From:Marcel Lee Pereira, posted on 23 May at 1:48 PM
23 May at 1:48 PM

Music Matters Asia: Timbre's Danny Loong on the future of music festivals in Singapore

What is the future of the music festival in Singapore?

ST Communities caught up with Danny Loong, chief creative director of Timbre Group, which operates live music venues and events here. Loong shared his vision of creating a "Woodstock-like" festival in Singapore during a panel discussion at this week's Music Matters conference.

"Woodstock was built from the ground-up," said Loong. "It was an ecosystem made up of an audience hungry for content and bands that made it happen."

Some music festivals find it hard to survive in Singapore, added Loong, because "their concepts are too similar". What makes a festival like Woodstock so iconic is its engagement with the community, he said. 

"You can't just bring international bands here to play and then leave. You need interaction. You need a creative atmosphere, where ideas are exchanged between local and international acts. They perform together, write songs together. They could even perform together at smaller shows over the year, which then builds up to a large Woodstock-like event."

"That builds interest year-long, gives it oxygen, because bands are working towards playing for it."

One way to achieve this, added Loong, is through partnerships not just locally, but also in the wider region. And Timbre has its sights set on neighbouring Australia.

In 2013, Timbre and West Australian Music (WAM) launched an exchange programme between bands from the two countries. Three local artists - Charlie Lim, Sezairi Sezali and The Sam Willows - performed at the prestigious WAM Festival in 2013, with three Australian acts also getting a chance to perform in Singapore.

It is a good first step, said Loong. "I have a lot of hope for collaboration between Singapore and Australia. We speak a common language and we're very close to each other."

The live music scene is saturated here, he admitted, "but it's a good problem". "The content needs to get better, everyone is competing for the best ideas. The best ideas will be sustained, and this in turn builds interest on the ground."

Loong added: "Let's not forget we are a very small country. We need to promote ourselves not just in Australia, but in Malaysia and Indonesia as well."

Music Matters is a three-day music conference happening from May 21-23. Stay tuned to ST Communities for highlights of the event.

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