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Keeping rock 'n' roll alive
WELCOME to our very own Woodstock. It may last for one day instead of three, and the space may not be enough to cater to 400,000 people, and there probably won't be any party favours to speak of. But much like the historic festival, TinHill Rockfest aims to deliver a free musical extravaganza that caters to young and old alike.
Chairman of TinHill Rockfest Eugene Yang dreamed up the idea of holding an open-air rock festival several months ago while planning the Bukit Timah Community Club's (BTCC) contribution to the PAssionArts Festival 2015.
He says: "Last year, we had a singing festival, where residents were invited to a karaoke-type event where we sang along to popular hits in all four national languages. I wanted to do something different this year, something that would reach out to a younger crowd that said 'Hey, this isn't your father's or grandfather's club. It's also yours'."
Celebrating both Singapore's 50th birthday and the 60th year of Bukit Timah as a full-fledged constituency is no small matter. Elected as chairman of the Community Arts and Culture Club (CACC) within the BTCC last September, Mr Yang's focus was to find activities that would appeal to a more diverse audience.
Mr Yang, a senior banker with a leading international bank, says: "I became aware of the many indie rock groups in Singapore that have sprouted up in the past years. Singapore went through a golden era once before in the '60s, with groups like The Quest and The Thunderbirds, but they seem to have disappeared over the years. I think we need to offer more opportunities for our local groups to expose their talents to a wider public."
Not one to sit back and wait for someone else to step up, he decided to set up such an opportunity himself. He found open fields located within the Bukit Timah constituency that were suitable for the purpose, and gained approval from the owner to stage the event there. He also selected nine bands to play 45-minute sets, with inputs from his committee.
The artists performing at Rockfest are Inch Chua, Charlie Lim and TAJ, among others, and as Mr Yang laughingly points out: "They're not nobodies. These are local indie acts that we felt were the best fit for our festival. They have a wide following, and what some of these guys are doing today is quite mindblowing."
The other acts on the festival bill are A N E C H O I S, Caracal, Havana Social Club, Plainsunset, Pleasantry, and Silhouette.
Looking back on the local groups who achieved success in his youth, Mr Yang says: "Back then, things were very simplistic, but bands nowadays have so much more to offer. The simple chords and arrangements are no more, now you can see a huge incorporation of elements and influences from outside, and in a way, it points to the progression of our whole society. It's almost a reflection of how far Singapore has come as a country."
TinHill Rockfest will be held on Aug 29 at the Merlion Sports City@Bukit Timah from 3 pm until midnight. Admission is free.