Well, the cat’s finally out of the bag — popular local singer-songwriter Joel Tan (AKA Gentle Bones) and his entourage of musicians and sound engineers had been detained in Indonesia for over three months over a performance permit issue.
Kept on the down low by the local music industry, Gentle Bones as well as American YouTube star Kina Grannis had their passports impounded and barred from leaving the country after they completed a show in Jakarta in Sept 16. It was only on Tuesday that they were allowed to leave Indonesia, The Straits Times reports.
The two artistes — as well as 12 other supporting crew — were supposed to be touring around Asia in a series of shows in Taipei, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Manila but obviously that didn’t happen.
It was at the first stop of their tour that immigration officials showed up at the Komunitas Salihara concert venue. As soon as their show was done, officers asked for their passports before claiming that the group did not have proper performance permits.
It was all a case of logistical breakdown. Concert promoter Creon Asia was responsible to get the permits for the shows in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila — but clearly they weren’t able to settle the permits for the Jakarta show.
As such, Tan, Grannis and their crew had to be stranded in Indonesia. For 3 and half months. At least Creon Asia assumed full responsibility and settled all their expenses during their stay — but from what we’ve heard, the promoter allegedly went bankrupt from paying for all of them.
The mess also caused the cancellation of Tan’s sold-out debut concert in Singapore, which was supposed to have taken place on Dec 10.
His record label Universal Music Singapore also had to get involved in the kerfuffle too. Legal counsel and consular assistance were utilised, but the wrangling took a helluva lot more time than expected.
Last week, Universal Music Singapore paid a fine of $5,000 on behalf of Tan and his entourage of four people after a court hearing. Tour organisers and promoters Ellipsis Live and Creon Asia were also fined.
Throughout the ordeal, Tan and his crew had been advised by lawyers not to go public about the issue, expressing worries that it would delay the legal battle further than it already was. Which explains why there was no mention of the case on Gentle Bones’ social media accounts in the last few months, except a couple of hashtags that’ve been going around among those in the know: #freegentlebones.
Now that Tan’s home safe and sound, Universal Music Singapore is working on his first solo concert next year, which will inevitably sell out once again.