Live music scene will survive axeing of Future Music Festival Asia

Cancellation of Future Music Festival Asia will prompt promoters here to be more diligent

The cancellation of Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) was a shame, but it is unlikely to affect the live music scene here, say promoters.

The police said last week that a Public Entertainment Licence was not issued to the organiser of the major dance music festival because of "serious concerns with potential drug abuse".

Mr Ross Knudson, co-founder of LAMC Productions, says that it is unfortunate that the electronic dance music (EDM) genre has a serious drug image problem.

"Singapore is one of those countries willing to take a stand on things, but I don't think the cancellation will slow down the live music industry here."

He says that promoters like himself are often working on very tight time frames and that artists and their agents sometimes confirm their shows at the last minute.

"But I do think it will force promoters here to be more diligent when it comes to doing a show here, especially if it's a big event."

Mr Rudy De Rozario, managing director of concert promoter Live! Empire, says that he was confident that if the festival were to take place in Singapore, there would not have been a repeat of the drug deaths that plagued last year's instalment in Kuala Lumpur.

"It's a shame that FMFA was cancelled because I think Singapore would have been the safest place to hold a dance festival of that scale. Singapore is known as a drug-free area. You don't mess with the authorities here."

He points to major dance festival ZoukOut, which suffered a tragedy in its first outing in 2000 when a partygoer drowned off the waters of Sentosa, where it was held.

"Instead of cancelling it, ZoukOut has been held every year without incident after that because all the parties behind it worked to find solutions, instead of just banning it."

Nightspot Zouk, who organised the annual ZoukOut, declined to comment on the FMFA cancellation and its potential impact "due to sensitivities of this matter and out of respect for the authorities".

A spokesman for Vibe Beach Sports And Music Festival taking place on March 21, which includes a dance music party at Siloso Beach, Sentosa, said the organisers believe the denial of a permit to FMFA is an "isolated" incident.

It adds: "With regards to the future of dance music events, we hope it will not have a negative impact. Vibe Beach Sports And Music Festival has obtained all the necessary permits required and our licence has been issued."

Some 15,000 tickets had been sold for FMFA, which was scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday.

At press time, Livescape Singapore, the organiser of the Future Music Festival Asia, was still working out details of the refunds.

Its chief executive, Mr Iqbal Ameer, had said the company could lose $5 million due to the cancellation.

In earlier reports, he had said the company had already spent about half of the $5 million budget for the festival.

Life! understands from music industry sources that some of the acts scheduled to perform at the festival might still head here and perform at other venues, although nothing was confirmed at press time.

This happened in 2013, when 1 World Music Festival, slated to take place at the Marina Barrage on F1 weekend, was cancelled at the last minute, partly due to poor ticket sales.

Some of the international acts, including Japanese DJ Taku Takahashi, British DJ Krafty Kuts and American dance-pop act The Cataracs, ended up performing at now-defunct nightclub The Butter Factory instead.

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