Blu Jaz Cafe: Cancellation of public entertainment licence on hold till decision on appeal is made

This means that Blu Jaz Cafe can continue to operate as a cafe and hold live music performances.
This means that Blu Jaz Cafe can continue to operate as a cafe and hold live music performances.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The cancellation of Blu Jaz Cafe's public entertainment licence has been put on hold, said the live music venue on its Facebook page on Monday (Oct22)

The post also said that Blu Jaz was informed late on Sunday night that the cancellation date of their Public Entertainment Licence "would not take effect on Oct 22 or any specified date" until the Public Entertainment Appeal Board makes a final decision.

The Straits Times has reached out to the police to verify this information.

This means that Blu Jaz Cafe,a stalwart of the Kampong Glam neighbourhood for the past 13 years, can continue to operate as a cafe and hold live music performances.

Blu Jaz was facing having its public entertainment licence cancelled because it had "repeatedly flouted licensing conditions" under the Public Entertainment Act on various occasions putting patrons and staff at risk, according to a statement release by the police on Oct 19.

One of them, was "severe overcrowding". In a check by the police on April 28, they found that there were "more than 150 persons on the second floor of Blu Jaz Cafe, more than five times the approved occupancy load" of 30 persons on that floor.

Blu Jaz was informed of the breach of rules, but when a check done the following week found there were close to 200 people on the second floor, said the police.

 
 

In its Facebook post, Blu Jaz Cafe acknowledged that overcrowding and noise issues must be managed and would take responsibility for their oversight.

"We are engaging with our landlord to install sound proof doors and windows on the premises and to explore with the building authorities on the possibility of adding an external staircase to the building," it wrote.

"We hope that the authorities will grant us the necessary time to put all possible further measures in place to manage the overcrowding and noise issues."

Since news broke that their public entertainment licence would be cancelled, local celebrities have rallied around the cafe. The venue is a longstanding proving ground for everyone from musicians to comedians and spoken word artists.

A petition to the PEAB (www.gopetition.com/petitions/let-the-music-live-on-at-blu-jaz.html) had over 4,700 signatures as of 4pm on Oct 22.

The National Arts Council (NAC) had said earlier it was " ready to help facilitate conversations, where necessary".

NAC's Ms Elaine Ng, senior director of sector development (performing arts) told The Straits Times that "Blu Jaz Cafe is well-regarded by the music community and patrons as a venue that supports home-grown music talent, and NAC has reached out to their owners and the relevant authorities for more information".

The news that Blu Jaz could continue with live music till a decision is made by the Appeal Board was announced to the audience gathered at Blu Jaz Cafe's "Blue Monks Sunday Jam… Hope It's Not The Last Jam" event, just before midnight on Sunday.

"We are very thankful for all the strong support from our music friends and family, the petitioners, and all those who worked around the clock to save us from extinction," said the Facebook post.

"We truly hope that PEAB will eventually grant us the license to keep the music going at Blu Jaz Cafe."