As the sun came down onto the Friday night, the sight of the young clad in their trendy bikinis, tank tops and neon flashing accessories overthrew the usually tourist packed island of fun and adventure seemed reminiscent of every great beach party I have been to.
The island soon morphed into the hottest party spot in the region with the partygoers from all over our island nation and beyond flocked to the Hawaiian sands of Siloso beach to have themselves a full blown festival experience.
The introduction of a globally renowned festival brand like Ultra taking our little island by storm, the local nightlife scene seeing a hike in the number of venues bringing in big names, I imagine it to be quite the challenge amongst those brought up by Zouk’s big move to Clarke Quay for a brand that has such strong roots in the local nightlife culture across generations is up to in this game of staying relevant and setting the trend as the one the ‘influencers’ of our islands nightlife industry.
The place was lit. No, it really was in every sense of the expression. The Neon Tropical aesthetics were IN YOUR FACE as you enter the arena and it easy to understand why so. The themed installations quickly found their spot on every millennial’s Instagram feed or Snapchat story. It set the right tone for the first impression with its feel-good colors and large fruit font. The structure set up by DBS Live Fresh was absolutely in line with the whole theme and the artwork plastered onto the structure could not have complimented the vibe better. Crowds of pre-game chugging party goers were managed well and it almost did not seem like I was stepping into a sea of what was to be 40,000 party-goers. Certainly, no issues around; leaving me in a great mood to enjoy the festival.
Now here is what got me going. The lineup. They kept it diverse and more importantly, they did it well! There was an artist with a presence strong enough to get people across multiple electronic genres to go “oh, I have to go see them”. With DJ REHAB and Axwell & Ingrosso resonating in the hearts of all classic commercial EDM fans, Marshmellow and FLUME for the feel-good crowd, Yellow Claw for the Trap fanatics, a whole stage with heavyweight names dedicated to the tech house/ techno oriented individuals not to mention the 88Rising crew with Higher Brothers and Rich Chigga engaging the droves of lyric-knowing fans with such ease. The lineup was nothing short of perfect in my books. The energy filled EDM sets, the trap blaring and the Techno banging on till the early hours of the morning was just the escape I needed.
The centerpiece to the whole show the Moon Stage stood tall and bright. The (yet to be deciphered by many) Dragon/Lion stage was awe striking to say the least. A proper spectacle of the most Singaporean kind. Here was the ZoukOut stage facing 40,000 fans over 2 nights hosting some of the big names in the global electronic scene and it ‘repped’ the lion city in all its glory. With state of the art pyrotechnics, gas cannons and a beach lagoon loaded with fireworks by its side it cold not have been a better match. The green lasers shooting out of the creatures eyes were totally reminiscent of the Merlion that has been towering over Sentosa since way before my first ever visit to the island over a decade ago. As much as I appreciated the stage and the vibe I got from it, it is easy to understand where all the flak towards it is coming from. It can come across a little overwhelming and was not totally in line with the Neon Tropical theme that was going well for them and consequently looked ‘tacky” in the eyes of many of the design inclined (aka, almost everyone with an insta account these days) partygoers. The Claws I felt were a little too much as it took away from the background real-estate that would usually be reserved for visuals synced to the music. Artists who pair visuals with their set do so as it makes a completely different festival experience. The two small circular screens were intended for that very purpose but failed to achieve. That being said, it only left a good impression on me having paid homage to our oldest local icon in the coolest way I have ever seen.
Here’s a view of the stage before the party began ;)
So that’s all, folks. This was my experience at this year’s ZoukOut! How was your party experience? Tell us in the comments below.
– Review by Malav Desai