Have you ever felt ‘at home’ in an outdoor area, with around two hundred other people milling around and mud coating every bit of your shoes (and your leg, if you’re someone as callous as me)?
Dani and I really didn’t expect much from the Light to Night Festival – partly because we had never gone to the Civic District in Singapore for any light festival in our time living in Singapore, and also because we’d just ran to Somerset from the Marina Bay Sands carnival, really disappointed because of the sudden downpour.
Upon reaching the front of the National Gallery, hobbling on the wet road that had been closed for the Festival, and eventually perching our tired shoes on the muddy grass of the Padang, the light activities started. We fist-bumped because had arrived at the time when exciting activities were starting, and also because–darn, the Festival was giving off such amazing vibes.
The lights were like paint, spilling onto the building with the artful twists and maneuvers of a practised light technician. They stunned both Dani and I, who stood around three metres away from the designated Crowd Area, right on the road, because we were so in awe of the light display that flashed across the front of the Gallery building.
Palm trees against a flashing backdrop of light – super duper aesthetic.
The activity that the EmCee started off with involved ‘Stomping’ on a responsive pad. There were pads located along the whole span of the Gallery building, one in front of each pillar. Toddlers, teenagers and adults alike frolicked across the muddy grass to stand atop each pad and Stomped as hard as they could.
I’m emphasising the MUDDINESS of the grass throughout this post because D–poor D–her sick slip-ons got stuck rather frequently; my Nike knock-offs also slodged about in the mud. We were linking arms and holding our phones as flashlights when trying to cross and get to the other side of the Festival ground.
If you’re my mother and are looking me sitting on the doorstep of our house, attacking my shoes with a wipe, you’ll know that our tactic of getting through the muddy grass did not work.
What we genuinely loved about the Festival was the very comfortable atmosphere created; the Padang, the Road across the National Gallery, the numerous tents and booths boasting Thai Milk Tea, Japanese Tea, Spanish-Fried Milk (that blew our minds), Churros, Fries (typical), Dinner sets for 5 bucks and the oil barrels that served as makeshift tables for the night. The music was good, and next to the National Gallery attraction was a mini stage set up with a performance going on. Besides the live music performances, the music that blared through the speakers matched with the ambience that the EmCee tried to create despite gloomy, rainy weather – Mi Gente accompanied by his perky announcements for games with a magnificent light show flashing on the Gallery behind him – all of these little touches created an amazing Festival vibe.
This display was a really good attraction [see Polaroid of ‘Light Column below] because of the Thirst for a Good Photo that many people seek to quench at such Festival grounds. