SM PIER — At literally the last minute, this week’s act for Thursday’s Twilight Dance Series was granted permission to travel from India to the U.S. to play the free gig.

The likelihood that Kailash Kher’s Kailasa would be allowed to travel was low on Monday as TDS promoters were feverishly working with the band’s management and U.S. Customs officials to clear the act, but at 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday they received word that the group would make the trip.

“It’s always challenging booking international acts and ensuring that visas are in place and travel plans work out,” said Ben Franz-Knight, executive director of the Pier Restoration Corp. “Now that it’s settled, everybody is looking forward to seeing Kailash.”

Representatives from King and Co., the group that produces the series, were busy Monday afternoon securing possible alternative acts in the event that Kailash Kher’s Kailasa couldn’t travel. A trio of groups was identified that promoters felt matched Kailash’s unique style of Bollywood-inspired music.

The 11th hour news that the band would make the trip came as a relief for organizers who just Monday said there was a 90 percent chance the group would not appear at the show.

“We got the visa, thank God we got it,” Fabian Alsultany, one of the group’s managers said. “This seems to be a regular situation for artists from overseas.”

Alsultany, who works with a number of international artists, said that securing visas has been difficult for the past decade. He said that even before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. officials have been more stringent on foreign acts attempting to gain clearance. He added that it appears to be easier for acts to tour through Europe than to play the states.

“Many time artists get screwed,” Alsultany said. “This is just one of those things.”

With Kailash Kher’s Kailasa en route to Los Angeles to play the series, all involved are just glad it worked out in their favor.

“The show will go on,” Franz-Knight said. “I know [the band] is looking forward to the performance.”

The fourth week of the Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Dance Series is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. on the parking deck.

daniela@www.smdp.com

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