S.E. Asia's dance music central

S.E. Asia's dance music central
Illumi Nation, one of Asia's biggest glow-in-the-dark parties, was help for the first time in Singapore at Sentosa recently.

Two weeks ago, 6,500 party revellers were doused in neon paint as they grooved to the high-energy electronic dance music anthems of French house DJ Martin Solveig and Swedish house duo Dada Life.

They were partying the night away at Illumi Nation, one of Asia's biggest glow- in-the-dark parties that was held for the first time in Singapore at Sentosa's Siloso Beach.

The event is among several new dance music festivals to have emerged in the past few months, catering to growing demand from music fans here and around the region.

Singapore is shaping up to be the dance music capital of South-east Asia: It is the choice stopover for the world's top DJs; home to one of the top 10 clubs in the world, Zouk, whose annual outdoor festival ZoukOut is among the best of its kind in the region; and it hosts dance music festivals with clout, attracting crowds by the thousands.

In December, the Republic will also host one of the biggest dance music conferences in the world - the International Music Summit.

Presented by respected British musical tastemaker Pete Tong, the event will see about 30 international DJs and music label heads, agents and other industry players participate in talks, conduct workshops and give keynote interviews.

It is usually held in dance music capitals Ibiza, off the coast of Spain, and Los Angeles.

The summit's co-founder Ben Turner tells Life! Singapore is "the gateway to electronic music" in Asia and was picked over Hong Kong and Tokyo as the venue.

"Singapore was one of the first places in this part of the world to have a 'superclub' in Zouk. With its location plus Zouk's expansion into a festival, it has ensured it remains very much at the centre of the genre's development in this region."

He adds that DJs "have become accepted musicians in this region the same way they are around the world", seen in the increased number of DJs "coming out of the region... to the amount of brands based in Singapore wanting to work with the genre of dance music".

Solveig, among the world's top 100 DJs since 2007, also called Singapore "the centre of electronic music in Asia" in a recent interview with Life!.

Tomorrow, electronic music and audio-visual festival Freq'ender makes its debut with a line-up of top-notch dance music acts including British indie-electro group Hot Chip, Belgian alt-electronica group 2manydjs and Dutch tech trance and progressive house DJ Marco V.

The two-day event held at the studios at 21 Media Circle costs $850,000 to stage. All 700 VIP tickets at $198 each are sold out, with general admission tickets from $68 selling steadily.

The 18,000 sq ft venue has a capacity of about 3,000.

Next month, a Royal Caribbean cruise liner will host about 3,800 partygoers for five days, setting sail from Singapore to the Malaysian island of Langkawi and back. Called It's The Ship, it will be the first music festival on board a cruise ship with more than 30 international and regional headlining acts.

Mr Jason Kong, head of public relations for Livescape Group, the organiser of It's The Ship, says: "The festival scene in South-east Asia has boomed over the past two to three years. Fans want new and different experiences in this region and are willing to travel and pay good money for a good experience."

About 70 per cent of tickets for It's The Ship have been sold, with many ticket-buyers coming from Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and Europe.

Ms Sofie Chandra, Zouk's head of marketing and events, says the booming dance music and entertainment scene here "leaves consumers spoilt for choice and helps Singapore establish itself further as a destination spot for tourists".

She adds that this year's annual outdoor dusk-till-dawn ravefest ZoukOut, which is in its 14th year, is seeing a great response. Early- bird tickets to the festival, which will feature top DJs Martin Garrix, W&W, Above And Beyond and Skrillex, are sold out.

"This year's ticket sales have been at least 50 per cent more than last year's," says Ms Chandra.

Ms Rimka Sandhu, a DJ and luxury fashion and nightlife writer based in Kuala Lumpur, has partied in Singapore many times before and is travelling here for It's The Ship.

The 24-year-old, who has also been to international dance music festivals such as Tomorrowland in Belgium and Techno Parade in Paris, considers Singapore a hip clubbing destination in South-east Asia. "Singapore always brings great international acts to its shores and the events are flawlessly executed."

The vibrant party circuit here is also why Japanese-American Jaja Ishibashi, 40, moved from Los Angeles to Singapore about a year ago.

Mr Ishibashi first got a taste of the festival scene here in 2012 at ZoukOut, which he describes as "a life-changing experience" that was one of the pull factors in his move here.

The deputy general manager in sales and marketing for an automotive company says: "The local club scene is the best here in Asia and ZoukOut is just crazy.

"One of the factors that makes it great is that it's safe here, there are no worries about crime or shady people, like in America."



What: A two-day audio-visual indoor festival which makes its debut this Halloween weekend. The line-up has something for everyone - from techno and trance to electro and high-energy electronic dance music.

Inspired by carnival freakshows, the event will feature more than 20 entertainment acts including British indie-electro act Hot Chip, tech-trance and progressive house DJ Marco V and Dutch electronic dance music DJ-producer duo Glowinthedark. Local DJs, including Andrew Chow, Aldrin and Zushan, will also take to the decks to get the crowd pumped up.

Day Two of the festival will see the premiere of an audio-visual show, called Mekanika, by British clubbing institution Godskitchen. About 6,000 festivalgoers are expected over two days.

Where: 21 Media Circle (where Infinite Studios is), off Portsdown Road

When: Tomorrow and Saturday, from 8pm

Admission: $68 a day or $108 for a two-day pass from whatthefreq.com or eventclique.com. E-mail reservations@whatthefreq.com for table bookings


What: Iconic outdoor dance music festival ZoukOut boasts a stellar line-up of top DJs every time for the past 13 editions and this year is no exception.

More than 20 local and international dance music acts will perform at this dusk-to-dawn fest. Party till sunrise to the tunes of English trance trio Above And Beyond, Dutch DJ Nicky Romero and Greek-Swedish DJ Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia. American dubstep producer Skrillex and rising superstar Dutch DJ Martin Garrix will also be spinning at the event, which typically draws a crowd of 40,000 over two days.

Where: Sentosa Siloso Beach

When: Dec 12 and 13, from 8pm till late

Admission: VIP Venus Stand two-day passes at $388, two-day passes at $208. Advance single-day passes at $128 for Day 1 and $138 for Day 2. Standard single-day passes at $148 for Day 1 and $158 for Day 2 from ticketing.zoukclub.com or www.zoukout.com

It's The Ship

What: A five-day dance music festival set on a cruise liner, which will set sail from Singapore for the Malaysian island of Langkawi and back.

The event is the first of its kind in Asia and will have a line-up of more than 30 international and regional headlining acts, including British DJ-producer Alex Metric, Dutch trance wunderkind Dash Berlin, American rapper-DJ Lil Jon, British electronic dance music duo Basement Jaxx and Scottish electronic band Chvrches.

About 3,800 festivalgoers are expected to be on board the ship.

Where: The Royal Caribbean International's Voyager of the Seas sets sail from Marina Bay Cruise Centre

When: Nov 21, ship departs at 10pm

Admission: Only cabins priced between US$538 (S$684) and US$1,918 a person are available (go to www.itstheship.com).

An additional fee of US$198 a person will be charged to cover taxes, and port and ticket processing fees. The fees include main meals, selected non-alcoholic beverages and free usage of most of the ship's facilities.

This article was first published on October 30, 2014.
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