Iconic live music stalwart Wala Wala at Holland Village shuts gig space amid Covid-19 curbs

SINGAPORE - After 20 years of playing host to Singapore's premier live bands, Holland Village institution Wala Wala has turned the lights off at its second-floor gig space.

The iconic watering hole, which started live gigs in October 2001, announced the closure via its Facebook page on Nov 7. The first floor, which has a cafe and bar, remains open.

All that remain in the now-abandoned second floor are stacked bar chairs and tables, as well as instruments and microphones that have not been used for almost two years. The owners are looking for a new tenant to take over the space.

"The second floor has been closed since the end of March 2020, when live entertainment was first banned (under Covid-19 restrictions), and we've been bleeding money ever since," said Wala Wala owner and director Stanley Yeo.

Following 20 months of disuse, he had no choice but to close one of the stalwarts of live entertainment in Singapore, which has showcased local cover bands and musicians such as Jack and Rai, 53A and Reverie.

"Even the government grants have not helped... We've been taking money out of our reserves and paying all this while," said Mr Yeo.

Despite recorded music now being allowed in venues after almost five months, he is not hopeful for the return of live music.

"There is hope that things will open up slowly, but it's going to be at least three to six months, and live music will probably be at the end of that period," he said.

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