Impressive new stages and better sound at ZoukOut

DJ Zedd performing at the Moon Stage during ZoukOut 2016 at the Siloso Beach on Sentosa on Dec 11, 2016.
DJ Zedd performing at the Moon Stage during ZoukOut 2016 at the Siloso Beach on Sentosa on Dec 11, 2016.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - ZoukOut is still going strong in its 16th year but the annual dusk-to-dawn beach dance music festival is not one to rest on its laurels.

Over the weekend on Dec 9 and 10, over 41,000 partygoers were treated to new and impressive stages and noticeably better sound quality across all three stages - Moon Stage for the main acts, Star Stage for more niche acts and the return of the Kaleidoscope stage, which over the years has featured some of Singapore's best underground talent.

The Moon Stage was uniquely shaped like the iconic Zouk logo of an eye. Previous stage designs have been more staid, relying less on design and more on functionality. With "eyelashes" of LED panels reaching to the skies, it made for a spectacular backdrop for the top acts that took to the stage.

Day one saw 15,000 partygoers dancing to headlining Dutch DJ Hardwell, while day two was a far more crowded affair with 26,000 in attendance to see the likes of Zedd and Martin Garrix play. Last year's Zoukout attracted 45,000 people over both nights.

Russian-German DJ/producer Zedd's set seemed the more power-packed of the two as he constantly drew on his catalogue of multiple commercial hits. These included his collaborations with pop princesses Selena Gomez (I Want You To Know) and Ariana Grande (Break Free), as well as Hayley Williams (Stay The Night).

As a result the singalong sessions were frequent throughout his 90-minute set, with the crowd at their loudest on his breakout song Clarity.


The 27-year-old DJ, whose real name is Anton Zaslavski, seemed to be revelling in it as well, constantly taking out his phone to record the crowd's reaction - many of which ended up on his Instagram Stories.

The euphoric highs of his set frequently culminated in confetti explosions and even fireworks.

Dutchman Martin Garrix, recently named the No. 1 DJ in the world in DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs poll, took the stage at 4am, choosing to open with a delicate, acoustic piano version of his breakout hit Animals.

The 20-year-old then proceeded to drop one club banger after another including Don't Look Down, his track featuring Usher, and Lions In The Wild. Zedd joined him on stage and was spotted bouncing enthusiastically along to his friend's tunes.

While both Zedd and Garrix are returning acts, it was a debut act - Norwegian producer Alan Walker - who drew an unexpectedly large crowd despite his set being one of the earlier ones at 10.30pm. A new entry to the scene, Walker is already making waves with club favourites Faded and Sing Me To Sleep.

Over at the smaller Star Stage, rain threatened to disrupt the dancing at around 12.30am, but homegrown DJ Koflow kept his brand of hip hop flowing through it all. He was followed by the likes of British electronic duo Snakehips and Los Angeles native Tokimonsta, who put on equally captivating shows.

In keeping with the usual tradition of having local DJs perform the closing sets, resident DJs Ghetto and Zushan rounded off the festivities at the Moon and Star stage respectively at around 7am.

Singapore club Zouk is behind ZoukOut which is considered one of the top dance music festivals in the region. The club itself will have its soft launch at its new premises at Clarke Quay on Dec 17, after having operated at Jiak Kim Street for the past 25 years.

Mr Chia Yong Jian, 21, who was attending ZoukOut for the third time, says he frequents the club as well.

The full-time national serviceman said: "To be honest, this year's event is not as festive as previous years. One reason may be because we all know the club is moving to Clarke Quay. I don't know what will happen, but it is likely that it will become just another club there. But I hope Zouk retains its original spirit."

With additional reporting by Benson Ang