[Review] ZoukOut 2016 – My experience as a first timer

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When someone decides to go to Singapore at the start of December, it’s always recommended to attend the ZoukOut Festival at Siloso beach, Sentosa. Now what can you expect at ZoukOut if you’ve never been there before? Well from the perspective of a first timer who’s attended several music festivals across the globe, here’s what!

ZoukOut is not an ordinary music festival. What makes it stand apart is the dusk to dawn EDM party at the scintillating Siloso beach, Sentosa. With a brilliant lineup and multiple stages, the 16th edition of ZoukOut took place on Dec 8 & 9 2016 attracting a crowd of about 40,000 party goers over the two days! Early figures show Day 1 attracted a crowd of about 15,000 and day 2 housed a whooping 26,000 fans!

The issue of bands and entry to the venue was a smooth process. One thing that made the fans happy was the fact that they were distributing complimentary waterproof phone pouches (yep, it was a rainy evening). This ensured that everyone could enjoy the audiovisual bonanza without worrying about their phones. Also, lockers were being provided to attendees.

From a glass of vodka + Red Bull to a hot bowl of Tonkotsu King ramen, there were widespread food and beverage options available to help you refuel and keep you going through the long night.

This year the attendees were treated to 3 stages – the Moon Stage for the headline acts, Star Stage for the house acts & Kaleidoscope Stage, which marked it’s return this year, featuring some of the best local talent.

The Moon Stage had an exclusive design of iconic eye logo of Zouk. With this design they upped their stage game with a more design oriented stage rather than a traditional functionality oriented one. The eyelashes of the stage had unique design pointing towards the sky and allowed the DJs to give fans a better visual experience.

On the first day, Dillion Francis set the stage on fire when he played a mash up of ‘Pen Pineapple Apple Pen’ v/s ‘Purple Lamorghini’ and different versions of ‘Get Low’. He also, got the Indian fans in the house excited with the ‘PUnjabi MC beat’. The night also featured big names like GTA and Lost Frequencies before the stage was closed by none other than Hardwell. He made us feel like we were the ‘lucky ones’ when he dropped his popular track Apollo. He kept the crowd engaged and indeed it was a happy end to day 1.

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The Star Stage, which hosted popular house producers like Hot Since 82, Fritz Kalkbrenner, Tiga and many more was an eye candy. The 3 dimensional props and lasers along with the upbeat music kept the crowd wanting more.

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The Kaleidoscope Stage was only a part of the second day. But, it is a stage that you go to for some fresh music from the local underground DJs. It is the stage that greeted everyone, as it was the first thing you’d notice after entering.

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The day 2 lineup of the Moon Stage consisted of an interesting set of artists. Teenage Norwegian sensation, Alan Walker attracted a lot of crowd in spite of having an early set at 10:30 pm. He swept everyone off their feet with his popular tracks ‘Faded’, ‘Sing Me To Sleep’ & his latest track, ‘Alone’. A mild drizzle before KSHMR’s set had cooled down the whole festival area. Going into the night KSHMR’s energetic big room set had a unique persona to it and he had quite a lot of tricks to pull out of his sleeve.

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Then was a display of beautiful (true) colours by Zedd and a nostalgic ride with tracks like ‘Clarity’, ‘I Want You To Know’, ‘Stay The Night’ and many more. The highlight of Zedd’s set was the mind-boggling remix of Empire of the Sun’s ‘Alive’, which was clubbed well with lasers, lights, confetti showers and fireworks. This 90 minutes set saw fans singing along to most of the tracks.

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Finally came the most awaited act of the night with the world #1 DJ, Martin Garrix opening his set with a melodic piano tease of his all-time hit, ‘Animals’. The 20-year-old proved why he is the best DJ in the world right now as he managed to keep the tired crowd on their feet throughout. Just towards the end of the set, when the fans were running out of energy, he dropped a mash up of ‘Waiting For Love’ v/s ‘Tremor’. How can you possibly be dead when such tracks are playing? Zedd also joined him on stage for a few tracks initially, which is not surprising knowing the friendship that they share.

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Garrix ended his set about an hour before sunrise with ‘In The Name of Love’ to pave way for Zouk’s resident DJ Lincey as per ZoukOut’s traditions. The Star Stage was closed by RAC, who showed a brilliant display of French house & indie-dance. The Kaleidoscope stage had nothing scheduled at that time of the day. For a festival that lacked trance music, there was a surprise for trance fans when Rebel Decibel’s DJ, Huntersson played a surprise trance set at 6 in the morning at the Kaleidoscope Stage.

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To take away some souvenirs and memories from the night you could shop for tees, caps, LED bracelets and more at the ZoukOut merchandise booth. Also, to capture memories on your phone and to contact your squad, ZoukOut had set up a charging station to restore the juice on your mobile phones.

To sum up, ZoukOut was filled with twists and turns. One moment, you see colourful confetti, the next moment you’re treated with continuous fireworks. You don’t know what tracks to expect, artists take you by surprise when you hear some old tracks that you don’t expect to hear. And sometimes, you’re treated to unreleased music.

ZoukOut was a fun filled experience by the beach and the organizers’ efforts towards making the festival bigger & better than previous editions always keeps you wanting for more and returning every year!

P.S. It is recommended to wear flip-flops or go bare foot (You will thank us later!)

Ranjiv Asher
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Ranjiv Asher

A 22 year old lover of music, food, cars and sports. Believes that music will take you places and life's better when you're golfing.
Ranjiv Asher
Follow me!
A 22 year old lover of music, food, cars and sports. Believes that music will take you places and life's better when you're golfing.

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