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Gentle Bones played to a big evening crowd on Saturday at the main stage at Fort Green.
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Los Angeles-based Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna serenaded Sunday's audience.

No raining on Neon Lights' parade

Dec 2, 2016 5:50 AM

THANK goodness for Cyber Monday - sales of footwear in Singapore must have spiked given how many pairs were unceremoniously destroyed over the weekend at Neon Lights 2016 by the adverse weather conditions.

The second edition of the homegrown music and arts festival - held last Saturday and Sunday at Fort Canning - turned into a gigantic mud fest, thanks to the torrential rain on the first day.

But the downpour and slushy ground did little to dampen the spirits of the 15,000 punters who were determined to party anyway.

Even when the rain was at its most relentless on Saturday afternoon during old school rap group The Sugarhill Gang's set, a good crowd braved it and were happy to soak up the atmosphere while grooving to the band's classic hip hop tunes like Rapper's Delight and Apache (Jump On It).

The weather was thankfully considerably kinder (and drier) the next day when funk godfather George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic played about 24 hours later to a bigger audience who only had to contend with an extremely muddy field to catch the legend in action.

Given how influential both Clinton and The Sugarhill Gang are - not to mention their repertoire of party tunes - a later time slot in the evening would have been more appropriate (and respectful).

It must have been a scheduling nightmare for the festival's programmer, considering this year's line-up was packed with so many headline-worthy names.

The struggle became real when dance music fans had to pick between 2ManyDJs at Fort Green or Crystal Castles at Fort Gate on Saturday night because both their sets clashed at the same time between the two main music stages. But thankfully, that was more of an exception than the norm. The diverse bill meant that those who caught post-rockers 65 Days of Static at Fort Gate on Sunday night probably weren't too bothered about missing neo-soul act Blood Orange which was playing concurrently over at Fort Green.

So no matter what genre of music you are into, there was something for everyone. And when things got too loud, the various art stages and cabaret-style shows would lend some reprieve to the punters' eardrums.

Even better was the family-friendly environment - young parents with their kids in tow is not an everyday sight at a festival - and the all-round good vibes that could be felt.

Even though attendance numbers this year have grown significantly, the site never once felt over-crowded - queues at the F&B stalls were manageable even at meal times and it was possible to find a good spot even when headliners Foals and Sigur Ros were playing to capacity crowds on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

These reasons are what make the festival and the Neon Lights experience a unique one, and no amount of rain can spoil that.