Monday, June 11, 2012

Singapore fast becoming Asia's clubbing hotspot

SINGAPORE: Singapore is fast becoming a clubbing hotspot of Asia, and this has led to a rising demand for new nightlife trends.

Veterans said the industry has taken on a new lease of life, with a relaxation of guidelines and the onset of technology.

Buzzing business hub by day, pulsating nightlife by night.

Asia's clubbing hotspot sees partygoers revel the night away at nightclubs islandwide.

Clubbing pioneers like CEO of St James Holdings, Dennis Foo, said the nightlife scene has come a long way from its humble roots.

"I remember in the 80s, it was a handful at most of bar operators outside the hotels and there were very few people like us. And the real action was in the hotel lobby lounges."

Co-Director of Filter and Mink, Phillip Poon, echoes this sentiment.

"I remember not that long ago when clubs used to close at 3 o'clock in the morning and everyone was scrabbling for after-hour parties at peoples' houses."

The pace picked up in the past decade as regulations were relaxed, to encourage a livelier and more vibrant scene.

Phillip Poon said: "Licenses have been extended, the government has spent a lot more, relaxed on certain rules and regulations so it has become a lot more dynamic."

Nightclubs are also shifting towards a more entertainment-oriented concept.

Besides dancing, patrons also expect clubs to offer more variety, such as interactive contests and over-the-top themed nights.

Zouk DJ, Adrian Wee, knows all about living up to the expectations. "People get excited about dancers, pyrotechnics, headliner DJs who are not just DJ-ing, they're entertaining. They get excited when the DJs takes off his shirt or climbs the console or dance really silly stuff."

Adrian added that patrons are spoilt for choice, and it's no wonder they are demanding more.

"They are like 'oh can I have this music and I want to listen to it now,' so that's what most DJs go through these days because they always get this kind of request and most of the time, I get a bit annoyed by the frequency of the request and how demanding these requests are. If we can accommodate, we'll do it. If we can't, then we have to fake or pretend to faint."

But veterans caution the industry's dynamism can be a double-edged sword.

For one, trends keep changing, like the infamous bar-top dancing, which Dennis Foo said was a fad.

"At that time, it was forbidden, so (it was) not allowed and everybody wanted to bar top. And today it is allowed and no one wants to go onto the bar and dance anymore because the forbidden fruit syndrome is missing."

Club owners said social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, have also become critical marketing tools in today's nightlife industry.

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