The regulars to The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens knew what to do, coming as early as 4pm with their mats, picnic spreads and adult beverages - some with dogs in tow - to stake out a good spot to enjoy the music.
To help the audience at the Singapore Botanic Gardens' Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage get comfortable, free picnic mats, fans and balloons were distributed by the organiser, The Straits Times. Bottles of Ice Mountain sparkling water sponsored by Fraser & Neave were also given out.
Free popcorn and candy floss helped sweeten the day even more.
People kicked back and relaxed, the chatter and heat subsiding, when the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) - led by associate conductor Joshua Tan - took the stage at 6pm with a crowd-pleasing mix of classics and family favourites.
To a packed lawn of more than 12,000 people, the SSO played for an hour, performing pieces such as Rossini's Overture To The Barber Of Seville, Shostakovich's The Golden Age, and Sketches Of Singapore, written by local composer Kelly Tang.
It rounded out the concert with local favourite Home by veteran Singapore singer-songwriter Dick Lee.
ST editor Warren Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, said: ''We had a great turnout today, lovely cool weather and a lively, interesting selection of music from our Singapore Symphony.
''It was good to see so many people enjoying themselves and having a memorable evening out in our Botanic Gardens. We're already starting to look forward to next year, when ST turns 175.''
For some, this yearly concert is a fixture on their calendars.
Among them was IT consultant Ronny Tan, who showed up at the event an hour early.
The 47-year-old wanted to get a good spot to spend the evening with his family.
''We enjoyed listening to the selection of music, especially in such an informal setting,'' he said.
Then there were others who had come for the first time, like student Tina Lim, 20, who was with her family, including her 72-year-old grandmother.
''It was quite a unique experience,'' said Ms Lim, noting it was the family's first time attending an outdoor concert together.
Engineer Dave Chua, 39, said the rendition of National Day song Home was particularly moving.
''It was a nice way for us spend the evening, with great music and even better company,'' he added.
The ST Concert in the Gardens is part of Singapore Press Holdings' Gift of Music series. The event this year marks SPH's 35th anniversary and ST's 174th birthday.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2019, with the headline Music, goodies, great turnout at ST Concert in the Gardens. Subscribe