One of the loveliest Chinese festivals, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore is about celebration with the family, lantern processions and oh-so-sweet mooncakes.
Luke Clark’s list of events to keep on your radar
I have lived here a long while, and I can attest that the one time I am often not very happy in Singapore is first thing in the morning.
The truth of the matter is that here on the Little Red Dot, we party like lions. It’s that combination of a busy workday, a city that’s easy to zip across town, and a climate at its most pleasant in the early evening. You can picture the scene: the sun softens, the breeze comes up, and the bass-line drops. Suddenly those best laid plans for an early night magically disappear.
What is it that keeps us all out, when our doctors and bank managers advise otherwise? Partly it’s the fact that Singapore always has a large supply of resident 20-somethings: and universally, your 20s mean an evergreen need to go out. And for rest of us? We just never grow up.
So whether it’s the nighttime party or the morning yoga festival, let’s have a quick dip into some of Singapore’s finest mid-size affairs, and why you should keep them on your travel radar.
Boats, beats and soulscapes
First up, we’ve heard really good things from EDM fans about the little nautical excursion that is It's The Ship. And we can understand why: combine some great DJs, the tropical ocean breeze, and a cruise ship full of partiers, and you tend to have a good time. Sign up for their newsletters, and don’t forget your sunblock.
Or if partying on land is still more your cup of tea, don’t miss the annual Ultra Singapore, Singapore’s biggest electronic dance music festival yet. With past line ups boasting EDM stars like Alesso, Kygo and deadmau5, this two-day outdoor event is sure to reel you in, lift you up high and plunge you deep into a colourful crowd of revellers enjoying the thumping, eye-popping show.
If you have partied here before, you will know that one of the nicer places to end up on Sunday afternoon after a big weekend is Tanjong Beach Club (TBC). But here’s an idea: have an early night, rise at dawn, and head over to TBC’s Soulscape Festival. A spirited and spiritual session of mass yoga will have you in perfect mood and condition for an afternoon of fun afterwards.
Then if you’re in town around June each year, join in Baybeats, Singapore’s celebration of local and regional live music, set in the outdoor amphitheatre of the Esplanade complex. Featuring a generous line-up of acts over three nights, and with the gorgeous night-time Marina Bay as its back-lighting, Baybeats is a fun mid-year party that’s much more than a well-kept secret for its many loyal fans.
Around the ‘hoods
Community spirit is quite the thing in Singapore these days, and there are some fun local celebrations that really do get that block-party vibe well stoked up. A fun recent incarnation was on Singapore’s favourite trendy F&B stretch at present, the Keong Saik Carnival (on Keong Saik Road). Framed by the stunning row of heritage shophouses and with the road closed to traffic, it was a lovely afternoon of music, food and lion dancing, and one we feel certain they’ll repeat.
If you can’t wait, there are several reliable spots for a carnival-style vibe on a regular basis. Check out this fantastic list, where in a sign of our growing acceptance of a more pleasantly ‘messy’ style of night out, Singapore regularly marks popular spots as car-free. The highlight? Undoubtedly to me, another Chinatown shophouse cluster, Club St and Ann Siang hill, which is a great Friday and Saturday night out for anyone new to town.
Also great fun is the Starving Artist Fair. Shop for a range of original comics and related artworks, merchandise and toys at this quarterly festival of independent comics, illustrations, and toys. There will also be talks and workshops if you are interested in comics, drawing and storytelling.
Achingly hipster to the humble pint
Fans of Millennial-style pop-up dinners should check out the fun being had by the crew over at ANDSOFORTH. With theatrical themes like ‘Dinner in Wonderland’ (“who the … is Alice??”) and ‘The Spy, The Thug, His Wife, Her Lover’, this is definitely for those into a bit of dress-up and a laugh. Which surely, is most people.
One thing you have to understand about Singaporeans is that we enjoy a good scare from time to time. Yes, sure, many of us believe in ghosts—and in fact, we spend significant chunks of our festive calendar honouring them. Perhaps somewhat perversely though, that doesn’t stop us also having a blood-soaked time celebrating all things scary and eerie around Halloween time. My advice? Get your zombie on, and shamble down to the next Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Singapore you can make it to. They quite party like the (un)dead so well that even Vincent Price himself would be proud.
Or if like me, you’re more just a fan of a really good pint, that’s really okay too! At Singapore’s annual Beer Fest, you will be in good company. And unlike many bigger, more corporate events on this crazy island, there will be an exceptional range of beer varieties on offer, at a tasty price. As befits any event featuring lots of amber liquid, there is also lots of music, shouting and belly laughs. So follow this event (and all of the above) and I’ll see you down there soon!