Sentosa Sky Lantern Festival organiser says full refund not possible as discounts were given, will gather feedback

Full refund for Sky Lantern Festival cannot be given as some attendees received discount: organiser

The organiser of the Singapore Sky Lantern Festival (SSLF) has revealed why attendees’ tickets are non-refundable although they couldn’t release their lanterns on the event day.

A company director was quoted as saying that they couldn’t give a full refund as they “do not know how much some of the attendees have paid”.

Image courtesy of Sheena Mulani

Amid differing opinions over the refunds, the company will gather feedback from attendees on the matter.

Some attendees received 50% discount

Director of SSLF organiser Asian Couture and Boutique Mr Steven Lau provided this information to TODAY Online.

Speaking to reporters, he noted that some attendees had received a 50% discount on their tickets.

Therefore, he explained that the company cannot give a full refund as it doesn’t know how much some of the attendees paid.

‘Intensive discussion’ over Sky Lantern Festival refund

The company’s directors also have different opinions as to whether they should give refunds, Mr Lau said.

In fact, they were “engaging in an intensive discussion” about this.

Image courtesy of Sheena Mulani

Feedback form to be issued over Sky Lantern Festival refund

To that end, the company plans to issue a form to attendees to gather feedback, Mr Lau said.

This form will have a few options, including a partial refund and the chance to attend another event while offsetting its ticket price with what customers previously paid.

It should be available from Monday (4 Mar), he added.

After attendees’ responses are in, the company will make a “more concrete decision” on refunds, he maintained.

Company founder said tickets were non-refundable

Mr Lau’s position stands in contrast with that of Ms Shiermie Bautista, owner and founder of Asian Couture and Boutique.

On 27 Feb, she posted on Facebook that tickets for SSLF were “final and non-refundable”.

S’pore Sky Lantern Festival tickets non-refundable, can be used for rescheduled event in April

Attendees can, however, use the tickets for a rescheduled event, which would be sometime in the first week of April.

She also advised those unable to attend the new date to put their tickets up for sale on the TicketSwap website.

In response to MS News‘ queries, Ms Shiermie explained that the SSLF tickets were non-refundable as 2,500 individuals had collected their lanterns.

She also confirmed that SSLF ticketholders will be able to release tethered lanterns at the rescheduled event. This is regardless of whether they had previously collected lanterns.

Rescheduled event didn’t get clearance from SCDF as of 29 Feb

However, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) told MS News on 29 Feb that it had not given clearance for the new event.

This was because SCDF was still following up with the organiser on the details and implementation of the fire safety guidelines necessary to host the event.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) told MS News on 29 Feb that it was aware of the organiser’s intent to reschedule the event.

But as of 28 Feb, the organiser had not shared any details such as the date, venue, and how it plans to conduct the event.

Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) told TODAY that Asian Couture and Boutique had reached out to it about holding another similar event.

SDC “reiterated the need to apply for all necessary licences and permits” and abide by all requirements from the authorities before contacting them over a possible venue.

Organiser unable to obtain licences & clearance: SCDF

The saga erupted when attendees of the SSLF that was initially due to happen on 21 Feb found themselves unable to release their lanterns due to “unforeseen circumstances”. Instead of real candles, they received LED lights.

The sudden turn of events led to much disappointment all around.

Source: Shiermie Bautista on Facebook

In a Facebook post on 28 Feb, Ms Shiermie shared screenshots of conversations she claimed to have with SCDF and CAAS on the SSLF. The images appeared to show them giving her a list of conditions to meet to obtain approval for the event.

Some of the conditions include tethering sky lanterns at all times and having safety marshals on-site to supervise the event.

However, SDC told MS News on 22 Feb that the organisers were unable to obtain the necessary licences and clearance to meet safety requirements the SCDF mandated.

Trial run was ‘unsatisfactory’

SCDF subsequently told MS News on 23 Feb that the organisers had conducted a trial on 19 Feb.

The outcome was “unsatisfactory”, SCDF said, adding that one of the lighted lanterns caused a small fire on the artificial turf during the trial.

Ms Shiermie has since posted a video of what happened during the trial. It showed Mr Lau in a green vest lighting a candle inside a sky lantern.

Source: Shiermie Bautista on Facebook

The lantern quickly rose into the sky due to the hot air, but couldn’t float away as it was tethered.

Source: Shiermie Bautista on Facebook

However, a woman in a white top and black pants, identified as an F&B vendor, wasn’t so successful.

Her lantern failed to rise and flopped around on the grass. In the video, she audibly exclaimed that her lantern couldn’t fly.

Source: Shiermie Bautista on Facebook

Meanwhile, a male voice off-camera said: “Please don’t burn my grass.”

Unfortunately, smoke subsequently appeared, possibly indicating that the grass had caught fire.

The man off-camera then told the pair to “stop now” as the grass was already burning.

Ms Shiermie claimed in her post that the next day, SCDF told them not to use open fires and suggested that they use LED.

She told the force that this wasn’t possible as it was a day before the event and attendees had already booked flights to Singapore just for it.

She then claimed that they were initially allowed to use candles on the event day but it was found that there were not enough fire extinguishers.

The release of the lanterns was thus rescheduled, she added, though the music festival went ahead.

Also read: Rescheduled Sentosa Sky Lantern Festival event received no clearance, 11 complaints filed against organiser

Rescheduled Sentosa Sky Lantern Festival event received no clearance, 11 complaints filed against organiser

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Featured image courtesy of Sheena Mulani and Shiermie Bautista on Facebook.

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