Monday, January 07, 2008

Beats on the beach

Beats on the beach

Singapore's all-night dance festival draws clubbers from around the world with first-rate acts

Published on December 17, 2007

ZoukOut 2007 - Singapore's seventh dust-to-dawn dance festival on Sentosa's Siloso Beach last Saturday - was the most successful yet with 23,000 revellers turning out to party the night away. Sadly, it will probably be the last at this venue, as a water park is planned for the area and construction is slated to start next year.

"If too much of the beach is utilised for the new initiatives that Sentosa has planned for Siloso, including the wave park, then it will be impossible for us to hold an event of ZoukOut's scale there again. We are looking at alternative venues both here and possibly around the region," says Tracy Phillips, Zouk's marketing manager.

"Sentosa has enjoyed a great partnership with Zouk over the years. We would like to see this annual iconic dance party make a comeback on our shores, and are exploring options," adds Suzanne Ho, senior manager of communications for Sentosa Leisure Group.

The festival, which ran from 8pm to 8am, drew 3,000 more partygoers than last year, with clubbers coming from Indonesia, Malaysia, Dubai and Thailand as well as from America and Europe.

The dance floor was spread out over 5,200 square metres of sandy beach served by four stages - Main Arena, Velvet Underground, Mambo Jambo/Hip-Hop Arena, and Live Stage - offering a variety of genres including house, techno, trance, electro, progressive, indie, and hip hop.

Local DJ Tony Tay kicked off the evening with a strong electro-house set on the main stage but it wasn't until German duo Ame took over the decks with their deep house that the crowds really started to chill.

DJs Jeremy Boon and Brendon P opened the night at Velvet Underground before handing over to electro-punk band Does It Offend You, Yeah? DJ Steve Aoki (Kid Millionaire) was the highlight at this stage with a party set that had clubbers going wild. Velvet Underground closed out a supersonic set by James Murphy and Pat Mahoney (DFA Records & LCD Soundsystem).

On the hip-hop/ Mambo Jambo stage, Zouk resident DJs scratched, sliced and diced their way through hits from the '70s, '80s and '90s.

Over on the Live Stage, local and regional bands including I Am David Sparkle, The Fab IQ of David Gunn, Electrico, Deserters and Great Sky Experiment drew the crowds with their striking live performances. Local outfit Caracal, who opened for Funeral For A Friend, proved particularly popular.

Fortunately, the rain that had affected Singapore since morning stopped before the festival kicked off but the hot and humid weather, along with the stirring music and drinks, soon had the guys stripping off their T-shirts and the babes in their bikinis. To our astonishment, one foreigner was in the nude, playing on the 50-metre-high inflatable waterslide.

Other partygoers headed off to enjoy the carnival rides, palmistry and foot massage, as well as tucking into the array of delicious foods.

At midnight, the ZoukOut helicopter hovered over the party, finally ejecting a parachutist who landed safely on the beach. All four stages drew more crowds, and over at the main stage German electro house duo Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier - aka Booka Shade - pumped the audience with synth pop and deep house.

At 2.30am, the festival's headliner Carl Cox arrived on stage with his explosive techno beats, bringing loud screams from the crowd. Armin van Buuren rounded off the night with trance from 5am.

The dance party came to an end on Sunday at 8am with several bodies fast asleep on the sand surrounded by piles of garbage. ZoukOut was over for another year.

Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul

The Nation

The writer would like to thank Thai Air Asia for facilitating his trip, Zouk Club for ZoukOut tickets and the Singapore Tourism Board for its help.

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