Could club have been saved?

The club scene in Singapore has been crying out for more cutting-edge venues. Broadcast HQ in Little India was just that for me.

When it opened in June last year, it set out to be a nightclub that would play dance and homegrown music.

It soon gained a loyal following, but now it has closed after failing to secure a Category 1 public entertainment licence, which allows for music performances and dancing.

It had a Category 2 licence, which only allows the playing of recorded music without dancing.

The owners of Broadcast HQ said on its website that they were not aware it was going beyond the limits of its Category 2 licence until police officers visited the club months ago and told them about it.

They then stopped the DJ nights and applied to the police for a Category 1 licence.

But the police told Broadcast HQ they would not consider any new Category 1 applications because of "complaints about existing public entertainment outlets in the area".

A police spokesman told The New Paper that Broadcast HQ's application was turned down due to "law-and-order and disamenities concerns".

The Broadcast HQ website said the club will be relocating to the Australian city of Perth after failed attempts to find a new location here.


This saga is disappointing on a few fronts.

First of all, the Broadcast HQ owners should have done their homework on the type of licence they needed.

Also disappointing is how an outlet like Broadcast HQ has to close over what seems to be a technicality.

Next to Broadcast HQ, which occupies four shophouses over two storeys on Rowell Road, is a KTV lounge which has a Category 1 licence.

What unique quality do KTV lounges, which are a dime a dozen, offer in raising the hip quotient in Little India?

The police have clarified that existing outlets with Category 1 licences will be allowed to operate unless they violate the terms of their licences.

When considering licence applications, the police naturally place public security concerns over everything else.

Fair enough. But should other authorities, such as the Singapore Tourism Board or the Urban Redevelopment Authority, have a say as well?

Boutique hotel Wanderlust and its popular French restaurant Cocotte, as well as other new joints, have brought buzz to Little India, upping its hip quotient.

And Broadcast HQ added to this cachet by actively promoting music on a grassroot level by featuring homegrown DJs and giving clubbers an alternative to the mainstream clubs.

So could some form of compromise have been reached to save the club from having to close?

Singapore's loss is Perth's gain.

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