Festival fever hits Singapore

Festival fever hits Singapore
Samba and breakdancers were part of the line-up of performances at the street festival at Ann Siang Hill and Club Street on Saturday night.

SINGAPORE - Looking for something to do? Take your pick from 10 festivals that are taking place around the island till Sept 21.

From buskers to storytelling, beer to art and design, there is something for everyone in what has become Singapore's festival season, which straddles National Day and the Formula One races next month. Nest month, in all, 15 festivals were slated - the biggest number so far for this stretch - and five have wrapped up.

Festival organisers choose the August to September period to capitalise on the cooler weather and post-National Day buzz, while others plan their events to coincide with the school holidays and pack in the crowds.

Ms Christie Chua, the Singapore Night Festival's creative director, says its audience looks forward to the event every August.

"We see ourselves as the wrap-up party to our nation's birthday. August is also a good period to hold an open-air festival as the weather is nice and cool."

Started in 2008, the Singapore Night Festival has been held over the last two weekends in August for the past four years. It is the largest event of the crop, drawing half a million people last year - the same number it expects to achieve when the festival closes tomorrow.

It offers a spread of live dance, music and theatre performances, pyrotechnics and light installations, in addition to museum open houses in the Bras Basah/Bugis district.

Despite the slew of festivals in the same period, organisers have seen steady, if not record, attendance this year.

The biennial Singapore Garden Festival, held at Gardens by the Bay for the first time, saw 300,000 visitors when it was held from Aug 16 to 24, the biggest turnout of its five editions.

A Design Film Festival, which will screen 12 design-focused films at Shaw Theatres Lido from Sept 5 to 14, has already sold 90 per cent of its tickets. Now in its fifth year, it expects to draw 6,000 people, 33 per cent more than the 4,500 who attended last year.

Far from suffering from festival fatigue, many Singaporeans are seizing the chance to festival-hop as the events cater to different interests.

For example, the biennial Singapore Garden Festival, the NTUC Income Kite Festival Singapore and Singapore Night Festival are popular with families, with activities for all ages.

Arts aficionados, meanwhile, head to events such as Yellowren Arts Festival and the Singapore International Festival of Arts.

Ms Shermeen Tan, 29, an art director and graphic designer, says creative types are spoilt for choice this month as half of the festivals are geared towards the arts.

She attended the Japanese Association's Summer Festival held at the Japanese Primary School in Changi last Saturday, before heading to the Singapore Night Festival, where she stayed until midnight.

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