Mumbai: St Stephen's Steps Festival In Bandra Faces Delay After Residents Complain About Noise Pollution

Mumbai: St Stephen's Steps Festival In Bandra Faces Delay After Residents Complain About Noise Pollution

The 100-meter-wide flight of steps, with the height of a five-storeyed building, was once a steep road. It had become a garbage-strewn expanse until it was restored and converted into an award-winning public space.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Friday, December 22, 2023, 09:04 AM IST
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Mumbai: St Stephen's Steps Festival In Bandra Faces Delay After Residents Complain About Noise Pollution |

Mumbai: The annual festival on the St Stephen’s Steps, Bandra, has been delayed this time because the police have yet to give clearance to the event. The organizers have been informed that residents in the neighborhood have complained about noise from the events.

The 100-meter-wide flight of steps, with the height of a five-storeyed building, was once a steep road. It had become a garbage-strewn expanse until it was restored and converted into an award-winning public space. The venue has been hosting an art and cultural festival since 2019.

St Stephens art and cultural festival started in 2019

St Stephens art and cultural festival started in 2019 |

A mural on the wall adjoining the steps of St. Stephen's Steps

A mural on the wall adjoining the steps of St. Stephen's Steps | X@riishicant

A mural on the wall adjoining the steps of St. Stephen's Steps

A mural on the wall adjoining the steps of St. Stephen's Steps | X@riishicant

Festival@the steps

Festival@the steps | X@Asif_Zakaria

Details of festival and delay

Anca Abraham, organizer of the festival, said that the festival was scheduled to start on December 9 and continue till the first weekend in February 2024. The festival organizers had a meeting with the police and residents on December 10 when they were told that members of a resident’s association had objected to the noise and crowds at the festival.

“The police and the BMC have been supporting the festival all these years. After the meeting, we thought that permissions would come in. For some reason, they are delaying the permissions for the festival,” said Abraham, whose architectural firm Abraham John Architects and Bombay Greenways had restored the steps and converted it into a cultural space.

Lilian Pais, a Bandra resident, said that people living in the buildings along the steps have written to the police, complaining about the noise from the events. “Before the steps were restored, there used to be the occasional problem of men using the steps to drink alcohol, but now the place is the venue of noisy events like birthday parties. The people who have organized the festival do not live here. If the residents want to say no to the event, they have to accept it,” said Pais.

'Festival at the Steps'

The 12-meter wide steps cover an area of 1880 square meters. Called the ‘Festival at the Steps,’ the event takes place during weekends between December and February. The festival features art and photography exhibitions, dances, music, and more.

Abraham added, “This is not just another event; it is a place-making initiative created around and celebrating a re-imagined public space that belongs to every one of us. It is a platform for like-minded, talented people from different backgrounds to come together and share their talents.”

Residents opposing the events at the steps said that there are other places in Bandra where the festival can take place. “The promenade is available for such events, but they want to do it right here in the middle of a residential area,” said a resident. The local police were not available for comment.

The St Stephen’s Steps

The steps, which had replaced a steep road connecting Dr P Dias Road and Mount Mary Road, had become derelict and filled with debris. The site was restored with the help of the local municipal councillor and the BMC’s local ward office. The site was transformed into a multi-use public space, with landscaping elements and barrier-free access.

The project won the ‘Place Design Award’ in the Great Places Awards 2021, an international competition organized by The Environmental Design Research Association and Project for Public Spaces. The site also won the ‘Best Landscape Design’ award from the Indian Institute of Architects.

The Family Tree @ St Stephens Steps, Bandra by Abraham John Architects

The Family Tree @ St Stephens Steps, Bandra by Abraham John Architects | @vishakhasingh

Mini festival for children and families at the Stephen's Steps in Bandra West

Mini festival for children and families at the Stephen's Steps in Bandra West | @vaxrao

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