Another year, another festival. Yet this year’s Urbanscapes will be memorable for several reasons (could someone pass the calamine lotion?)
2013 saw the most ambitious Urbanscapes to date, with the new venue MAEPS providing grassy hills and plenty of space between the stages – avoiding the sound bleed from last year’s festival. The Upfront stage’s striking geometric structure (created by ALLTHATISSOLID) also signalled a new sense of scale. Goodbye to flimsy plastic pavilions!
In terms of music, the cancellation of Two Door Cinema Club undoubtedly left some festival-goers subdued. But the headliners, Tegan and Sara and Franz Ferdinand, played to ecstatic crowds – the latter turning the field into a giant dance off.
This year, alternative entertainment came into its own. Comedy and cabaret acts packed out the small Next Stage tent, leaving some unable to squeeze in. As for food, there was more of it than ever – with the notable exception of a burger vendor. Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything.
We asked the PopFolio team – and other familiar festival faces – to tell us their highlights.
Ling Low, Poskod.MY
We stumbled on Black Voices as we were buying ice cream, and their vocal harmonies were amazing. It was a nice change to see an a capella group at a music festival. I loved their closing number, a cover of Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”, which they followed up with a brief rendition of “Rasa Sayang”.
Fikri Fadzil, The Wknd
One of my favourite moments was when we got to interview Franz Ferdinand. They’re a nice and friendly bunch – I expected them to be jetlagged and thought they probably had a rockstar attitude.
Zoé Ng, Tongue in Chic
Since Two Door Cinema Club was cancelled, my next favourite thing at Urbanscapes would have been the crowd. Everyone was so friendly and knew how to chill out or have fun without being too rowdy. It was also great to people watch because so many of them took effort to dress up!
Yasmin Lane, #BetterCities
My highlight was the sunset on Saturday; enjoying the amazing skyline with good friends. Even though it was so hot, the sunset and evening made up for it completely. Last Dinosaurs were a cool act as well, didn’t know of them until this weekend and we had a good dance to their songs.
My Urbanscapes highlight would be Pitahati’s set on Sunday evening. Playing to barely half the crowd that saw Efterklang before them, and having to put up with the delay because the Danish band’s slightly extended set, Pitahati played their fucking hearts out. Excellent.
Kuah Jenhan, Comedian
I remember was that there was a pentagon-shaped structure in the middle of the field with tiny doors. I’d look at it not knowing what it is. After sunset, it would light up with projection-lights which confused me more. I then stoop to enter the door and once inside, there were people dancing repetitively. The place was smokey, hot, occasionally noisy, bright, dark, and uncomfortable. Having said that, the Flatland installation was a beautiful experience for me.
OJ Law, Musician
I loved the light installation by Nacho Ruiz. “Ooh, pretty lights! Ooh, you can touch them without burning yourself/dying! Quick, get the phone out and take a photo! Hahahahaha!” That was pretty much the reaction of everyone at the festival.
Shefah Szetu, BFM89.9
As many of us have learned, nature is not for wimps, and while this year’s event may go down in memory as Itchyscapes, I gotta say that I loved the setting, the undulating hills and the sunset beyond (good bomoh at work! ) and of course the people. Urbanscapes started as a grassroots community event and even as it grows in size and ambition, seeing familiar faces outside of the daily bump and grind of city life makes it worthwhile and memorable.
Kubhaer Jethwani, Fierce Curry House
My favourite thing about Urbanscapes was seeing how many local brands in terms of vendors, food or otherwise, were present at the festival. From the technical support team down to fellow vendors, the semangat of helping each other and sharing food and cross-promotion and just overall good-will was a lovely thing to experience. Also the weather! The gorgeous sunsets, the unused and pristine rubber boots that we bought… So nice not to come home muddy. Just tired, sweaty, and happy.
Looking for a more mainstream review of Urbanscapes? Click here.
Photos by The Spacemen.