Night Festival draws 500,000

Night Festival draws 500,000
Cyanea in the Festival Village is an interactive installation by Cumulus Collectif. It was inspired by Cyanea capillata, one of the largest jellyfish in the world. It features colour-changing lights and occasionally emanates smoke and sound

The Singapore Night Festival literally ended with a bang last Saturday, and the verdict is out: Although the rain was a dampener, it did not seem to drown the spirits of visitors who came in throngs.

Rain fell on the outdoor festival in the Bugis and Bras Basah areas last Friday night. Nonetheless, the festival, which was held over two weekends from Aug 22 to 30, drew a crowd of just more than half a million this year, slightly more than last year's visitorship of half a million.

While human traffic jams had been a problem in previous editions of the seven-year-old festival, executive Charmaine Chan, 43, was not worried about the crowds. She went on the last night with her two children - aged six and nine - as well as her husband and mother-in-law.

"Everything is spread out, so it's not too crowded. I was more worried about it raining," says Mrs Chan, adding that they had attended the previous weekend as well.

Despite the bigger crowd, this year's festival felt less congested because the acts were spread out across a wider area. New venues such as Cathay Green - in front of The Cathay along Bras Basah Road - and the Armenian Church, helped to spread the crowds out. Auxiliary police were also on hand to help facilitate pedestrians crossing in the vicinity.

"It is amazing to see Singaporeans young and old coming out to support the festival and truly calling it their own," says festival director Angelita Teo, 42.

On Friday night, it rained heavily from 8 to 9pm, forcing organisers to postpone performances such as American artist and inventor William Close's Earth Harp, which transformed the National Museum of Singapore into a larger-than-life harp, and Austrian collective Phoenix's aerial shows outside the National Museum of Singapore.

A music performance by home-grown pop band Lost Weekend at SMU Green was also delayed.

Some of the Night Lights installations, such as Divine Trees by Clement Briend - with projections of Buddha on the trees next to the National Museum - and Spirits Of Nature, which transformed the facade of the Singapore Art Museum into a canvas of cobblestones and creeping vines, were also stopped for the safety of festivalgoers.

When Life! visited after the rain subsided, it seemed that the crowds had re-emerged, with a healthy number gathering to watch first-time festival act Singapore Pro Wrestlers "fight" in Armenian Street.

At the Festival Village at Cathay Green and SMU Green, where the grounds were muddy post-rain, the festival acts drew smaller crowds. However, local musicians The Stoned Revivals were greeted with an enthusiastic crowd on both days last weekend.

Ms Wywy Yeo, 33, a public relations consultant, says: "I last saw them more than 10 years ago. They sounded as good now as they did then, so my visit paid off despite the mud."

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