Singapore has banned a music festival scheduled to take place later this month over concerns of drug use after multiple deaths at last year’s event in Malaysia.
Singapore, which has one of the world’s toughest anti-drug regimes, late Friday denied a last ditch appeal by organisers of the Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) for a public entertainment license, following two earlier failed applications.
Organisers Livescape Singapore said the electronic dance music festival, scheduled to be held on March 13-14, was expected to draw around 20,000 people, with prominent disc jockeys including Avicii, Afrojack and Fatboy Slim among the headline acts.
“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 2015 in Singapore,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a short statement late Friday.
The Singapore Police Force earlier said they rejected two separate applications for a permit “because of serious concerns with potential drug abuse at the event”.
Last year’s three-day edition in Kuala Lumpur was cancelled midway after six people died and 16 were hospitalised all for drug-related reasons.
The festival’s organisers said in a statement on Saturday that they were “extremely disappointed” with the permit denial.
The Malaysia deaths “were isolated incidents that took place outside Singapore, which cannot and do not carry any implication that FMFA is linked to drug use or drug abuse,” organisers said in a statement on Facebook.
“In light of this development, we are assessing all options and formulating our next course of action. Full details will be made available over the next few days. “Senior minister of state for the Ministry of Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said in a speech in parliament on Friday that authorities were “keeping an eye “on music events following a spike in drug abuse among young people in the affluent city-state.