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James and Kellie hope they will still be smiling on their Phuket wedding day

'Paris Hilton's Party Will Shatter My Dream'

Thursday, November 29, 2012
PHUKET: Kellie Power and James Saunders planned their wedding very carefully. The couple decided more than a year ago that Phuket was the perfect place for their marriage.

She's Australian and he is British. So Phuket, kind of in the middle, was ideal in every way. They managed to persuade reluctant relatives, some of whom have never been overseas before, to come along for the big day.

Twelve months ago, the wedding plan of a lifetime was fully organised.

With 150 guests looking on, they would get married on the beach on Phuket . . . on December 29.

Little did they know back then, as they organised accommodation for everyone in the resorts around Phuket's Surin beach, what would happen more than 10 months later.

On October 22, celebrity Paris Hilton went on stage in Bangkok for a media announcement.

She told capital city reporters that Surin beach on Phuket would be the setting for a two-day electronic music festival for 50,000 people this New Year, on December 30 and December 31.

Kellie and James, both 32, still find it hard to believe. Their dream wedding was planned with such care and precision for months and months. All that preparation in advance counted for nothing.

So far, despite attempts to contact the organisers, Kellie and James haven't heard back. Their dream wedding, it seems, doesn't count.

''We've been engaged for two years and planning the wedding the whole time,'' said Kellie, a teacher, from the home in the Melbourne suburb of Mentone that she shares with James, who works in IT. He hails from Bexleyheath, London.

An open letter of protest to Phuket's governor from Surin resort general managers - as well as a newspaper poll that shows more than 80 percent of Phuket people are against the event - have also been ignored.

''It wasn't a flippant decision by us to marry on the beach in Phuket,'' Kellie said. ''We went to Thailand and toured all of the beach destinations.

''Samui, Hua Hin, Krabi, Phi Phi, Phang Nga . . . we looked at them all. We decided that Surin-Bang Tao was perfect.

''Even then, because Phuket is so crowded every new year, we had problems getting everyone into resorts, so our guests are spread out all over Surin.''

The reason why Surin was chosen, Kellie said, was for the peace and quiet. However, the normal tranquility of a Phuket Christmas-New Year is expected to be shattered by preparations for the big party.

Mother of the bride, Glenda Power, is also very disappointed. ''We're pretty upset about this,'' she said.

Kellie is thankful that the wedding itself will take place on the beach at Bang Tao, just around the corner from Surin.

But she knows that inevitably, there are going to be disruptions, and that her dream wedding, planned with such care, appears to be of no concern to the party's organisers.

''My guests and I are all flying in on the December 23 and leaving on January 6,'' she said. ''We are staying in Surin for the entire holiday.

''This doesn't seem to be fair to me. We made our wedding plans well in advance, knowing that Surin beach is so peaceful at that time of year.

''It's a shame they didn't tell us one year ago.''


Comments have been disabled for this article.


They must be devastated but unfortunately there are some rich and powerful who can overide anything

Posted by mick.s on November 29, 2012 16:08


...knowing that Surin beach is so peaceful at that time of year.

Eh?? Are they reading a 1980s holiday guide to Phuket??

I don't think Surin Beach has been peaceful for many, many years!


Posted by Simon Luttrell on November 29, 2012 16:35


Surely their may be good reasons why this mega party should or should not be held at Surin Beach at this time of the year or at all...however, it is also difficult to understand why the marriage of a one (1) single couple should be a reason not to allow a party thousands of people may wanna join. Pretty bizarre!

Posted by Anonymous on November 29, 2012 17:19


Just came to think of it. A crowd of 5000 on that small beach is more than enough and would require a number of policemen, parking for scooters, toilets, etc someone wrote already, what kind of plan is there that the authorities have approved, you cannot organise a meeting in BKK of that size without permission.

Posted by Bo Jonsson on November 29, 2012 17:33


I think this a disgraceful money grab. Despite repeated assertions from the hotel owners, the guests, couples like James and Kellie, this beach rave is still going ahead. The Govenor of Phuket needs to see the bigger picture and understand that allowing this rave will do more harm than good.

Posted by Nick Coates on November 29, 2012 17:40


Gutted for you both! How can it be allowed to go ahead when 80% of the population are opposed to it!!

