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Phuket party plans 'a mess' – Surin restaurateur

PHUKET: On December 30, Surin Beach will be transformed into a raving party site for up to 50,000 people pumping their fists to the latest techno tunes, all in a safe, happy, clean environment.

By Claire Connell

Thursday 6 December 2012, 04:20PM

The planned floating stage, which will be built in Phuket over the next few weeks.

The planned floating stage, which will be built in Phuket over the next few weeks.

Or so organisers hope.

The Sydictive Element New Year’s Eve party planned for Surin Beach from December 30-January 1 has been a hot topic around Phuket ever since American socialite Paris Hilton was flown into Bangkok in late October to announce the event.

Rumours are flying – Where will the 50,000 partygoers come from? Where will they stay? Will they shut off the beach? Will Paris Hilton show up? Is the whole event just a hoax?

Less than a week after the announcement, eight representatives from TP Surin Beach Hotel, The Chava Surin, Twinpalms, The Surin, CBRE Property Management, Ayara Hilltops, Amanpuri and Double Tree Surin by Hilton jointly sent a letter to Phuket Governor Maitree Intusut outlining their concerns about the event.

In the letter, the group raised the ‘very unsuitable choice of date’, the ‘definitely inappropriate selection’ of Surin Beach and Park for the event, the ‘massive round-the-clock noise disturbance’ in the area, and the fear that techno music events are often associated with drugs and alcohol.

One business owner on Surin Beach contacted The Phuket News to express his concern.
“It’s all a mess, it really is. We were told the organisers would be charging us 30 per cent commission on food sales, and 40 per cent on our drink sales. This is not acceptable.

We already have our customers, we are already booked, and we haven’t been told anything.”

“We don’t need this kind of activity on this date. It could be acceptable in the low season, when we would welcome it. But on the 31st of December we are already booked up to full capacity. How can we handle 20,000 or 30,000 more people?”

He said he had expressed his concerns already to the organisers.

“It’s falling on deaf ears – they don’t care. They just want to sell the tickets and get the money. Then they want to close the whole [beach] area. What about our customers? We had a meeting with them [organisers] and we never heard back. There’s been nothing official.”

But after several meetings with the organisers and local government officials, it seems the event is going full steam ahead regardless of any concerns.

Sydictive representatives met with local government officials in charge of Surin Beach recently to discuss the finer details of the concert, and signed a legally-binding contract stipulating that Sydictive would provide the following: adequate toilets; waste management from the private sector to make sure the beach and other areas are kept clean; adequate first aid and medical services; enough drinking water and water for sanitation; and security personnel to watch the area, including the sea.

The company also agreed to work closely with Cherng Talay police on traffic control and crowd logistics; have an insurance policy for any damage caused to property during the event; and promised to make an agreement with existing vendors and provide booth spaces for local food.

“It is not a hoax,” confirmed a company representative. “We have already spent about B66 million in getting the event ready. I think we will spend about B120 million [in total],” he said.

And as for Paris Hilton’s attendance, “It’s going to be a surprise. It’s possible for her to come, but we also have other celebrities... who want to come.

“On December 15 we will be able to confirm yes or no [on Paris’ attendance] – we have to keep some surprises. The definite thing we can confirm is all the artists and the DJ lineup shown in the posters.

“We want everyone to cooperate with us. We need to get food and beverages from somewhere, and we want this event to benefit local companies.

“A minority of people who have a vested interest in Surin Beach have been against it. We are not here to disrupt their business, we are here to boost their business. The majority of people who live in the area, and Phuket generally, support the event,” they say.

Despite many of the rumours, backing from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is effectively the “stamp of approval”.

“But in terms of the support, we are not just here by ourselves. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is behind us and so is the Association of Thai Travel Agents.

“We need permits and these have been taken care of already. The only requirement remaining is that the floating stage is signed off by a Thai structural engineer.

“The TAT is promoting us through its 17 offices internationally, and we have been given permission to use the “Amazing Thailand” logo.”

Ready or not, it looks like the party’s coming to Surin.

New Year’s Eve party factbox

–Organisers claim 20,000 tickets have already been sold to people in Phuket, Thailand, Asia, Europe, Russia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere.

–December 30 will see Amadeus, Dash Berlin, Ken Ishii, Sky Blu of LMFAO, Tiga and Tydi perform, and on December 31 Alex Gaudino, Basement Jaxx, JFK MSTRKRFT, Marco V, Myon and Shane featuring Aruna, and Pendulum will play.

–American hip-hop star Akon is also confirmed to play his first ever live DJ set in Asia at the festival.

–Surin Beach will be entirely blocked off using temporary fencing about two metres high, from December 30 until January 1. Residents in the Surin Beach area will be able to register at the Cherng Talay OrBorTor to get a pass allowing them to use the beach free, without having to buy event tickets.

–As part of the agreement with local authorities, Sydictive will also donate a minimum of B200,000 to the local Surin kindergarten.

–R airlines, a Thai charter flight company, will be putting on extra flights which will be on sale with the event ticket. They will be charter flights but customers will book them as if they are scheduled flights.

–Organisers plan on setting up a campsite on private land near the concert venue, and are also working with other local hotels to house guests during the party.



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