Hey there all you fluorescent adolescents! Wanna get totally lit at Neon Lights for free? We’ve got several festival tickets up for grabs, brotendos. Check out how you can score some passes for yourselves at the bottom of this article.
So what exactly is Neon Lights?
It’s not just a mere indie music festival where girls with flower garlands on their heads float around taking Snapchats — it’s a festival that’s equally focused on both rad music and compelling art performances and installations. Oh, and it’s family friendly too.
When compared to its peers on the international circuit, Neon Lights is in the vein of Bestival, Glastonbury, Fusion or any other festivals that host things like theatre, comedy, cabaret, poetry, and other arts alongside live music. It’s only their second outing, but Neon Lights aren’t dicking around with the music lineup. We’ll get to that later.
Think of it as a fully-rounded, one-stop creative arts gala in the park for the coolest cats in town.
A park you say? Where exactly will this festival be?
Fort Canning Park! That’s right, the place where Laneway Festival Singapore used to be, and one that’s WAY more convenient to access, in our opinion. It’s right at the top of the hill and takes over Fort Canning Green, the Fort Gate, the Old Married Soldiers’ Quarters, and all the nooks and crannies in between. Basically, this festival’s huge — and you’re gonna be walking around the park a lot.
Sweet! How do I get there, though?
Like we said, it’s a pretty easy place to get to. Though you could get to Fort Canning Park from roads in the vicinity of Central Fire Station or Singapore Management University, we personally prefer getting there through the National Museum of Singapore.
Alight at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station and head out towards The Cathay. From there, skip on over to SMU and cut through the grounds to find the National Museum. Enter the museum and cool down for a bit in the air conditioning before taking the escalator (or lift) at the back that lets you walk straight into the front entrance of Neon Lights — hopefully without working up much of a sweat.
Or you know, just use Google Maps or a ridesharing service.
Got it. When is it again?
You gotta set aside a whole weekend if you want to experience Neon Lights Festival in full — it’s on Nov 26 and 27. If you can only make it just for one day though, you’ll need to choose between the Saturday and Sunday show, depending on which acts you most want to catch.
Er… do I have to break the bank to be a cool cat and attend the festival?
Nah, not really. Right now, ticket prices are still at Tier 2, so it’s not THAT pricey. It’s SGD230 for a two-day ticket and SGD135 if you just want to attend a day’s worth of Neon Lights (you might be missing out though!). If you can gather five other friends who’d like to go, you’ll be saving even more — the group deal gives you six two-day tickets for the price of five (SGD1150). Better get them soon before the price tiers go up to 3 and 4.
It’s even cheaper for kids under 12! It’s SGD140 for a two-day ticket and SGD125 for individual days.
Which bands should I catch? Also, could you conveniently narrow it down to a list of 10 along with a corresponding short description?
Arguably the best band you can experience on the planet, the Icelandic icons craft music thats the audio version of your dreams. They’ve been making atmospheric, hypnotic soundscapes since 1994, and haven’t stopped since then. Their staggeringly magical tunes translate even better on stage, accompanied by dazzling light shows, theatrical displays and — if we’re lucky — fireworks.
The indie rock outfit from Oxford, England, have evolved greatly since their math-rock-y origins, but one thing that’s stayed consistent is their relentless energy. The Foals of now have gone down the grandiose arena rock route, but their satisfying build-ups, angular guitar melodies and raucous vibes ensure they’re one of the biggest UK bands in the world right now. It helps that they’re still making extremely danceable tunes too.
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic
Here’s one for the old birds. As one of the indisputable forefathers of funk, George Clinton is an absolute legend — and a massive influence on modern hip-hop. Having masterminded prominent funk bands Parliament and Funkadelic in the ’70s (and combined them into supergroup Parliament-Funkadelic), you better believe he’s an R&B powerhouse — with over 40 hit singles and three platinum albums. So! Pay homage, boys and girls.
Surely you can’t miss out on Singapore’s fastest rising indie-music star of the year? Already having made her mark worldwide after getting featured on European electro-house tracks, the young singer-songwriter is making early waves of her own through excellent singles “Sticky Leaves” and “Alpine”. With her EP out, she’s proven that she can stand alongside the fellow autumnal, melancholic likes of Bon Iver and Violet Days.