Posted by Aaron on November 29, 2012 17:52


It's just me, me, me with some couples!!! (moderated)

Posted by Mister Ree on November 29, 2012 18:43

Editor Comment:

Mister Ree, I have to say that comments about Ree, Ree, Ree are of no interest. Unless you have some essential information to add, why do you bother?


So this couple are complaining that somebody richer and more powerful than them wants to monopolize the beach, instead of them doing the very same thing on a smaller scale?

If you can't party on the beach, why should you marry on the beach? This whole beach party fiasco has been way blown out of proportion. Over the last decade, I have seen hundreds of concerts, fun fairs, Loy Krathong celebrations etc... that bring in a ton of people and monopolize public beaches all over the Island.

Do you think if Ad Carabao was hosting a concert in Surin .. people would be crying so hard? Doubt it ..

Posted by Jesse on November 29, 2012 20:18

Editor Comment:

That's a fair point, Jesse. but the key issue is this: the beaches in Thailand are public. A beach wedding lasts perhaps an hour, not two whole days, plus preparation and deconstruction . . . let's say a week all up. If a big private enterprise wants to take over a beach and close it off to make a lot of money - for them - in a hurry, whose permission do they seek? Or if they have enough influence, do they just go ahead and do it? Any beach, anywhere, any time? If you are content to pay to attend a private party on a public beach, what's to stop someone from charging you to sunbake and swim?


I don't think the issue is their ability to be married on Surin beach as most weddings take place further north where you can have a beach free of sunlounges etc. The problem is the inconvenience of the party in relation to their accommodation. Just need to call the Bangkok police down to the event which will make sure it is very well contained ;)

Posted by Ty on November 30, 2012 05:09


Better a not so perfect wedding but a long and happy time together. Do not get too winy and paranoid over that event to forget to say "yes" and have fun. Hey, there could be a normal construction site running or it could rain also, you know?

The normal high pressure zones from China do not arrive/arrive very late this winter. That means that low pressure rain systems could prevail...

It is Thailand and if you let this things disturb you, I mean your wedding is around the corner one day earlier, then... you are in the wrong place. Improvise and people will love to help you. You will have a great time here if you think about the important thing. Not the exotic location, the "silence", the "nature" whatever. Getting together to celebrate your wedding with people you love and if there is a sound check, laugh that thing away. Why waste precious time on a thing you cannot change anymore? Some of your guest may even love to attend your wedding after party...

Posted by Lena on November 30, 2012 12:08


It is not just Kellie and James's wedding day there are others too. These wedding were booked 12 months ago not last month like this rave. I'd like to know, were are all these people going to pee and bump their rubbish? I'll tell you. On that beautiful Surin Beach. It won't be so pretty then, it will be destroyed.

Posted by Glenda on November 30, 2012 18:04


Another attempt by Phuketwan to bash the NYE party on Surin....a bit pathetic.

Posted by Rocket on December 3, 2012 09:45

Editor Comment:

We're simply reporting the concerns of the Phuket people and the bride and groom who were among many stakeholders ignored by the party organisers, Rocket. With a helicopter flying over head, a floating stage and DJs suspended from balloons, we are sure the party will be amazing. Thanks for taking the trouble to send us your first comment. Please let us know how the party goes.


Hey Rocket, if you firmly believe this farce should be allowed, YOU really are pathetic. You want all of Phuket to resemble Patong?

Posted by mike on December 3, 2012 11:18


1 party for 48 hours is not going to make the area look like the rest of Patong. Yes some people will be inconvenienced but there will also be lots of local business and others on the island that will benefit from it. We will have to wait and see, if it does not work then I am sure it will not happen again. Why don't PhuketWan post an article on the benefits the party could have on the area?

Posted by Rocket on December 4, 2012 08:19

Editor Comment:

Because, Rocket, there are no benefits to Surin or Phuket from this party. Surin has built up an appeal over the years for families, not party-going singles. Between Christmas and New Year, thanks to years of hard work by managements, the resorts are 100 percent occupied. This party threatens to undermine those years of hard work. Most people who haven't given the issue any real thought imagine that a two-day party has to bring benefits. Yes, money is there to be made - by the organisers. Everybody else in Surin is likely to lose out, even if the party is a success. By all means, tell us what you see as the ''benefits.''


Rocket, what benefit for the locals? All local businesses are full at that time. The beach restaurants have been asked to pay a 30% commission to the organisers. It is a simple money grab by some well connected Bangkok people. Surin may not recover. The local mayor doesn't care about high end tourists. His next plan is to build over the parkland. Patong number 2 coming right up!

