Monday 22 August 2016

Singapore Night Festival 2016: Crowds throng streets as night festival dazzles with technology

Organisers hope to match last year's 600,000-strong record attendance
By Danson Cheong, The Sunday Times, 21 Aug 2016

Thousands of revellers took to the streets yesterday evening for the first weekend of the Singapore Night Festival.

Many sang and danced as Peranakan theatre group Main (pronounced mah-inn) Wayang sang golden oldies like Bengawan Solo, Rasa Sayang and Singapura, Sunny Island.

Among those strutting their stuff on Armenian Street - which was closed to traffic - was 60-year-old engineer Michael Hogan.

"These oldies, you don't have to be old to appreciate them," he said.

Many festival goers were regulars at the annual arts event, which is now in its ninth year.

This year's festival began on Friday and several thousands more are expected to attend the final two nights this Friday and Saturday.

Last year's festival drew a record crowd of 600,000 and organisers are hoping to draw a similar number this year.

Organised by the National Museum of Singapore, the festival will feature 86 programmes - mostly free - held in various locations throughout the Bras Basah-Bugis precinct.

Yesterday, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng toured the festival, beginning at the National Museum before travelling in a convoy of motorcycles led by Harley-Davidson choppers to Armenian Street.

He later walked back to the museum and the nearby festival village.

This year's theme is Inventions And Innovation, and many of the programmes had elements of technology.

On the facade of the National Museum, LED "stick men" danced up and down the face of the building as part of a light installation called Keyframes by French art collective Groupe Laps.

"It's really interesting, you can see how art can be expressed with technology," said retiree Patricia Lum, 67, who was there to take photographs.

In some areas in front of the museum, crowds were packed shoulder to shoulder.

Accountant Toh Meei Ting, 35, said: "Every year the festival is different.

"It's really rare to have all these overseas performers here, we must come and see this."

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