Police Explain Why Busking Isn’t Allowed in Certain Areas in Orchard Road During the Festive Period

There has been a commotion amongst buskers as to why they are not allowed to busk during certain times of the festive period.

The Buskers’ Association raised the fact that the December festive period is a peak season for the buskers’ earnings.

Full-time buskers rely heavily on their earnings from December to tide them through quieter periods like the first three months of 2023.

Buskers are not allowed to perform from 7 pm to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays in December at eight locations on Orchard Road.

These eight locations are Ion Orchard, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City, The Heeren, 313@Somerset, Knightsbridge and Mandarin Gallery.

The eight days include Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but not Christmas Day itself.

The reason for such restrictions is due to “considerations for public safety and advisories from the relevant agencies”, according to email notices sent to the buskers.

Police Explain Why Busking Isn’t Allowed in Certain Areas in Orchard Road During the Festive Period

The main reason why busking is not allowed in certain areas of Orchard Road has something to do with the Itaewon stampede situation.

Orchard Road is expected to have a huge volume of people during the festive season.

Before COVID-19, many pedestrians would stop at peak points on Orchard road to watch the buskers, which reduces the amount of space on footpaths.

Image: Singapore Police Force

In addition, the Great Christmas Village event will be resumed along the footpath from Ion Orchard to Mandarin Gallery this December. This means that the walking space will be reduced as well and crowd control is essential.

The police are doing their part to minimise incidents with may lead to crowd panic, stampedes, and crowd crushes.

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The police stated, “We must not compromise on public safety, and we hope for the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders participating in, or involved in the organisation of, the year-end festivities.

“The Korean Itaewon incident is a reminder that public safety cannot be taken for granted,” they added.

Crowd Control Measures to Prevent Overcrowding 

Police officers will be deployed this year, barricades will be placed, and public notifications will be sent when certain areas are closed off.

The police have recommended the National Arts Council (NAC) to restrict busking activities to regulate the crowding situation.

Buskers are Still Allowed to Perform During Certain Timings at Orchard, and Other Areas with Prior Booking Required

Buskers are still allowed to busk on Orchard Road from Sundays to Thursdays from 10 am to 10 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 7 pm.

They are also allowed to busk at other busking locations islandwide.

These locations include Paya Lebar Square, Hougang Central Court, Clarke Quay Central and Taman Jurong Shopping Centre.

They have to book a lot online before heading down to perform.

The Itaewon Incident Recap 

The Itaewon Incident serves as a reminder for us not to take our safety for granted.

On 29 October 2022, South Korea’s first big Halloween celebration turned into tragedy.

The Itaewon nightclub district, immortalised by popular K-Drama hit Itaewon Class, is a warren of steep, twisted alleyways on either side of the main road—not great for dense crowds.

Witnesses said that even before the incident occurred, there was so much overcrowding that it was difficult to even move around.

As partygoers made their way through a narrow alley in a popular nightlife district in Seoul, at least 151 people died.

The chief of the Yongsan-gu Fire Department, Choi Seong-bum, said that it was a “presumed stampede” and that many fell, injuring at least 82.

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Featured Image: Singapore Police Force