Posted by mike on December 4, 2012 10:09


The thing is most news sources should provide un-biased honest news to their readers. Quality journalists should find out all the information available before writing their articles. I am not saying that this party will be a huge success or that it will not. However I can see the potential it could have.

Surin and Bangtao are approximately the 8th most popular areas on the island for tourists and one of the least well known/visited. The party will give Surin Beach the "Amazing Thailand" status, the first ever in Thailand. Many businesses want to promote Surin and Bangtao as an all year destination to visit and to "get it on the map" so to speak and this may be the opportunity.
If 30-50k people do attend the party then there will clearly be profit to be made from the surrounding businesses, unless those people do not drink or eat? If you speak to the local businesses, especially the Thai ones and not the 5 star hotels you will find they are expecting big profits.

Then lets actually talk about the party, something Phuket if not Thailand has never seen before. World class acts in Phuket. This is not a drug taking techno party like the 5* hotels tried to report. It's a festival of music and events. A great addition to the usually pretty dire entertainment scene in Phuket.

Plus I don't expect the organizers will make any money from this event....the locals on the other hand will.

Posted by Rocket on December 4, 2012 10:47

Editor Comment:

Our news reports have been honest and unbiased, Rocket. And our overriding concern - unlike those who only see money to be made - is the best interests of Phuket. Please tell us: where are you based and why are you intent on arguing in favor of an event that, according to a recent newspaper poll, is not wanted ever by more than 80 percent of Phuket residents and Phuket visitors?


I am impartial to the party but could easily argue in favor for or against it. I live in Surin and expect i will get little sleep during the event, but hey we all have to live a little. I am also not surprised that the aging retiree residents of Phuket voted against it. I bet they don't even know who the artists are who are performing. Maybe if the Rolling Stones were there they would be in favour?

There are pros and cons, the disappointing thing is that Phuketwan has not reported them.

Posted by Peter on December 4, 2012 11:49

Editor Comment:

We have reported the claims by the organisers but so much of it had still to be organised and still has to be organised. They neglected to get permission or consult the residents and tourists of Phuket before launching the event - in Bangkok. As we've reported, 3700 Phuket people (of all ages, as far as we know, Thais, expat residents and tourists) voted overwhelmingly against the party in the newspaper poll. The promoters have a lot of work to do, work that they should have begun last December, not in late October. And there is nothing to be said in favor of private enterprises commandeering Phuket's public beaches any time they like. We reported on the cart. The horse is still coming.

By the way, Peter, you should perhaps disclose that you are sending this email from the same address as previously used by Rocket. All four comments made to Phuketwan have been about one topic: the NY party. All four have been in favor, not impartial.


I posted the positives because you asked me too. If you asked me to post the negatives I could do that too.

To be honest this is the job of the journalist isn't it?

To Quote: "By all means, tell us what you see as the ''benefits."

Posted by Rocket on December 4, 2012 17:43

Editor Comment:

We asked Rocket to tell us the ''benefits,'' then Rocket bobs up as Peter. You expect us to accept your unfair criticism (apparently without the right to reject it), and at the same time we also have to absorb your argument that there are ''benefits.'' You ask us to reject a poll of the opinions of 3700 people in favor of your opinion. Now that makes sense, Peter/ Rocket.


Sorry to hear that you have planned your wedding during this horrible mega-party. We feel your pain. I live here on Phuket with my husband, my father, and sister with her family live here as well. This party will destroy our island!!! Everyone is upset about it. We are trying to find another island to escape to for that week.
About your wedding, Bangtao is a beautiful beach! It's where my family and I spend a lot of time if we aren't at Surin. And it's where my husband and I were married. The mid to north end is almost deserted and very beautiful! I hope it works out for you.
Good luck!!!

Rocket/Peter - I am not an ageing retiree and neither are any of my many, many local expat friends. And we are well aware of who the artists are that will be performing at this event. We just don't want to watch them as the beautiful beach is destroyed.

Send the party to Patong or better yet Koh Pangan!

If you think this will not be a "a drug taking techno party" and the promoters won't profit YOU are high!

Don't even get me started on the disgusting amount of traffic that will slow the one road in to a grinding halt. If you really live in Surin then that should be a concern of yours as well!!!!!

Posted by Love Phuket on December 6, 2012 12:42

Monday December 4, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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