Dance music festival Future Music Festival Asia 2015 denied licence over drug abuse concerns

South Korean rapper Psy performing for fans at the Future Music Festival Asia 2013 at Sepang International Circuit. This year's Future Music Festival is slated to be held in Singapore for the first time on March 13 and 14 at the Changi Exhibition Cen
South Korean rapper Psy performing for fans at the Future Music Festival Asia 2013 at Sepang International Circuit. This year's Future Music Festival is slated to be held in Singapore for the first time on March 13 and 14 at the Changi Exhibition Centre. -- PHOTO: FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL ASIA

A dance music festival which made headlines last year when six people died from drug overdose in Kuala Lumpur has been denied a licence for the show to be staged here next weekend.

The organiser of Future Music Festival Asia 2015 told The Straits Times that its application for a licence has been rejected by the police twice and it is appealing the decision.

About 15,000 tickets have been sold for the show slated to be held in Singapore for the first time on March 13 and 14 at Changi Exhibition Centre. The line-up of stars include Fatboy Slim and The Prodigy and hip-hop legends Public Enemy.

According to organiser Mr Iqbal Ameer, group chief executive of The Livescape Group, the first application was rejected on Jan 29.

At a subsequent meeting with the police, he was given a letter which stated that the application was rejected because of serious concerns over the drug abuse that happened at the Kuala Lumpur festival last March.

The organiser re-submitted its application to the Police Licensing & Regulatory Department on Feb 16 and was rejected again on Feb 27.

According to Mr Iqbal, the second application addressed the drug abuse concerns by saying that security personnel will conduct random drug tests and that the number of medical staff members at the festival will be boosted.

The organiser appealed to the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 2.

Mr Iqbal said: “All is not lost, it’s still under review. One of the main reasons why the Future Music Festival came to Singapore in the first place is because of Singapore’s no-tolerance stance on drugs.”

bchan@sph.com.sg