More music festivals to choose from

Music festivals are trying to differentiate themselves by adding new experiences for concertgoers

Music lovers, it is time to break out your glow sticks because there are four festivals happening from this weekend till end-January.

There are two this week alone - festival stalwart ZoukOut returns to Siloso Beach in Sentosa tonight and tomorrow; and newcomer Bliss-Out 2015, which combines yoga with live music, makes its debut tomorrow at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay.

The party mood continues into the new year with the Aliwal Urban Art Festival on Jan 16 and the indie St. Jerome's Laneway Festival on Jan 30.

These festivals are coming hot on the heels of other large-scale music events, such as last month's inaugural alternative music festival Neon Lights and last week's *Scape The Invasion, a one-day festival featuring 20 Singapore artists.

Earlier in the year, Singapore also hosted The Esplanade's annual Baybeats Festival, which champions Singapore and regional acts; the Asian music-focused Skechers Sundown Festival; and electronic dance music festival Road To Ultra Singapore, the Singapore debut of the popular Miami-based Ultra festival.

With so many music festivals packing the calendar these days, organisers here have to differentiate themselves by offering more unusual experiences.

At Bliss-Out 2015, attendees can practise their downward dogs and chaturangas during two yoga sessions in the day before enjoying evening performances by two music acts, Kiwi indie-electronic quartet The Naked And Famous and local singer-songwriter Inch Chua.

Festival organiser HiVelocity Events, a sports marketing and event management firm, created the two-in-one festival in response to the growing appeal of yoga here and a demand for sporting events that integrate elements of entertainment.

Mr Adrian Mok, the company's managing director, says: "The mix of yoga and music is a new way to allow people to kill two birds with one stone."

The event charges $110 for both the yoga sessions and concert, and $90 for just the concert.

Also offering something different is the one-day Aliwal Urban Art Festival, which integrates music and urban art.

The event, which takes place at the Aliwal Arts Centre in Kampong Glam, recognises non-mainstream urban art forms and culture including skateboarding and punk culture. Admission is free.

The music line-up for the third instalment next year will feature bands with punk influences such as ska-punk veterans Cesspit; and the festival programme includes zine- making workshops, where participants learn how to make do-it-yourself publications, a practice related to the punk movement in the 1970s.

Festival organisers The Straits Times spoke to acknowledge that there are many players in the scene.

Says Ms Sofie Chandra, Zouk's head of marketing and events: "The Singapore market is very small, and with so many festivals popping up, we are aware of the risk of festival fatigue."

In the face of growing competition, even regulars such as ZoukOut, one of the biggest outdoor dance festivals in the region, regularly inject new elements to keep themselves fresh.

This year, the 15-year-old ZoukOut is introducing Kaleidoscope Arena, a dedicated stage for home- grown acts, in collaboration with radio station Lush 99.5FM.

Singapore acts performing include rapper Shigga Shay and DJ collective Attagirl!. This is on top of its two regular stages, the Moon and Star stages.

Like in previous years, there will be stilt-walkers and confetti bursts, and fireworks on the second day.

Another heavyweight in the scene, Laneway, which hails from Australia, features its biggest line-up to date for its sixth edition next year.

The impressive array of 22 acts - which includes top acts such as British rockers The 1975 and Scottish indie/synthpop trio Chvrches - will perform on three stages at The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay.

Laneway's co-founder Danny Rogers says he is not worried about its future here.

"I think, if you are great at what you do, then you deserve a place on the calendar."

He also hints that there will be a "few big surprises", including a collaboration that will be announced soon. Tickets are priced at $180.

Judging by the attendance numbers, it appears that the appetite for these festivals has grown over the years.

ZoukOut attracted 50,000 partygoers last year, up from 9,000 in 2001 when it started.

Laneway sold all 13,000 tickets last year, a far cry from the 3,000 in its first edition, and Aliwal Urban Art Festival drew 5,200 attendees in its second outing earlier this year, up from 3,500 last year.

HiVelocity Events declined to reveal ticket sales for Bliss-Out.

ZoukOut regular Jarrold Tham, 34, likes the relaxed atmosphere at the popular beach festival.

"It's exciting because of the different genres of music at the different stages," says the brand manager, who has attended ZoukOut for the past eight years.

Media planner Jacinda Lim, 25, does not typically go for outdoor music festivals, but she will be at Bliss-Out. She and her yogi friends are attracted to the festival's unconventional concept of marrying music and yoga.

She says: "It will be a nice alternative as my friends and I usually hang out after yoga class anyway. This time, we get to catch a concert too."

ZoukOut 2015: Seize The Moment


    WHEN: Tonight, 8pm to 5am, and tomorrow, 8pm to 8am

    WHERE: Siloso Beach Sentosa

    ADMISSION: $188 for tonight,$198 for tomorrow, available from 6pm at the entrance


A fixture on the nightlife calendar, ZoukOut returns for the 15th year with standout acts in the electronic dance music scene such as Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and Axwell and Ingrosso.

