAI: It was a night of firsts, and a night of lasts. Ranjit Barot introduced his daughter on stage for his set, the blueFROG attendees (also dearly called Froggies) cheered aloud for the two generations of musicians sharing the stage together for the first time. It was also the last hurrah for blueFROG's Lower Parel premises.

The Barot duo joined the list of musicians belonging to one family who have shared the Frog stage together, along with the Banks father- son duo. Barot said that the musicians involved in the act had minimum practice session before heading to the stage, but added, “Hey, this is home. If we aren’t allowed to make mistakes at home, then where are we going to do it?”

And indeed, blueFROG Mumbai acted as second home to hundreds of musicians across genres who had once dreamt of performing at the iconic venue, and then dreamt of it over and over again. Very few managed to enthrall the audience from ‘the stage’, and Ranjit Barot counts himself lucky to be counted among those lucky few. The Frog Fest – celebrating the last three days of blueFROG’s existence at Mathuradas Mill Compound – comprised legendary acts like Indus Creed, Zero, Midival Punditz, Louis Banks and young promising Electronic music producers like Spryk and Komorebi.

The nature of the Frog Fest line-up, in a way, stood as a reflection of the decade-long contribution to music as a live platform. From 90s rock n roll act to a Creolo blues act, blueFROG dared to provide all genres of sounds, and gradually become the trendsetter that allowed music aficionados discover music they had never heard before. Ten years later, and barring one or two, not many music venues have managed to entertain the risky idea.

The venue will move out to Colaba and Andheri, and the co-founders took to the stage ‘one last time’ to thank the fans for the ten-year-long growth and evolution of brand blueFROG that gradually expanded to Bengaluru, Delhi (now shut) and Pune. However, a genuine plea followed later – “We would request your support for the upcoming challenges. No one is entitled to free stuff and we have to work and pay for it. The musicians, the staff, and everyone responsible throughout the years have made blueFROG possible. We earned good music for the past ten years, and now we will together work again to earn amazing music in the future.”

The blueFROG team did not speak about the further details into the venue’s future plans (the location, the management, the staff expansion and so on), and understandably so, as the weekend was purely dedicated to the celebration of the venue’s success in Mumbai. The venue grew into becoming one of the best live venues in the world; that, and being the musicians’ venue, act as two potential major reasons the co-founders can take pride in.

It was fitting that Tritonik officially became the last act of blueFROG Mumbai, before it re-opens, as the Mauritian act represented the style of music that found a place at the venue ten years ago. blueFROG has done it all and seen it all. And the last night was no different. A teary-eyed Dhruv Ghanekar hugging co-founder Ashutosh Phatak after exiting the stage ‘one last time’, the space turning into a mini-club with Tritonik’s music, echoes of genuine ‘wows’ reverberating between the four walls, and fellow musicians sharing a beer outside the venue, as the night progressed, the reality slowly struck the fans at the blueFROG on Sunday.

The fans would no longer take a trip to the famous venue, willingly struggle to find a parking spot and continue the sweet struggle once inside the venue to find the ideal place for sound (considering the impeccable sound provided throughout the years, that seemed like not much of a task), but as Ranjit Barot stood tall on the stage after the conclusion of his set, the fans applauded with hope that travelled through his speech – ‘blueFROG is the Temple of music, and it would continue to be so’.