Busking now allowed from 10am-10pm daily at 4 spots in Orchard in Dec. 2022, except on Dec. 24

Busking on Dec. 24 must end by 7pm, as authorities expect Orchard to be "teeming".

Fiona Tan | November 29, 2022, 10:17 PM

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Good news, more busking will now be allowed in Orchard in December 2022, with the introduction of more measures for crowd control.

Hours adjusted at four busking spots in Orchard

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the National Arts Council (NAC) previously disallowed busking at eight spots in Orchard on Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm onwards from Dec. 9 to 31, 2022.

While these time restrictions will remain in four of those spots, they will be relaxed at the other four spots, with the introduction of more crowd control measures, SPF announced in a Nov. 29 news release.

Buskers will thus be able to busk at The Heeren, [email protected], Knightsbridge, and Mandarin Gallery on Fridays and Saturdays, from Dec. 9 to 31, 2022. The earlier restriction on busking from 7pm onwards will no longer apply.

However, there will be no busking allowed after 7pm on Christmas Eve on Dec. 24, which falls on a Saturday, as SPF expects the Orchard Road area to be extremely crowded.

SPF said they expect the four sites mentioned above to be "teeming with even more people", and said police are "very concerned" about the situation there, even without busking activities.

Busking can continue till 7pm at ION Orchard, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City A and Ngee Ann City B on Fridays and Saturdays, from Dec. 9 to 31, including the Saturday that is New Year's Eve, the National Arts Council (NAC) said on its website.

Met and engaged with stakeholders

The time restriction for busking at the eight spots in Orchard came after the deadly crowd crush in Itaewon in Seoul, South Korea.

While busking was still allowed on Orchard Road from 10am to 10pm from Sundays to Thursdays, and from 10am to 7pm on Friday and Saturday from 10am to 7pm, many buskers voiced their displeasure as the hours that were restricted are their peak hours.

SPF and NAC engaged with a group of buskers on Nov. 29 to explain the considerations for their earlier restrictions, saying that the presence of buskers will cause pedestrians to stop and crowd around an already crowded footpath, further reducing passable space and impeding crowd flow.

"Given the limited access points in and out of these areas, as well as the unique terrain features, impeded crowd flows will increase the risk of crowd crush or stampede, especially if the crowd becomes agitated or alarmed, and people rush for the exits, whether due to a real emergency or otherwise," said SPF in its statement.

New measures to ensure crowd safety

During the engagement, the buskers agreed to work with the authorities to ensure public safety.

Various stakeholders have also agreed to put in place more measures to control the crowds, said SPF.

NAC said on its website that the additional measures SPF advised include having professional security officers on-site to usher and monitor crowds.

There will also be real-time response to live situations, which includes pausing a busking act at a certain point, if crowds are assessed to have significant public safety risks on ground.

NAC said: "It is important for the busking community, venue partners, authorities, and various stakeholders to continue working together to bring vibrancy to the streets of Singapore in a safe manner."

Busking restricted at Marina Bay area from 7pm onwards on New Year's Eve

Busking will also be allowed at five sites along Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade Breeze Shelter A and B, and Mist Walk A, B and C on New Year's Eve on Dec. 31, 2022, from 10am to 7pm, according to NAC.

It will be restricted from 7pm onwards to protect the safety of the public and the buskers, as SPF said it expects much larger crowds around the Marina Bay area on that day, especially since there will be fireworks during the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown, which is returning this year after being previously cancelled due to Covid-19.

As part of crowd management measures, open spaces will be closed once the crowds reach a certain level to prevent an overcrowding situation, said SPF.

Busking can continue without restrictions at other sites such as Empress Place and Esplanade Park.

SPF said it seeks the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders participating or organising the year-end festivities.

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