Indie music festivals that celebrate local and regional bands used to be few and far between here in Singapore when Mosaic Music Festival and Baybeats first began. But as of late, many more have been sprouting up – on our radar are Sundown Festival, 100 Bands Festival, Ignite! Music Festival, Music Matters Live, and UpToTheSky Festival!
Could this be a reflection of our increasing appetites for and maturity in appreciation of Indie music, particularly local and regional ones?
The folks behind UpToTheSky Festival, Figure8 Agency, would certainly hope this to be true as they strive to provide a platform for regional artists and to help promote and develop the Indie music scene here in Singapore at the same time.
But, the spotlights aren’t on the bands but on Figure8 Agency in this feature interview – we go behind the scenes with Marie Berst, the production director, to find out what it’s like to be a music promoter here in Singapore, what shapes and defines who they are amidst many other promoters here, and their thoughts on our growing appetite for Indie music.
Is there a certain type of sound or genre of bands you choose to bring in to Singapore?
We are mainly focused on indie music and indie music from Southeast Asia. We always bring bands that we love and think they have the potential to fit in Singapore’s vibe and harvest new fans. We are very keen to organise concerts and festivals like UpToTheSky bringing together more and less famous bands, without giving a “headliner” vs. “opening act” feel.
I think the two main challenges in Singapore are the lack of venues of average size that allow a fair ticket price, and the audience’s curiosity that is still not easily tickled!
Because music is life! It’s the best way-out and there’s something for each of us, no matter what we like. The growth of an indie music scene is taking more time in Asia, possibly because culture doesn’t come first in today’s global economy. But now that the region is wealthier, people can use time (and money) for music, arts, theatre, and elevate themselves through culture. Supply and demand, simple equation.
We clearly believe in Southeast Asia’s potential, and work towards its bands’ recognition, in the region and internationally. The two founders of Figure8 Agency come from France where the local music scene is very important and cherished. If it’s possible in Europe, let’s do it in Asia (or give it a try)!
Thank you! We working on slight different formats now, to enhance collaborations between the musicians and to open more opportunities for them in terms of career development. But who knows, we’d love to have UTTS #2 sometime soon…
Get tickets to Deerhoof (USA) and The Trees And the Wild (ID) here, a gig brought to you by Figure8 Agency.