Last Saturday, The Gathering’s eponymous debut musical effort proved to be a surprise hit of the year, with the indie music festival entertaining with the likes of indie collective Belle and Sebestian, psychedelic outfit Temples, and acclaimed producer Caribou. The festival was incredibly well curated, with organizers thinking of water (two-giant icebergs, anyone), food (maki-san, for the win!), and even provided entertainment (mini-golf with two Tyrion Lannister lookalikes) for revelers to partake in.
The music festival bore close comparisons to smaller, and intimate Singapore festivals, such as Camp Symmetry and the short-lived Hostess Club Weekender. The atmosphere was fun, lively, energetic and most importantly – carried the irrepressible feeling of love. We provide a complete lowdown of what went down during that Valentine’s Day.
Food, Water, Action!
No umbrellas were allowed inside – we assume they were left by the entrance’s colourful umbrella gateway – but food, water and entertainment were clearly thought out of. Reyka Vodka provided two giant Icebergs to chill revelers down from the sweltering heat, and organizers provided a whole range of foods to choose from. We can safely say that Maki-san was a tasty treat. Yum.
Good Afternoon, Fort Canning!
Saturday’s The Gathering brought throngs back to where many might regard as the spiritual home of Singapore music festivals – Fort Canning Park. Don’t get us wrong, Gardens By The Bay is pretty cool with its futuristic Marina Bay skyline and Supertrees, but we’ll take the comfort, coziness, and style of Fort Canning over the Gardens any time of the day.
Chill, Lepak La
Nothing beats the feeling of indulging in of a popular Singaporean past time, and we don’t mean queueing up. The festival grounds oozed the familiar feeling of grass lounging, beer guzzling, and getting a good old-fashioned Singapore tan. Acts from the line-up could be seen lounging and interacting with the crowd, with artists such as Tom Krell from How to Dress Well, and Dan Snaith (before his set) engaging in selfies with crowd members. Real Estate’s Martin Courtney even gave a shoutout to the festival, saying, “This is such a chill festival, I feel like I’m at a barbeque”. Cheers! We know exactly how you feel, Martin.
The Gathering’s line-up was impeccably planned, with a solid blend of indie, electronic, psychedelic rock, preppy disco-pop and even local acts rounding up the mix. We had the amazing How to Dress Well, with frontman Krell’s R&B leanings and powerful, Beyoncé-like voice, Charlie Lim’s heart-aching tunes, the schizophrenic smorgasbord of colours that was Tune-Yards; the energetic jingles of Real Estate, and the soothing earworm dream-pop that was Pleasantry.
Bass, More Bass!
Bass was an absolute currency in this music festival, with the likes of Caribou, Temples, and How to Dress Well making the most advantage from it. Caribou was an absolute crowd favourite, with the Canadian producer churning out hits and quivering beats with his backing band. As we reeled from the quagmire of his bass-in-your-face tunes, an intense revelry of concert-goers could be seen throughout the whole of Fort Canning like a massive rave party gone overdrive. Till now, we’re still reeling from his superb performance.
Temples was a giant throwback to the good-old glory days of rock, with the British five-piece taking things up a notch with their crushing riffs and riveting basslines – which Jack White would have approved if he were standing silently together nodding with the crowd. The Mods provided scorching fretwork and guitar virtuosity, as well as hairdos that we’ve never ever seen – probably since the 1980’s.
This Gathering packed a punch, and a few surprises as well. Who could ever forget the point where Temples drummer Sammuel Toms pounded so hard that his bass drum gave way, or the moment when headliners Belle and Sebestian added 200 members of the crowd to their collective? Frontman Stuart Murdoch might have caught the love bug that night; the man was impressionably charismatic, jovial and interactive. The bearded frontman invited members of the crowd that night to share the stage, and amid adoring fans rushing for selfies, closed off with a rousing chant-along rendition of “The Blues Are Still Blue”.
At the end of the festival, couples could be seen dancing away, singles moping around (happily), and a significant lesser amount of trash could be seen on the festival grounds. Everyone took home a piece of The Gathering that night, and went home incredibly satisfied and ecstatic. From the amazing acts to even the food that was provided, The Gathering was the epitome of what music festivals should be – cozy, conscious and a hell lotta fun. Until the next time, The Gathering!