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Local indie act TypeWriter has "been living life and crafting our next release", says frontman Yee Chang Kang (centre), and the group is on Saturday's line-up at this year's 100 Bands festival.

Music plays on despite hitches

This year's 100 Bands festival hit several roadblocks but the show must go on, says its organiser.
Sep 30, 2016 5:50 AM

SINGAPORE'S biggest music festival is back for its third edition but this year's 100 Bands almost didn't happen.

The event - which features 100 home-grown acts both new and old, and is held over three consecutive weekends - hit various snags including two changes of location and the cancellation of its opening day because of bad weather.

But the show has gone on despite the challenges and the festival goes into its homerun stretch this weekend with a stellar line-up from Friday to Sunday. It includes veteran indie band Plainsunset playing one of their final gigs, and all-star guitar-pop group TypeWriter performing their first show of the year, ahead of their upcoming new record.

Instrumental post-rock acts Amateur Takes Control has even reformed for the occasion, while I Am David Sparkle will bring the curtains down on this year's 100 Bands festival.

Curated and organised by Rockstar Collective, in collaboration with Aljunied Arts and PassionArts, the event is also part of a larger project Plus - an initiative by the People's Association and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth - to bring arts closer to the public.

Hence it is held in a different location every year. The inaugural edition in 2014 was held at the old Hougang Bus Interchange; while 2015's was at Bedok Reservoir. This year's is at an open field opposite Paya Lebar Airbase.

While Razi Razak, founder of Rockstar Collective, admits the venue might be a little more far flung than the previous two, there is a silver lining behind it.

"We've managed to feature some (noisier) bands, which we would not have pulled off if we did it near residential areas like in 2014 and 2015," says the 35-year-old. "This year, at least we know we won't be getting complaints from the residents."

He adds: "100 Bands is (also) more than just about the music - it's a community project and we want to be able to bring local music everywhere to different spaces and see how the community reacts to it."

One thing Razi has also noticed this year is that newer bands are giving the veteran acts a run for their money - a sign the quality of local music has become higher. "Technique-wise, they're becoming tighter," he observes.

Similarly, the team he has been working with behind the scenes has also been fast to adapt to the numerous problems they have been encountering. "They've learnt very fast and it's heartening to see such a young group gel together in such a short time," Razi quips. "(Like the music acts), we're all learning from each other and that's what makes 100 Bands truly a community platform."

So much so, he says this weekend's finale is set to be a bittersweet one, given the "emotional rollercoaster" everybody has gone through putting together this year's festival: "We're really hoping with the strong line-up curated, we'll be able to pack out the venue one last time."

  • 100 Bands will run from Sept 30 to Oct 2 at the open field opposite Paya Lebar Airbase on Tampines Road (Google map coordinates are: 1.377207. 103.9134). For full line-up and playing times, check its Facebook page @100bandsfestival.