SINGAPORE — Artbox Singapore’s opening weekend last Friday had attendees complaining about the crush.
Then, a larger-than-expected crowd of 300,000 turned up, according to organiser Haoming Lee. The co-founder of Artbox Asia and head of strategy at Invade Industry, a creative retail space and events company, said that around 200,000 were expected then.
Those who attended complained that there was barely room to move around, and that there were long queues to get into the fair at the Marina Bay Sands event space. Waiting times for food reportedly lasted as long as two hours at a Talad drinks stall.
This weekend, Lee has introduced “crowd control measures”, he told TODAY. Walkways between stalls have been widened, and a wireless paging system at food stalls has been implemented “so that visitors can have a wander around while waiting for their food, reducing queues”, he said.
Lee will also post regular crowd status updates on the event’s Facebook and Instagram pages, so that people know what to expect, he said.
More event staff will also be deployed to help direct people at various entry points, and more gates at the entrances into the venue to help direct the crowd in have been set up, he said.
“We’re also working very closely with the Singapore Police Force, which will be assisting with crowd flow movement from Bayfront (MRT) station,” he added.
Ultimnately, he is happy with the “strong turnout”. Vendors TODAY spoke to were happy with the popularity of the event as well.
Derek Neo, founder of Tiosmoke, which offers dragon’s breath desserts, said that “the crowd (was) definitely more than expected”. “If (the fair) is happening next year, we will definitely be a part of it,” he said.
He said that in the future, more space could be allotted for the event, which currently takes up 50,000sq feet.
Thus far, the crowd control measures seem to have made a difference. Artbox Singapore opened for its second weekend on Friday evening.
Choey Ching How, 29, who runs a blog called Talking Evilbean, went to the fair last weekend.
Then, he said: “There was no space to navigate (around the stalls). It felt like I was in an MRT station during peak hours.”
He was there on Friday (April 21) and told TODAY that it felt as though there was more space and that it seemed “less messy” at the event.
“I also managed to get five different food items within 30 minutes,” he added, noting that it had taken much longer last weekend.
Artbox will next travel to Taipei, and Lee said that he is already looking to bring Artbox Singapore back next year.
“We are exploring potentially bringing Artbox Asia to Bali, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
Artbox Singapore is on at the Bayfront Event Space at Bayfront Avenue until April 23, from 3pm to 11pm on each day.