Batam’s Next Potential Growth Area: Live Entertainment

I was invited by Batam Tourism to check out Michael Learns To Rock concert in Batam. Yes, you heard right, in Batam, the Island just south of Singapore in Indonesia that can be reached just an hour from the ferry.

Batam, being the largest city in the province of the Riau Island, didn’t feature much in our lives until the Singapore government decided to work with the Indonesian government in the 80s to develop Batam by introducing Industrial Parks. Since then Singaporeans has visited Batam and Bintan for work and play, an alternative when connection to Johor Bahru is jammed up.

The advertisement for MLTR is everywhere in Batam.
The fried Medan noodle and Restoran Medan is superb! One huge reason why Singaporeans like to come to Batam for a short getaway – the Food.
With Tony of Johor Kaki and Boss of Restoran Medan

Batam is really a food, shopping and massage haven of Singaporeans including myself. At a fraction of the price, I can get good massage for 2 hours and relax. Shopping at the local supermarkets I can stock up my personal grooming products such as deodorants, facial wash cream and shavers.

If things move along, I can add one more activity to Batam: Live entertainment. So here I was in the banquet hall of Radisson Hotel and that’s when Michael Learns To Rock (MLTR) performed their memorable songs.

The organisers did a great job transforming the hall into various zones and the crowd is orderly.
The patrons having some fun before the concert starts
Nothing like live performances. The place may be small but this small place has become a huge Karaoke session for all present.

Judging by how the whole hall was transformed into one big Karaoke session, everyone has truly enjoyed themselves belting out hits like “That’s Why You Go Away” “Take Me To Your Heart (Jacky Cheung’s 吻别)” “25 Minutes” and other songs.

Having a concert by famous world-class entertainer(s) is not foreign to Singaporeans. There are concerts by international acts in Singapore and there are those who made trips to Resorts World Genting to listen to artistes such as Grasshoppers 草蜢, Angela Zhang 张韶涵, Na Ying 那英 and Fei Yu Ching 费玉清 to name a few.

Jasha Richter. The American born Danish singer-songwriter of MLTR belting song after hit songs during the concert.

Mikkel Lentz on the guitar.

Kare Wanscher working the drums.

The main reasons why we don’t mind travelling to watch our favourite acts is because the cost of the ticket is more acceptable than watching it in Singapore. Granted, without the travelling costs, Singapore is cheaper that way but the allure of watching the concerts outside of Singapore opens up possibilities of other touristy things we can do. In that sense, going to the concert can be part of the holiday experience that Tourism Offices and Operators have not really fully maximise them yet in my books.

This is where I think Batam has an untapped potential that Genting in Malaysia has an advantage for quite a long time, including having a good performance hall. Batam definitely needs a better venue to accommodate more people.

The trio put up a good show that is truly enjoyable without burning a hole in the pocket. Superb night out!

Then again, the MLTR need no introduction to the Indonesians. Word is the tickets are sold out 2 weeks before the concert is to be held. Having a small venue with limited seats also contributes to quick sale. However, I wondered if Batam has a bigger venue, would Singaporeans come as well?

I feel that the potential is there if the organisers took the effort to market to Singaporeans with an English version of their ticketing system. And it is quite affordable too ranging from $55 to $250 (S$1 = IDR10000) and a nightly room rate of about $50-70 per night plus $34 return ferry tickets in total will cost just slightly more than a Singapore ticket at the Esplanade or MBS Theatre.

I have heard there will be a music festival in Batam in March. Hopefully, I have more information to share with everyone then.

The night ends with a huge bang, with confetti flying through the air! Certainly looking forward to more of such performances live.

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