S’pore Sky Lantern Festival attendees not allowed to release lanterns due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’

Update (22 Feb, 8.53pm): Responding to queries by MS News, a spokesperson from Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) explained that the Singapore Sky Lantern Festival organisers were unable to obtain the necessary licences and clearance to meet safety requirements mandated by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

As a result, the event could only continue with music entertainment.

“When SDC was informed by both SCDF and the event organiser of a delay to the commencement of the event yesterday afternoon, we took immediate action to ensure that guests were informed of the situation through signages at key locations from Sentosa Express Beach Station to the site at Palawan Green,” the spokesperson said.

Live updates were also provided by the organiser at the event ground.

Apologising for any inconvenience this may have caused guests, the spokesperson said that participants may contact the following people for refunds:

Singapore Sky Lantern Festival attendees given pen & LED light instead of candle

Those who attended the recent Singapore Sky Lantern Festival (SSLF) on 21 Feb were left bewildered and upset after they were not allowed to release their lanterns due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

Instead, they were given LED lights instead of real candles, which would have enabled the lanterns to float to the sky.

Food stalls at the event were also closed.

One attendee described the event as an “embarrassment”, and many of them are also demanding a refund.

Singapore Sky Lantern Festival attendees told to tie lanterns on barricade

According to its listing on the Eventbrite website, the SSLF began in the afternoon on Wednesday (21 Feb).

Based on the programme schedule, a “grand ceremony” was supposed to take place at 7pm before the “lantern release” at 7.30pm.

Source: Eventbrite

Organisers, however, later told attendees that they were not allowed to release “sky lanterns with fire”, citing “unforeseen circumstances”.

Source: @meredithhhh21 on Instagram

Instead, they were given a lantern, pen and LED light before being told to tie their lanterns to the surrounding barricade.


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An emcee at the event also told attendees that they could bring their lanterns home.

He added that attendees can seek a refund via the Eventbrite website.

In addition to the “disappointing” lanterns, Nat, one of the folks behind local lifestyle channel Onericeplease, said food stalls at the venue were “non-existent”.

Source: @onericeplease on TikTok

Attendee said event was an ’embarrassment’

Speaking to MS News, SSLF attendee Sheena Mulani, 37, said the event was an “embarrassment for Singapore”.

The event organiser shared that she had already spent an hour queueing before she was informed that attendees were not allowed to release the balloons.

She speculated that the organisers knew about the situation beforehand since there were LED candles ready onsite.

Image courtesy of Sheena Mulani

Ms Sheena is trying to get a refund for her ticket via Eventbrite, but lamented the fact that she will never get her S$60 taxi fare and time back.

Each ticket to the event cost S$50, excluding platform booking fees.

Releasing sky lanterns with fire not allowed due to safety concerns

SSLF’s Eventbrite listing includes several pictures of sky lanterns lit with actual candles.

Source: Eventbrite

It’s unclear if the pictures were for illustration purposes or indicative of what would actually be happening at the SSLF.

The SSLF event schedule also stated that the lanterns would be released in a specific manner to adhere to guidelines by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Singapore Civil Defence Force.

Earlier in January, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported that the SSLF will feature tethered lanterns grounded by 60m-long strings.

According to CAAS’ website, the free release of sky lanterns is prohibited in Singapore.

However, the release of such lanterns may be allowed subject to these conditions:

Source: CAAS

Interestingly, CAAS shared a Facebook post on 2 Feb reminding the public that the free release of sky lanterns is not allowed in Singapore.

Source: CAAS on Facebook

The post did not mention the SSLF in its caption but attached a Timeout article covering the event.

In response to MS News’ queries, Steven Lau, the organiser of the event, said the release of sky lanterns with fire was not allowed due to safety concerns.

“Attendees can still participate in the tradition of writing down their wishes and then tie their lanterns around the barricade,” said Mr Lau.

Mr Lau added that the team behind the event is discussing the matter of refunds and will provide an update within two weeks.

MS News has reached out to SCDF and CAAS for comment.

Also read: Sky Lantern Festival Happening At Sentosa On 21 Feb, Let Your Wishes Take Flight

Sky Lantern Festival Happening At Sentosa On 21 Feb, Let Your Wishes Take Flight

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Featured image courtesy of Sheena Mulani.

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