Future Music Festival Asia organiser is deciding its next move after festival is again denied licence

FUTURE Music Festival Asia's appeal for a public entertainment licence has been turned down by the Home Affairs Ministry.

In a statement sent out to the media on Friday night, a ministry spokesperson said: "The Minister for Home Affairs has carefully considered and turned down the appeal by Livescape Singapore Pte Ltd to hold the Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) 2015 in Singapore."

The ministry received the appeal on Tuesday.

When contacted by The Straits Times on Friday night, Mr Iqbal Ameer, group chief executive of festival organiser Livescape, said that his team was in discussion over what it would do next.

Before Friday, Livescape was twice denied a public entertainment licence - on Jan 29 and Feb 27 - to hold the event here. But it continued to sell tickets and promote the event. Big acts such as Public Enemy and The Prodigy were slated to perform at the concert.

About 15,000 tickets have been sold for the event, to be held for the first time in Singapore on March 13 and 14, at the Changi Exhibition Centre.

FMFA, which started in Australia in 2006 and is considered one of the biggest dance music festivals in South-east Asia, made headlines last year when six of its concert-goers died from drug overdose in Kuala Lumpur.

In previous articles, Mr Iqbal had addressed drug abuse concerns, saying that random drug tests would be carried out, and the number of closed-circuit television cameras on site would be increased to 33 from six last year.

Meanwhile, the Brisbane Times on Friday reported that 7,500 ecstacy pills were seized. The drugs were believed to be bound for the same festival taking place in Brisbane this weekend.

Tickets to the dance music festival in Singapore, which cost between $148 and $388, were sold via Sistic, as well as on the festival's website.

In 2013, when the MBC Korean Music Wave concert was cancelled, tickets bought through Sistic were fully refunded.

But fans who bought directly from the organiser received only partial refunds after the organiser filed for bankruptcy.

Researcher Joseph Yong, 29, who bought his ticket to the festival two weeks ago from Sistic, says: "While the company shouldn't have marketed the event without a licence, I think that the rejection is too strict. I have friends who booked post-event accommodation. We're in a state of disbelief, dismay and anger."