Return of concerts, festivals set the stage for Singapore’s entertainment renaissance

Festivals, performances and concerts are returning with a vengeance as Singapore relaxes public event restrictions, poising the country as a high-potential destination for entertainment-driven, post-Covid travel.

This follows the successful month-long pilot in September last year, which saw the return of live performances at selected venues for a maximum of 50 spectators. As of April 24, 2021, this number has increased to 750 with pre-event testing and 250 without pre-event testing, and zoning will no longer be required as long as safe management measures are in place.

Singapore will host two arts and culture festivals in May, as allowed capacity for festivals, performances and concerts are expanded; Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay pictured

The country is now ushering in the beginnings of an entertainment renaissance. In May 2021 alone, local residents will be able to participate in two arts and culture festivals. The Singapore HeritageFest 2021, running from May 3 to 30, will explore the nation’s food heritage and healthcare history through more than 100 on-site and online programmes, including virtual and physical tours, talks, documentaries and workshops.

Running concurrently from May 14 to 30 is the Singapore International Festival of Arts, which returns with more than 60 shows by local and international artists. Festival organiser Arts House Limited stated that several shows were sold out immediately, and it is exploring ways to open up more seats in light of the expanded capacity limit, reported The Straits Times.

The rising presence of ticketed public shows has also benefited organisers such as LAMC Productions, which specialised in international concerts in the pre-Covid era. The company now leans on top-billing local shows and celebrity-helmed private events, shared its founder, Lauretta Alabons.

It launched a headline show for local comedian Kumar in March, selling out three shows of 250 pax each, and recently brought on Maye Musk – the mother of Elon Musk – for a private virtual event. LAMC Productions has also opened The Flying V, a metal bar where patrons can enjoy metal and rock music with a selection of beers.

LAMC Productions has moved from international concerts to top-billing local shows and celebrity-helmed private events during the travel freeze

Alabons said: “This is our first time experiencing a long pause in our business on a global scale. We experienced SARS in 2003, but Covid-19 is another animal. We (are doing) what we can to help ensure a more impactful return of the entertainment scene.”

She expressed confidence that while the timeline for international acts to return may be uncertain, Singapore has a strong head-start in leading the region’s entertainment revival.

“We look forward to getting the live shows back on track in 2022. Ideally, the government increases the capacity for live shows to 1,000. The safety measures are great, although we are not able to cover costs with 250-capacity events at the present.

“In 2020, we started a video podcast called ‘Words & Music’ to connect artists to their fans during the Covid-19 downtime. Through its episodes, Singapore has always been mentioned as a destination the artists loved and would love to come back and perform at, which gives the audience more awareness and knowledge about Singapore as a vibrant entertainment hub to visit and explore.”

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