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Busking restrictions lifted at 4 sites along Orchard Road

A busker along the Orchard Road shopping belt.

A busker along the Orchard Road shopping belt.

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SINGAPORE — Busking will now be allowed at four sites along Orchard Road, following a discussion between the police and a group of buskers who have agreed to put in measures for crowd control.

The four sites are: The Heeren, 313@Somerset, Knightsbridge and Mandarin Gallery. 

Busking at these areas will be allowed daily from 10am to 10pm, except on Christmas Eve, which will be until 7pm due to expectations of overcrowding, the police said in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 29).

“The public spaces at these four sites are expected to be teeming with even more people, and crowd flow is likely to be even more constricted.”

Earlier this month, the authorities announced that there will be busking restrictions at eight locations on Orchard Road, outside Ion Orchard, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City, The Heeren, 313@Somerset, Knightsbridge and Mandarin Gallery. The restrictions are to apply from 7pm to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays in December.

This was met with objections from many buskers, with the Buskers' Association (Singapore) issuing a statement on Nov 17 stating that it was "a shock to hear from the National Arts Council that buskers could potentially pose a threat to public safety".

In their discussion on Tuesday held with the National Arts Council, the police said that they explained to the buskers the importance of putting in place preventive crowd control measures.

“The presence of buskers will cause pedestrians to stop and crowd around an already crowded footpath, further reducing passable space and impeding crowd flow,” the police added.

They also pointed out that certain aspects of the areas where the restrictions apply — such as the limited entrance and exit points and other unique terrain features — can become risk factors for crowd crush or stampede, “especially if the crowd becomes agitated or alarmed”.

The buskers who attended the engagement on Tuesday agreed to work with the authorities to ensure public safety, the police said.

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

Busking will still not be allowed outside Ion Orchard, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City (Tower A) and Ngee Ann City (Tower B) after 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays between Dec 9 and 31.

Furthermore, busking at five sites along Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade and Mist Walk will be restricted from 7pm onwards on New Year’s Eve. 

With the return of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown event this year, which includes fireworks, much larger crowds are expected around the Marina Bay area on New Year’s Eve. 

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

The police said that similar restrictions were in place during past countdowns, as well as during the National Day Parade this year. 

"Amidst the festive celebrations, public safety should not be taken for granted," said the police, adding that appropriate crowd control measures will need to be put in place.

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