Embattled Kuala Lumpur gig venue Angkasa Space to reopen after renewing license
Written by ABR on 02/08/2022
Kuala Lumpur gig venue Angkasa Space is set to reopen after a weeklong saga that began when the popular venue was closed down by DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) authorities.
On July 24, it was announced that Angkasa Space would be closing down for good after local authorities shut it down due to a lapse in its licence. The DBKL shuttered the venue as it was preparing to host a hip-hop show featuring Nakalness from FORCEPARKBOIS and Chronicalz that evening, while also seizing a DJ deck that was at the venue.
Yesterday (August 1), venue owner Mohd Zulhelmie Zullifan, also known as Elmi, shared on Twitter that Angkasa Space’s license had been renewed and is valid till September 2023. He added that his next step is sending a plea letter to reduce the fine for letting the license lapse in the first place, which amounted to MYR50,000, he said in an earlier tweet.
The gig venue will attempt to resume operations this Sunday, Elmi told NME.
Next step; hantar rayuan saman. pic.twitter.com/jyYTVHeUm8
— Uncle Elmi (@ELMIELMO) August 1, 2022
Elmi also explained that Angkasa Space would work towards obtaining a proper entertainment license as the renewed license only allows the venue to resume day-to-day operations. “For the meantime, we hope that the authorities will be tolerant and allow gigs to return to our space,” Elmi said.
Elmi added that the Angkasa Riot fundraiser concert, which has so far sold over 400 tickets, was a huge help. The fundraiser, helmed by Malaysian organisers Atas Angin, Luas and Freshtown Records, is set to be held at Panggung Asia in Kuala Lumpur on August 20.
The concert will feature 23 acts and 11 hours of music from performers across a multitude of genres, reflective of the outpouring of support Angkasa Space has received from the Malaysian music community following its closure.
Scheduled to perform are Nakalness from FORCEPARKBOIS, Sekumpulan Orang Gila, Chronicalz, SXPH, Modread x Tomok and more.
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Elmi also revealed that his interactions with the authorities have been productive. Elmi and other music industry representatives met last week with Mohamed Nizham Abdullah Hamidi, the Senior Secretary of Federal Territories Minister Dato’ Seri Shahidan Kassim.
Elmi said the secretary has introduced DBKL officials to the Angkasa Space team in order to facilitate the process of getting the venue back up and properly licensed. He added that suggestions for changes to the licensing system he put forward at the meeting were being considered.
“The Federal Territories Minister’s team is supportive of adding a new entertainment license category for non-commercial art spaces that would be cheaper and easier to apply for,” he said, acknowledging that any changes to the DBKL’s practices would take time. “In the meantime, we will apply for the entertainment license at the current rate.”
The sudden closure of Angkasa Space prompted outcry from many artists, industry figures and fans in the Malaysian music scene, some of whom criticised the lack of support from the authorities for underground and indie music.
Jennifer Thompson, former general manager of music industry body Persatuan Akademi Industri Music Malaysia, said at the time that authorities did not understand the need for smaller independent music venues, lamenting smaller acts would have no platform otherwise.
“Most of our talent comes from this scene even Yuna and Hujan and the sun-culture scene,” she explained, adding, “NO ONE ELSE is giving them the platform unless they are already famous.”
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