More buzz at this year's street fest

Ms Cassandra Koh's work is one of 16 on display at the Street Art showcase at Bugis Junction.
Ms Cassandra Koh's work is one of 16 on display at the Street Art showcase at Bugis Junction. PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

About 2,200 are expected to perform at the Singapore Street Festival, which will include new categories such as busking

Young buskers and waack dancers can put their skills to the test at this year's Singapore Street Festival.

In line with the on-trend activities among young people, busking and waacking competitions have been added to the already extensive festival programme.

Ms Annie Pek, founder of the annual festival, says it was the youth who approached her to include the new categories.

"The youth are the ones who come and tell me what's trending. We just give them the platform and exposure to organise and participate in these events," she adds.

Busking contest Busk! Singapore runs from June 25 to July 3. Free Style Session, the competition for waacking, a form of dance with elaborate movements and posing, is on June 26.

  • BOOK IT / SINGAPORE STREET FESTIVAL

    WHERE: Various locations

    WHEN: Till July 3

    ADMISSION: $25 to register. Registration is closed for all categories except Big Bang Supa Weekend, Busk! Singapore, Asia Global Bellydance and Singapore National Kendama Championship.

    INFO: singaporestreetfestival.com

The festival, which was launched on Wednesday and runs till July 3, encourages youth to take to the streets and showcase their skills in an array of art, dance and sport activities such as graffiti, bellydancing and street football.

Now in its 15th edition, the event has seen participation grow by 5 per cent every year, with new programmes introduced every few years. About 2,200 performers are expected this year.

The activities, held at various malls, include the annual Singapore Yo-yo Championship, a magic showcase and D'J Party, an annual event promoting Japanese pop culture.

The competitions are open to Singaporeans aged 14 to 39. Only the bellydancing competitionhas no age limit.

Last year, the inaugural Singapore National Kendama Championship was launched as part of the festival, in response to the traditional Japanese wooden toy becoming popular among the young.

This year, a much bigger prize is up for grabs - a spot in the Kendama World Cup held in Hatsukaichi, Japan, next month. The top prize last year was a kendama worth $200.

Mr Muhammad Razi Kasmin, 30, organiser of the contest and founder of interest group KendamaSG, attributes the sport's growing exposure in Singapore to the festival.

He says: "Before the festival, kendama contests were underground and held at random places. The festival helped push it into the mainstream and give enthusiasts a bigger platform to compete on."

The contest will be held on June 18 and 19 at Far East Plaza. About 100 people have signed up since registration opened on Wednesday.

Other youth agree that the festival has allowed them to pursue their interests on a more public platform. Ms Cassandra Koh's street-art piece is one of 16 on show as part of the festival's Street Art showcase at Bugis Junction. The free exhibition runs till June 30.

A recent graduate of Lasalle College of the Arts, the 23-year-old jumped at the chance when she saw an open call by festival youth leader and street artist TraseOne on Facebook.

She says: "There are not many opportunities for street art in Singapore. This is my biggest artwork displayed in public so far."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'More buzz at this year's street fest'. Print Edition | Subscribe