Monday, August 31, 2015

A Rockin' Good Time at Baybeats Music Festival 2015

Another year means another edition of the annual Baybeats Music Festival 2015, a signature Esplanade Theatres event. Featuring local and regional rock bands, visitors all over Singapore and the region, especially the youth, come down to enjoy this wonderful music festival. You may recall my visits in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and in this article, I'll be sharing with you my 4th visit and experience of the Baybeats Music Festival 2015.

What is Baybeats Music Festival 2015?

Basically, the Baybeats Music Festival 2015 is an annual music festival organised by the Esplanade Theatres featuring local and regional rock bands. Over the years, the music festival has not only increased the number of bands and musicians performing, it also has included other genres as well like Folk, Pop and R&B.

I have been visiting the Baybeats Music Festival every year since 2012 without fail and this year is no exception. Although the venues for the performances are pretty much unchanged and the lineup of music constantly changes every year, there seems to be some minor changes here and there which I will write more later on. Anyway, here's my experience of the 2015 edition.

First Performance: Knightingale at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (AKA Arena)

As I arrived slightly late due to school ending late, I watched the last two sets by a local band called Knightingale. According to the official Baybeats website, Knightingale is a three-piece garage rock band that aims to recreate the garage pop bands of the 1960s where they record, produce and distribute their songs through live shows and such.

The band aims to play raw rock songs and that's exactly what they performed during the whole performance. It got the audience rocking their heads and tapping their foot to their catchy tunes. I enjoyed the performances despite watching them perform only two songs. One interesting to note was that the vocalist (who goes by the name of Ashwin Rao) wore a dress throughout the whole performance.

Second Performance: Cadence at the Powerhouse

After watching the amazing Knightingale, it was time for me to head to the biggest Baybeats concert venue, the Powerhouse to catch Cadence, a Singaporean alternative rock band. They performed throughout the beautiful sunset as they started from 7pm with the slightly empty audience area and the sky still bright until 7.30pm where the venue became full with energy from the audience and the sky turning dark.

Cadence's performance was really remarkable. They performed various rock songs, some of them slower songs and they were all written by the band themselves. There were even some people wearing the official Cadence T-shirts supporting them as well.

It definitely was inspiring to hear their story of how they got to where they are with the help of Esplanade's Baybeats Budding Band programme and they thanked their mentor which was present at the concert as well. Anything is possible if you put it in the effort as shown by the band.

Third Performance: Fwends at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (AKA Arena)

It was time for me to head back to the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre. It's a good thing I came just in time to watch Fwends perform. Fwends is a band that came all the way from Thailand and initially they started off as Cloud Behind and they had a new single which they also performed during their performance called Fade Away.

Fwends definitely had a great time performing at the concert and with their fun energy, it even spread throughout the audience as well in which they were nodding and bobbing their heads to the beat of the songs they performed. Their performance was definitely top notch and it was fun watching them perform. Let's support our regional talents as much as our local talents as well!

Fourth Performance: Anise at the Esplanade Concourse (AKA Chillout Stage)

After Fwends, it was time for me to catch Anise at the Esplanade Concourse. Anise is a Singaporean girl who, according to the official Baybeats website, has been described as someone who is ethereal and delicate. It is also said that her compositions are "unadulterated" and "simple in structure" but "emotionally complex" according to the website as well.

She was accompanied by her friend who provided her with some additional background music. Her songs were a mix of catchy, melodious and soulful and they have some emotion as well. One of the songs performed and written by her was inspired by last year's controversial event where the Singapore's National Library Board had to pulp some books as they were not deemed "pro-family".

It was indeed a great performance and unlike the performances that were held at the other venues, the environment was more quiet here which definitely adds to her already soulful music.

The Last Performances: Take Two and Matajiwa

The final performances that I watched that night were Take Two at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (AKA Arena) and Matajiwa at the Powerhouse. Take Two is a local band which performs mainly indie rock pop and has performed at various music festivals in Southeast Asia.

Though I did not stay long to watch their performances, the audience that came for their performance was definitely more than the previous performances at the Arena that I have watched. Their music was excellent and great for youngsters (in which the performers were youngsters as well).

Matajiwa on the other hand, is another regional band that came all the way from the wonderful country of Indonesia. The band is made of two Indonesian friends and they specialise in writing music that fuses blues, rock music and their Indonesian roots.

The result? An excellent showcase of music that brings out the best of rock music and blues with a touch of Indonesia. It's great that they really love their country and show pride in their roots through their music which got everybody rocking. It's too bad that I didn't catch the whole thing as I had to leave early.

The Festival Village

At every Baybeats that I have attended, there's always the Festival Village with booths set up by the various performers and musicians that were about to perform during the music festival. However, this year's edition does not seem to have a Festival Village. In fact, there were only two small booths available. One was a booth set up by the Baybeats' official sponsor while the other was the official Baybeats merchandise booth selling merchandise from various performers and musicians.

This is a slightly interesting move by the organisers. Perhaps its to save costs or maybe because there is Mixtape, an exhibition that highlights Baybeats' history throughout the years that occupies the space.

The Mixtape

As I pointed out in the previous paragraph, there was the presence of Mixtape, an exhibition that chronicles the history of the Baybeats Music Festival. It was located beside the Powerhouse and consists of a small tentage with information boards, a stage and some TV screens about the artists and performances from previous editions of the festival.

Some performances were held here as well though I didn't catch any performances when I was there. Mxstape is a great initiative by the organisers to remind concert-goers on how the festival was created and how much of an impact it has contributed to the local and regional independent music scene. Some performers have became a regional and international success thanks to Baybeats.


Overall, my visit to Baybeats 2015 was definitely awesome. The music festival may have  slightly downsized (no Festival Village and only one sponsor compared to more than one last year and the previous years).

However, the sheer amount of people who came to rock out with great music and the wonderful performances by the talented local and regional and international musicians have definitely increased. I can't believe this is the fourth Baybeats Music Festival I have attended and I definitely will continue to check out subsequent Baybeats performances. Support our local (and regional) talents!

More Information

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