Review: ZoukOut 2018 is a one-note affair despite high energy from Timmy Trumpet

Australian DJ Timmy Trumpet performing during his set at ZoukOut 2018.
Australian DJ Timmy Trumpet performing during his set at ZoukOut 2018.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - With his live trumpet solos and improvisations over dance music, Australian DJ and instrumentalist Timmy Trumpet brought high energy and variety to an otherwise one-note ZoukOut.

Whether he was dancing on stage, or throwing an inflatable trumpet into the crowd as pillars of pyrotechnic flames shot up around him, Trumpet, whose real name is Timothy Smith, was able to keep his 75-minute set refreshingly entertaining.

He also stood out among a slew of electronic dance music (EDM) acts who all seemed to play the same songs and employ the same tactics to get the crowd hyped.

Now in its 18th year, ZoukOut, the annual dusk till dawn dance music festival was a scaled down one-day affair, having been a two-day festival from 2012 until last year. It ran as a one-day festival from 2006 to 2011.

Another change this year was the removal of the smaller Star stage, which in previous years played host to more niche acts, from genres such as techno and hip hop.

Instead, there was only one main stage, which was in the shape of an eye - a nod to Zouk's logo.

Despite having a handful of acts who were making their Singapore debut, such as Belgian DJ-producer duo DVLM, or Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, as well as Swedish duo Galantis, there was little diversity or excitement in the line up that featured mainly big room, EDM acts.

This year also saw the return of American DJ-producer KSHMR, Dutch duo W&W and Dutchman and former Dash Berlin front man, Jefferey Sutorious.

The one-day format and removal of the Star stage did not sit well with some attendees, like full time national serviceman, Mr Darrence Chia.

"You were more exposed to different genres and different artists and styles with the smaller stage," says the 23-year-old who started coming for ZoukOut five years ago, and has been four times since.

He adds: "While the line up this year is decent, it's pretty standard, whereas as a two-day festival you have more options to choose from because you have more artists."

According to organiser Zouk, 20,000 party goers attended the festival this year. Last year, 40,000 attended over two days.

But some like dance music festival regular Mr Muhammad Izham Mohd Yusif, did not mind having all the acts packed into one day.

This was the 27-year-old Malaysian engineer's first time at ZoukOut, though he has frequented festivals in Taiwan, Korea and even ZoukOut competitor festival Djakarta Warehouse Project (DWP) which is holding it's 10th anniversary in Bali, Indonesia next weekend. DWP is held over three days.

"DWP, which I've been to three times, is good because it's longer and there are many stages to visit, and so many DJs, that you have trouble choosing where to go," says Mr Izham, who was at ZoukOut to see W&W and KSHMR.

"I like that ZoukOut is on the beach and it's near the sea...and here I can chill between sets."

He adds: "In Malaysia there's no festival like this because of problems with local authorities, so coming here is easier... I will definitely come back next year".