Watain Singapore concert ban: IMDA to reach decision 'soon' on claim for compensation by organiser

Wong Casandra
Senior Reporter
Swedish black metal band Watain. (Getty Images file photo)

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said on Thursday (21 March) that it will reach a decision soon on the claim by the organiser behind the banned concert by Swedish black metal band Watain for compensation.

In response to media queries by Yahoo News Singapore, an IMDA spokesperson said, “The IMDA has been engaging Ravage Records on the reimbursement arising from the cancellation of the concert. The IMDA is currently reviewing Ravage Records’ claim and will reach a decision soon.”

Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to Ravage Records for comment.

The “Watain Live in Singapore” concert was cancelled by the IMDA hours before the band were scheduled to perform at the EBX Live Space on 7 March, following advice by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

In response to the last-minute cancellation, Ravage Records said in a lengthy Facebook post on 9 March, “At this moment, what we can do is to minimise our damages and without a doubt, most importantly, work towards a possible reimbursement (if any) for our dear supporters.”

“Everything has been paid for, from the flights to accommodation, to transportation, equipments and venue rental, and even band fees and we will not get a single cent back,” it added. “Right now, we, at Ravage Records, can only wait with bated breath for the authorities’ answer for a compensation.”

The concert – limited to 200 or so attendees – was initially allowed to take place with a rating of Restricted 18 (R18) with stringent requirements in place, including the removal of religiously offensive songs, references to religion or using religious symbols, and ritualistic acts on stage.

Speaking to reporters at a doorstop interview held at the Ministry of Law on 7 March, Shanmugam said allowing the band to have their concert in Singapore will be “against public order interest” and “affect our religious and social harmony”.

“And if you look at the band, they do have a history – very offensive towards Christians, Jews, supportive of violence, including encouraging the burning of churches,” he added.

The last-minute cancellation came after the creation of a petition calling for Watain and Swedish death metal band Soilwork to be banned from performing here. The petition received more than 19,000 signatories as of 21 March.

Soilwork are still scheduled to perform in Singapore on 29 October, said the event organiser Street Noise SG, despite the petition.

Addressing it to the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth, its creator, Rachel Chan, wrote, “These heavy metal bands do not represent the culture which we want in our youths. Their subliminal messages in their songs include death and suicide.”

Other Singapore stories:

COMMENT: Watain concert ban stokes burning questions

National Council of Churches of Singapore ‘relieved to hear’ of MHA’s decision on Watain concert ban

Watain Singapore concert ban: Our fans can decide for themselves about our music, says band vocalist

Allowing metal band Watain to hold Singapore concert can affect ‘religious and social harmony’: Shanmugam