ZoukOut draws biggest turn-out in 14-year history, delivers top-notch production

Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. DJ Steve Angello takes the stage. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. DJ Steve Angello takes the stage. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. Dancers perform as DJ Steve Angello takes the stage. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. Dancers perform as DJ Steve Angello takes the stage. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. DJ Skrillex takes the stage. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Second day of ZoukOut 2014, at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. DJ Skrillex takes the stage. -- PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
The crowd on Friday night at ZoukOut, with confetti blasts and paper streamers and pyrotechics that added to the top-notch production of the event. -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT
The crowd on Friday night at ZoukOut, with confetti blasts and paper streamers and pyrotechics that added to the top-notch production of the event. -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Crowd enjoying the music. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Crowd enjoying the music. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
-- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Dutch DJ Nicky Romero crowd surfs on an inflatable raft on Friday night at ZoukOut. -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT
Dutch DJ Nicky Romero crowd surfs on an inflatable raft on Friday night at ZoukOut. -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT

Annual outdoor ravefest ZoukOut ended on Sunday morning with a big bang.

The two-day event at Sentosa's Siloso Beach attracted 50,000 festival-goers, the largest turn-out in ZoukOut's 14-year history.

As beach party-goers danced on to the bombastic beats and hard-hitting anthems of Grammy award-winning DJ Skrillex, 120 giant green balloons, filled with Heineken shirts, were released into the crowd - souvenirs for those who had stayed on till the first light of the morning.

This year's edition was its best one yet, delivering a top-notch production with showstopping pyrotechnics, visuals, and confetti blasts to keep the energy high at both stages.

On the moon stage with his entire entourage behind him, Skrillex was in his element with a set that was a genre-defying mix of old school hip-hop, EDM, house, techno, dubstep, reggae and movie soundtrack samples. And over at the star stage, Russian tech-house wunderkind Nina Kraviz took the crowd to dawn's break with hypnotic grooves.

And, in Zouk's tradition of getting a local DJ to do the closing sets, DJs Formative and Hong brought the two-day festival to an end at 8am on Sunday.

Zoukettes young and old showed up for the annual event, considered one of the biggest and most prominent dance music festivals in the region.

This year boasted a stellar line-up, with Dutch DJs Nicky Romero, Showtek and Martin Garrix, English trance trio Above & Beyond, Canadian DJ Richie Hawtin and British deep house DJ Maya Jane Coles among those who gave memorable performances.

On the festival grounds, dancers wearing LED-lit outfits, colourful stilt-walkers and aerial acrobatics added buzz to the performances by the DJs.

Those who got to stick around to the end of the first night, which ended at 5am, would have caught the crazed antics of American electro-house DJ Steve Aoki, who got fellow DJ Romero crowd-surfing on top of an inflatable raft.

Dance music lovers and party-goers could not stop raving about the experience.

"The arrangement for ZoukOut this year is so fantastic, Above & Beyond offers a bit of ambient trance, followed by Nicky Romero to push people into the night, then Steve Aoki to bring it to the end. He's more funky and brings the party to a height before it ends," says Mr Jack Tan, 33, a DJ at 1-Altitude who was partying at ZoukOut on Friday night.

"It was very dynamic, the flow of the whole thing was great. It was better than I expected. Awesome DJ-ing," added Mr Wyatt Ang, 34, a senior marketing executive.

ZoukOut also gave bigger play to local and regional mix-meisters this time around, with DJs such as Zouk's Ghetto and Jeremy Boon, and DJs Mr. Has and Debbie Chia warming up festival-goers early in the evening on Friday and Saturday.

Chia, 33, says the opportunity to spin at ZoukOut this year gives "local DJs a voice, especially at such an international event".

She played a selection of techno, electro, dub and house, and says: "I foresee more and more festivals coming to Singapore, and I hope the organisers remember the locals too, not just the international guests. Zouk is leading by example."

Veteran Zouk resident DJ Jeremy Boon, 45, who gave a revival of 1990s house music with a modern twist in his set on Saturday night, says: "I got the honour to play before the first international DJ at the Star stage this year. The best thing about this year is that you have people coming really early, and I got a good turn-out for my set."

First-timers to ZoukOut gave the event the thumbs up, and say they would return for the next instalment.

Miss Michelle Lee, 22, a final-year student at Singapore Management University says: "We're just here to experience (a dance music festival). I came here because of my friends...but I've been to other dance music festivals and this one's better."

Mr Edwin Aw, 26, an executive in commodity trading, says: "I think it's not bad, the music is good and so is the atmosphere. It's not as sleazy as I thought it would be. I love EDM and I love Martin Garrix so that's why I'm down. I'll probably come back next year."

- Additional reporting by Venessa Lee

melk@sph.com.sg