The annual dance event, organised by nightspot Zouk, attracts fans from Singapore as well as from the region, who descend in droves on Sentosa to party from dusk till dawn. There are more than 40 featured acts this year.

In addition to its main stages, the Moon and Star stages, ZoukOut will feature a new stage dedicated to local acts tomorrow, dubbed the Kaleidoscope Arena.

A collaboration with radio station Lush 99.5FM, this stage features home-grown acts such as DJs Jean Reiki and Darren Dubwise, and rapper TheLionCityBoy.

Building and supporting the Singapore community is "a core pillar" for ZoukOut, says Ms Sofie Chandra, Zouk's head of marketing and events.

Besides the music acts, the festival this year includes video mapping installations, art installations, Gifster booths which lets people take Gifs with their friends, stilt- walkers and ZoukOut's signature fireworks on the second day.

Organisers expect a crowd of 50,000 at the beach party over its two-day run.

Nabilah Said

Bliss-Out 2015

  • BLISS-OUT 2015

    WHERE: The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay

    WHEN: Tomorrow, 5pm till late

    ADMISSION: $90 for the concert only, and $110 for yoga and concert


Before Kiwi indie electronic group The Naked And Famous (right) and Singapore singer-songwriter Inch Chua hit the stage at Bliss-Out 2015, festivalgoers will be getting a workout.

Not your run-of-the-mill music festival, the event begins with two yoga sessions before the sun sets, after which the spotlight is turned on the two music acts.

The first yoga session is open to anyone including beginners and will be led by the owners of yoga studio Space & Light Yoga, Lynn Yeo and Sumei Shum.

It will take participants through a series of basic poses, accompanied by ambient electronica beats spun by home-grown DJ Amanda Ling.

The second session of tantra vinyasa, a more advanced and dynamic form of yoga, will be conducted by internationally renowned yoga teacher Sianna Sherman and caters more to yogis with intermediate experience level.

Yoga participants should bring their own mats or they will have to purchase one at $20 at the event.

For those who are not into yoga, they can go later from 7pm and purchase a cheaper ticket to catch the concert. Fans can expect The Naked And Famous - who were picked because their sound fits the chilled vibe of the festival - to play favourites such as Young Blood and Punching In A Dream. The quartet were last here in 2012 as part of another music festival.

Chua will sing folktronica tracks off her recently released EP, Letters To Ubin, which was conceived in the pastoral setting of Pulau Ubin.

There are food-and-beverage tents selling popsicles, churros, beer and green acai bowls. Festival- goers can also chill out at an area where hammocks are set up.

Gurveen Kaur

Aliwal Urban Art Festival '16


    When: Jan 16, 5pm till late

    Where: Aliwal Arts Centre, 28 Aliwal Street

    Admission: Free

    Info: ArtsCentre BOOKIT/

Held in the colourful Kampong Glam precinct, the festival's third edition is one for the cool kids. It shines the spotlight on urban arts and culture, going beyond the mainstream perception of it being related only to hip-hop culture.

For example, the festival looks at aspects of punk culture this year, with the inclusion of bands with punk influences, Cesspit and Take Two, in its music line-up.

Zine-making workshops, an activity linked to the punk subculture, will also be offered.

The festival, part of the annual Singapore Art Week, is mounting its first commissioned exhibition - the skateboard-themed Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered, which addresses the misconceptions of skateboarding as a symbol of teenage rebellion.

It showcases 2-D and 3-D works with the skateboard as a medium, and features 16 artists from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Those who want more action can catch a skate competition which will be held in the Aliwal Street carpark.

The one-day festival showcases the talents of Aliwal Arts Centre residents too - with performances by percussion group NADI Singapura and The A Cappella Society, and live graffiti demonstrations by urban art collective RSCLS, for example.

Nabilah Said

St. Jerome's Laneway Festival Singapore 2016


    WHERE: The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay

    WHEN: Jan 30, from 10am

    ADMISSION: $180 a person

    INFO: singapore.lanewayfestival. com

Singapore's biggest indie music festival returns next month for its sixth edition and will feature its biggest line-up to date.

There will be 22 music acts spread across three stages at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay, and they include top acts such as British rockers The 1975, Scottish indie/synthpop trio Chvrches, American dream pop duo Beach House and British electronic music act East India Youth.

There will be three home-grown acts: indie rock quartet Cashew Chemists (left), electronic-indie band Riot !n Magenta and electronic act Intriguant.

The festival's rapid growth here does not mean that organisers will rest on their laurels.

Co-founder Danny Rogers, says: "We're always trying to improve."

He adds that the team is looking into better shade options, improved sound at the Cloud Stage, the smallest of the three, and ways to make the movement between the stages smoother.

It was reported that during one performance at this year's event, a massive crowd had spilled beyond the Cloud Stage's much smaller confines.

Festivalgoers will also have more food options including Filipino, Korean, Japanese and Italian.

Gurveen Kaur


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2015, with the headline 'Music fests with a twist'. Print Edition | Subscribe