Bright futures ahead for Neon Lights Festival

The inaugural music and arts festival went off without a hitch.

Nurfaizah Faizuwan

Published: 30 November 2015, 5:27 PM

For an inaugural festival that encompasses both music and the arts, Neon Lights Festival did not, surprisingly, disappoint. Perhaps the two-day festival’s secret to success lies in its diversity and variety, setting it apart from the usual music festivals in Singapore.

Located at Fort Canning Green, we were not prepared to climb a hundred steps towards the venue under the hot, sweltering afternoon sun. However, the short hike was worth it.

Music fans were spoilt for choices with one-hour sets that covered multiple genres like disco, electronic dance music, hip-hop and alternative rock. Literary arts fans were not forgotten too, as there were plenty of spoken word performances throughout the two days, with the Singapore Poetry Slam Finals on Sunday night.

On the sidelines, we were entertained with visual spectacles at the Free Style Dance Showcase as well as live graffiti demonstrations by various street artists such as Sheep and ZERO.

Here are three aspects from the Neon Lights Festival that scored highly in our books.


The legendary Nile Rodgers ended his performance on the first day of the festival on a high.


1. Strong line-up of musical acts

The festival’s show stealers would definitely be American band CHIC and Nile Rodgers, the brainchild of top hits like Madonna’s iconic ‘Like A Virgin’ and popular 70s hit ‘Dance Dance Dance’. The band had the entire audience grooving at their feet, dancing and singing the night away with their soulful yet funky hits on Saturday night.

Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, who poured his heart and soul into his performance, came in second place for us. Despite the dark nature of his music, his set was the total opposite.

He got the crowd to sing along to ‘Volcano’, and invited two lucky members of the audience to join him on stage for ‘Cheers Darlin”, where they shared a bottle of wine (or two).


Damien Rice stole the show with his endearing and interactive performance.


English folk indie band Daughter and Australian electronic producer duo Flight Facilities, two of the highly anticipated acts from the festival, also put up lively performances. The two bands had the crowd lapping it up with their respective folk-indie and electronic sounds.


English folk band Daughter’s front woman Elena Tonra serenading the crowd.


2. Captivating art performances

While the musical arts were, undeniably, the main attractions at Neon Lights Festival, we thought that the performance arts deserved some recognition too.

Personally, we found the various art events oddly entertaining. For instance, ‘The League of Sideshow Superstars’ presented a unique performance that left us in awe. Hailing from Australia, their wild circus-like acts, such as sword-swallowing and cigar box trapping, were mind-blowing and amusing.

They were definitely not for the squirmish.


Contortionist Samora Squid played the mandolin with his legs above his head.


3. Bustling festival vibes

The overall atmosphere was laid-back yet lively, perfect for anyone looking to chill and enjoy good music and company. Most were dressed in the typical musical festival attire – think short shorts, kimonos and baggy oversized shirts.

We did not have to roam across the festival grounds with empty stomachs too. Located at both stages, the food selection was pretty decent. We munched on juicy, meaty burgers from The Lab SG in between acts, and soothed our parched throats with refreshing popsicles from momolato.

That said, we are definitely looking forward to the next Neon Lights Festival, as this year’s was such an all-rounded visual delight!

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