HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series

Famed DJ plays to 100 people

Famous British DJ Pete Tong played to a small crowd of no more than 100 people last Saturday night at the inaugural Singapore leg of the 2016 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

While the event enjoyed a turnout of 23,508 on Day One of the tournament last Saturday, the night's entertainment helmed by Tong drew only about 50 revellers in addition to stadium staff and volunteers.

Once the last match of the day - a fixture between Fiji and England - ended, the spectators streamed out of the stadium and did not stay for the gig, despite an announcement that Tong was up next.

The 57-year-old superstar DJ and producer came on at 7.50pm with an impressive light, sound and pyrotechnics display, playing on a console at one end of the stadium.

With the pitch being off-limits, ravers had to party from the stands. Additionally, alcohol sales stopped at 7.30pm.

Rugby fan Tan Shing Kwan, 27, who had been at the tournament the whole day, says he was too tired to stay on after the last match was over. "I was there for the rugby, not the music. Who would go to rugby for electro music?" he tells The Straits Times.

According to organisers Rugby Singapore, the event had a focus on families. Mr Douglas Danapal, commercial manager of Rugby Singapore says: "We were delighted to see many fans, including entire families, coming in costumes and dancing to the in-stadium DJ all day during the breaks in action.

"We have also received positive feedback for creating a family- friendly tournament through features such as 'no alcohol spectator zones'. The Kids Drop Off area and the Rugby Carnival around Singapore Sports Hub were also a hit with fans, young and old."

Tong went on to play as a guest DJ at Attica, a club in Clarke Quay, after his scheduled hour-long set at the Rugby Sevens.

Mr Hardev Gill, marketing manager of the Attica Group, says Tong is a good friend of Mr Mark Brimblecombe, the owner of the club. "He wanted to pop down after the Singapore Sevens for a surprise set as he loves the club. He was originally just going to play for 30 minutes, but ended up playing for a few hours," Mr Gill adds.

The Straits Times contacted Tong's management for comment on the small crowd at the Rugby Sevens, but there was no response by press time.

Tong is considered a tastemaker in dance music, having hosted BBC Radio 1's Essential Mix, a weekly radio show featuring various styles of electronic dance music, for more than two decades.

He has come to Singapore many times, having spun at Zouk and been a part of the inaugural International Music Summit Asia Pacific in 2014.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2016, with the headline 'Famed DJ plays to 100 people'. Print Edition | Subscribe