Angkasa Space owner says Kuala Lumpur live music venue will close for good after shutdown by authorities

The shutdown of the venue by KL authorities on Sunday over its expired license has prompted an outpouring of support from artists and fans within the local scene

The owner of Kuala Lumpur gig venue Angkasa Space says the live music space will close for good after authorities seized and shut down the venue yesterday (July 24) following the lapse of its license.

The venue was scheduled to host a hip-hop show featuring Nakalness of FORCEPARKBOIS and Chronicalz among others Sunday evening. Soundchecks for the gig had already been conducted when DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) officials arrived at roughly 8.30pm and told those at the venue to retrieve their valuables before they sealed off the space and locked the door.

Venue owner Mohd Zulhelmie Zullifan​, also known as Elmi, has since made the decision to close Angkasa Space for good. In a statement to NME, he claimed the authorities seized the space without warning because its hall license had expired, and cited the cost for applying for a license as the main roadblock to reopening it again.

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“DBKL seized our space because our hall license has expired,” Elmi explained, “and because we couldn’t afford to apply for an entertainment license. The deposit for an entertainment license is quite expensive for a small event space like us.

“I’m disappointed because they never gave us any warnings.”

Elmi elaborated on his decision on Twitter. “The DBKL wants every gig venue to get an entertainment license. The entertainment license requires a MYR30,000 deposit,” he wrote.

“And you only get your deposit back after four months. I’ve done this before, it’s not like I haven’t. That MYR30,000 price tag is not for people in our scene. That’s a lot of money.”

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Elmi claimed full responsibility for the venue closure, adding it was his fault for letting the license lapse. In a more recent update, he claimed that he was advised to pay an MYR50,000 deposit alongside an additional MYR30,000 in ‘processing fees’ for the license – on top of a MYR50,000 summons for allowing the venue’s license to lapse in the first place.

NME has contacted DBKL for comment.

Angkasa Space has played host to a who’s who of Malaysian music since opening in January 2019. Notable acts who have performed at the venue include Kyoto Protocol, Spooky Wet Dreams, Masdo, Sekumpulan Orang Gila, Leaism, Naim Daniel, Oh Chentaku and more. The venue even hosted Malaysian icon Datuk M. Nasir and his band Kembara last week for a segment for TV channel HLive.

Artists in the local music scene have since chimed in on the loss of Angkasa Space, with some offering to help raise funds for a license through crowdfunding gigs. Elmi told NME that someone in the Angkasa Space show is “considering” a fundraiser. “They love this place because that’s where they earn a living,” he said.

Other musicians, including members of Sekumpulan Orang Gila and Late Night Frequency and many more, have lamented the lack of support from the authorities for underground and indie music.

Jennifer Thompson, former general manager of music industry body Persatuan Akademi Industri Music Malaysia, chimed in on the difficulty of explaining the value of live music venue to the authorities. She also called for new legislation to protect venues that foster homegrown talent, addressing her final tweet to the authorities: “Invite us to a table and let us sit down and fix the systemic problem once and for all not force closure.”

Read her comments and see more reactions to the Angkasa Space closure by others in the Malaysian music scene below.

Additional reporting by Surej Singh

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