“Nation Party’ gay festival plans in doubt

PHUKET CITY: Despite Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura having already given his blessing for Asia’s largest gay and lesbian festival, the Nation Party, to be held in Phuket, the event may be staged elsewhere because Karon Municipality is worried about the possible consequences of hosting the party.

The news broke yesterday following a closed-door meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall on Wednesday between the Governor, the party organizers, Kata-Karon Municipal officers and Tourism Authority of Thailand Phuket Office Director Suwalai Pinpradab.

The Nation Party, organized by the Fridae.com website, is already being promoted as starting on November 4, with nine parties being held over three days and nights.

The event, traditionally held in Singapore, was moved to Phuket after the Singaporean Police denied the organizers a license to stage the party on the basis that it was “contrary to the public interest”.

The organizers then requested permission to hold the party at Karon Stadium from November 4-6. Permission was denied, but that decision is now being reconsidered at Gov Udomsak’s request.

Thawee Thongcham, Mayor of Kata-Karon, said, “Some [local residents] are worried about noise, and some say that drunk revelers might have sex on the beach. It could destroy the image of Karon.

“We are worried that we might not be able to control the situation. Karon is a place families visit. We don’t have problems involving sex. We don’t want teenagers seeing and copying bad behavior.”

K. Suwalai told the Gazette that Gov Udomsak was firm in his support for the event. However, she said, “The organizers and Karon Municipality need to look at what rules both sides can accept. If both parties fail to agree, the organizers can still arrange to stage this event in another country.

“We need to discuss details. For example, they would party all day and all night. This conflicts with Thai law, so we need to look at whether they will accept closing the event each day at 1 am,” she said.

But, she added, “This is a good opportunity for Phuket.”

She said that if it does go ahead she expects at least 2,000 people to attend the festival, each spending at least 4,000 baht a day, generating revenue of 24 million baht for the island over three days.

“Most people who attend events like this are not like those who go to full moon parties – most of them are upper-class people. But we need to see whether they will accept our rules,” she said.

K. Suwalai added that the organizers will come to Phuket at the end of this month to decide finally whether the party will be held in Phuket or not.

Phuket News
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