Singapore’s largest outdoor music concert battles the weather29 November, 2011 by Chad
Thousands braved the strong rains and made their way down to the Marina Promenade last Saturday for what was perhaps the largest outdoor concert in Singapore this year, Sundown Festival 2011. Despite the rain, approximately 10,000 turned up (3,000 more than expected) with many arriving hours in advance.
The heavy downpour this afternoon came as little surprise, what with the recent weather. Visitors came decked out in ponchos, while others readied their umbrellas as the storm clouds continued to loam above. The impressive queue stretched across the entire F1 track but lines moved surprisingly quickly. Such that we found ourselves inside in just a matter of moments after the gates opened.
A security check at the entrance hinted towards what would become perhaps my only qualm this afternoon. There’s an increasingly prevalent trend among such events to confiscate any water bottles upon entry. The security were really nice about it though and apologized for having to follow orders, likely from the sponsors Pepsi and 7-Up.
Again, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem though if they actually sold plain water inside. However, the only drinks available inside were either alcoholic or sugared. Probably not the best options to stay hydrated during high energy concerts. If the Pepsi company had sponsored the event with the intention of promoting their image, they have obviously failed.
Rain aside, the Marina Promenade made for an excellent concert venue reminiscent of the Odaiba Gashuukoku concerts held each year. Even with the throngs of people gathered here today, moving around was not a problem with the ample space.
A string of tents selling merchandise and snacks were lined up at the back along the coast, while the stage was positioned up front. You could see it from just about any part of the venue though and the stage was high enough that you needn’t worry about getting a clear view.
Concert goods and merchandise were generally sold at affordable prices. For example, ViViD fans were able to grab autographed posters of the group at just $20 a piece. The only other tent, sold Show Luo goods such as a collaborative Manhattan Portage bags by Stage Hyaline of World. The other artists were unrepresented though, marking a missed profit opportunity.
In line with the performing artists, Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean themed street snacks were represented by different tents here. There was also one selling Doner Kebabs.
As advertised, the stores resisted the urge to mark up their prices as typical of other festival, instead opting to sell their snacks at normal affordable prices.
The Taiwanese and Korean ones sold meat snacks that were especially well received among the locals, drawing huge crowds. Share Tea were also here serving up some bubble tea and instantly became the drink of choice for most. Unsurprisingly, the Doner Kebab and Japanese stand that sold taiyaki and edame did not fare as well.
We arrived early, with ample time to spare and decided to grab some snacks ourselves. I wouldn’t recommend the strawberry tea from Share Tea. It resembled neither tea nor strawberry and instead tasted like the diluted, yet terribly sweet fruit punch that comes with catered food.
In a stroke of good luck, the skies cleared up just in time for the concerts later that evening which was great, since many were starting to get tired between the rain and sugar crash. With the change of weather lifting up everyone’s spirits, the concert opened up with ViViD, a visual-kei group from Japan with many anime links. They were dressed surprisingly un-visual-like though, perhaps toned down for today’s audience.
This was broken up by an appearance by Zhang Yun Jing. Appropriately, it was the Mandopop stars that met the most fanfare from the local visitors this evening. But this didn’t mean that the other two acts weren’t appreciated.
Fans for all artists turned up and many supported the interesting mix of artists too. Those in the VIP pit brandished glowsticks and boards with the performers names decorated on it. It would had been nice if the MCs were in more than just Mandarin though.
The evening continued with performances by relatively new K-pop group Teen Top as well as Hebe and Show Luo, who were undeniably the main stars of the show. Their appearances got even the older audiences excited.
Overall, Sundown Festival 2011 was a tiring but interesting experience that deserves major props for being able to function even with the weather. With each Sundown Festival absorbing new Asian influences, we look forward to seeing what next year’s event brings.