Totally GOODGOODNOTBAD (hur hur), the Canadian jazz fusion outfit truly kill it on instruments. Yeah yeah, you’d think jazz is a total turn off, but nay! These young radicals are as much jazz fans as they are hip hop heads — meaning they’ve incorporated elements of hip hop into their innovative jazz tunes. Get your mind blown by their absolute technical wizardry; then loose it and dance.
A not to be missed live show by DJ duo Stephen and David Dewaele, pioneers of the electro ‘mash-up’ genre. As in, their set’s gonna please music fans of all preferences with the blending of classic tracks of every musical era into an unconventionally satisfying mix. What that ‘live’ tag means is that we’ll be treated to a proper 2manydjs experience with stunning visuals synced to the beats.
This instrumental band makes music so epic and cinematic that they were picked to score No Man’s Sky — a spacefaring video game where you can traverse 18 quintillion planets. Turned out that the game was pretty mediocre, but 65daysofstatic’s touches were anything but. The band will be playing tunes from their No Man’s Sky outing as well as other epic electronic-influenced post-rock soundscapes, so you know it’s gonna be a trip.
Neither an offshoot of Neon Lights, nor is he actually Indian (we think), Alan Palomo makes some pretty chill synthpop. So much summer vibin’ when Neon Indian plays live, ’cause it’s just full of synth-laden nostalgia, dreampop lullabies and hazy flow. Very, very hipster.
Lucy Rose is just an absolute darling of an indie-folk singer-songwriter. Fragile, emotive and earnest, Rose sings with such a delicate air that makes you want to wrap yourselves in blankets. Nothing compares to hearing her live though — don’t be surprised if everyone gets too awe-struck by her voice to move.
If you want a proper party and you don’t care if your clothes get ripped, Crystal Castles is what you need to catch. The electro-pop outfit has long been known to put up ferocious shows dense in glitchy, shrill melodies and bruising beats — and it helps that it’ll be a visually abrasive spectacle too. Digital chaos, is what they are.
The arts lineup looks pretty formidable too. Which ones are essential viewing?
Nah, we can’t possibly sort it out like that — art is subjective after all. Also, there’s over 150 artists in the lineup! Here are some that we personally would love to catch.
Bourgeois & Maurice
The neo-cabaret duo from London are bringing their acclaimed musical satire to Singapore for the first time ever, with improv dialogue hilarious takes on current affairs.
Designed by German computer scientist Max Pagel and artist Jonathan Hwang, this music-triggered LED wooden tree sculpture looks majestic and magical — and is totally interactive as well.
Holding The Fort
It’s a musical about Singapore’s underground punk community in a chaotic marriage of punk rock and theatre! ‘Nuff said really.
They’re Ireland’s top comedy hip-hop improv team — like a sort of rapping Flight of the Conchords (yes, yes, we know they did Hiphopopotamus). Blending audience interaction and improv, the duo lays down both laughs and sick rhymes that’s netted them multiple awards and appearances at major festivals in the UK.
If you’ve never seen the works of local visual artist Brandon Tay, this one’s a must watch. Partnering with Safuan Johari (AKA Syndicate DJ Max Lane), Radiance will be a large-scale audio-visual piece that’ll celebrate the architecture of the Fort Canning Arts Centre. Trippy projection-mapping awaits.
The Rocking Horse
The Rocking Horse brings together local literary figures such as queer writer Ng Yi-Sheng, comedy poet Kok Wei Liang, poetry slam champ Stephanie Dogfoot and more under one (air-conditioned) tent. Curated by veteran photographer and poet Marc Nair, you know it’ll be a cerebrally-soothing break from the rest of the festival.
A market that you don’t even need to spill cash for? Excellent! And way more interesting too. The Barter Market will have artists, illustrators, musicians, makers, designers, and many other creatives offering their wares and services in exchange for… anything worthy that you have on you.
Sounds good! That was pretty comprehensive.
Cheers, bruv. Coconuts Media is the official Digital Media Partner after all, so you’ll see us frolicking around the grounds too come Nov 26 and 27. See y’all there.
We’re giving away a bunch of tickets to Neon Lights 2016! Here’s how to enter:
1) Make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter. If you’re not already (shame on you!), please use the form below. You can sign up for any of our newsletters to enter.
2) Like the Coconuts Singapore city Facebook page
3) Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining exactly why you should win the tickets.
We’ll notify winners on November 21, 2016. Good luck!