Photo credit: Rauff

Neon Lights 2016 left us entertained all through the weekend

Here's what won our hearts at Singapore's biggest arts and music festival.

Azra Rauff (

Published: 28 November 2016, 4:19 PM

In all honesty, I was not one bit excited about going to a music festival where I was not a fan of most of the acts.

Surprisingly, Neon Lights 2016 left me rather impressed.

Despite the heavy downpour and the painful thought of ruining our shoes in the mud twice (we almost slipped in the mud, by the way), the annual arts and music festival went off without a hitch over the weekend.

From exciting international acts, jaw-dropping art installations, and surprise giveaways like an Oppo R9s, Fort Canning was jam-packed during the two-day festival and left fans with lots to rave about.

Here are four things that we caught our attention at Neon Lights 2016.

1. The local indie music scene is HUGE

I’m no indie fan. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw a ginormous crowd at the festival.

I was expecting a community centre-sized crowd but it was more of a One Direction-sized crowd…or possibly even bigger.


Huge crowds of indie fans filled up fort canning over the weekend.
Photo credit: Rauff


I thought indie was supposed to be low key…But hey, it’s 2016 and anything is possible, right?

However, acts like Foals and Blood Orange caught my eyes with their captivating and groovy performances. I think it’s safe to say that I’m slowly warming up to this genre.


The lead singer of Neon Indian, Alan Palomo.
Photo credit: Soe Hein Htet


2. The region’s got talent

We’re all well aware of the growing local music scene. Prominent names like Gentle Bones, Cashew Chemist, and Disco Hue were part of the festival line-up, and they easily wowed the crowd with their charismatic vocal abilities.

I mean, who said Singaporeans can’t sing? #supportlocal

One Asian act that stood out from the pack was Malaysian singer-songwriter, Yuna.


Yuna left her fans with bright smiles on their faces.
Photo credit: Soe Hein Htet


Better known for her duet with Usher titled ‘Crush’, the dreamy indie-pop singer stole the show with her popular hits like ‘Lullabies’ and ‘Mannequin’.

She even interacted with the crowd in Malay, asking if everyone had already had their dinner and sharing her plans to come back in the near future.

3. There’s hidden talent

Besides musical acts, Neon Lights also provided a wide variety of alternative forms of entertainment for festival goers. Some of which included poetry, drag queens, and cabaret performances.

One act that really stood out to me was AlterCation! With Becca d’Bus.


A blue drag queen – I bet you’ve never seen that one before!
Photo credit: Soe Hein Htet


Before Neon Lights 2016, I didn’t know there was a drag queen scene in Singapore. And it being my first live drag show, I was taken out of this world by the hilarious and lively antics of popular local drag queen, Becca d’Bus. It was so fun and refreshing, I felt like I added five years to my life.

Drag shows aside, I also managed to catch poetry recitals from Shak and Marc Nair, who tickled the audience members’ funny bones with poems that poked fun at Kenny G and China. One of my favourite lines included: “Even your grandma is made in China.” #noshade

4. Art is truly…something.

I’m not an artsy person either, and I don’t think I’ll ever be. Art is just too abstract for me to appreciate or even understand.

I once heard someone say: “Every artist is partially crazy.”

I think I finally know why.

There was an installation that featured a rainbow background filled with black lipstick stains made by local artist Ezzam Rahman. Need I say more?


I could not understand this installation, as much as I tried to.
Photo credit: Rauff


All in all, my Neon Lights experience was exhilarating, eye-opening, and definitely very muddy.

Would I go again next year? Yes, of course!

Head over to our Facebook page for more photos from Neon Lights 2016.

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