Late yesterday (Wednesday, 5th March), Singaporean media outlet TNP wrote that the Singaporean authorities have rejected Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) 2015 organiser Livescape Asia’s applications for a permit to hold the festival at the Changi Exhibition Centre on 13th and 14th March. They cited the police, who said that Livescape’s requests for a Public Entertainment License were rejected because of “serious concerns with potential drug abuse at the event”.
The police mentioned “drug-related activities that had taken place at past Future Music Festival events, including its March 2014 event in Kuala Lumpur that resulted in drug-related deaths and hospitalisations, including several Singaporeans”. FMFA 2014 saw several Singaporeans being hospitalised after a suspected drug overdose while 2 others were later charged for drug offences.
According to CNA, Livescape Singapore submitted applications for a public entertainment licence to the police in January and last month, but were rejected both times, with the police citing “serious concerns” over potential drug abuse at the event. The police said it received Livescape’s application for a permit on 12th Jan and rejected it on 29th Jan. The second application was received on 16th Feb and was rejected on 27th Feb.
Following this, Livescape submitted an appeal to Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean on 3rd March.
In our exclusive interview with co-founders Iqbal and Rahul, they explained that a lot of extra measures e.g. EventAid, SightCon, were being taken to ensure that this year’s festival wouldn’t suffer the same fate as last year’s. They’ve also countlessly reiterated that they’re doing all that they can to eliminate problems as much as they can while urging partygoers to have safe and clean fun come FMFA15.
On top of that, Livescape has also increased security and safety measures at the event, including reduced crowd size and higher security personnel to participant ratio. For example, 33 closed-circuit television cameras will be installed at the Singapore event this year, compared to six in Kuala Lumpur last year. There will also be one security personnel for every hundred people, compared to one to 125 last year.
With regards to the current issue at hand, Iqbal said that contingency plans are in place if the appeal is turned down. This includes hosting various performers in various venues across the island. Refunds will be given to ticket-holders who want one, said Iqbal, adding that the company will incur “huge losses” as a result.
Livespace has budgeted S$5 million for the event and about half of that has been spent so far. To date, about 15,000 tickets to the festival have already been sold. Mr Samuel Seow, a lawyer acting on behalf of Livescape Singapore, said yesterday that the organisers expect a response by Friday (6th March).
It’s true that a lot is at stake here for the organiser, artistes/acts that were booked and are slated to play next week, as well as the partygoers who have already locked down their tickets and accommodations. Whether or not FMFA15 will happen is still currently unknown.
But like you, we’ve got our fingers (and toes!) crossed and are hoping for the best outcome.