What was possibly the largest gathering of home- grown bands to date got off to a slow start at the old Hougang bus interchange last Saturday.
Industry insiders and audience members put down the lacklustre attendance at the 100 Bands Festival to a combination of a lesser-known line-up on opening weekend, an unfamiliar venue and the unforgivingly hot weather.
The free event, which lasts for six days over three weekends, is part of PAssionArts Festival 2014, an annual event organised by the People's Association to bring the arts to the community.
The line-up of bands was curated by The RSC, a group which organised gigs at the recently defunct Home Club. In Each Hand A Cutlass and The Analog Girl were among the more than 30 acts which played on opening weekend.
The festival kicked off at 12.30pm last Saturday and by 6pm, had an audience of about 50. Founder of The RSC Razi Razak, 32, estimates that about 500 people attended the festival last Saturday evening from 7.30 to 10pm.
He says: "The line-up was quite scattered, in the sense that most of the bands were fairly new. I think next weekend will be the highlight."
He expects more than 2,000 people next weekend, when better-known groups such as Astreal, Monster Cat and experimental rock band sub:shaman will be performing. sub:shaman will also be premiering their new film Outsider.
Mr Pin-Ji Tang, 29, a freelance writer who attended the event last Saturday, says: "It might be a good idea to alternate some of the more well-known bands with lesser-known ones. That way, people who come for one act may stay a while."
Visual effects artist Shermaine Toh, 25, was also among the crowd. She says that the idea of 100 bands "will attract music lovers and it sounds like something huge", but blamed the mediocre turnout on the venue.
She says: "It's not very well-known, not like *Scape or Esplanade. Not many people know about a bus interchange in Kovan." The interchange is now known as Kovan Hub.
Student Isabelle Chan, 19, also noted that the attendance was "not stellar", a fact that she attributed to the weather affecting the outdoor performance area, which did not have a shelter.
"It's too hot and too humid," she says.
But freelance make-up artist Aries Tan, 24, was impressed by the quality of the musicians.
"I really like the line-up and, in particular, the songwriters are good. I enjoyed the original songs today," she says.
The Kovan resident, who lives a 10- minute walk away from the old bus interchange, also likes the venue.
"Even *Scape would be hot in the afternoon," she says. "Here, at least we have trees and wind."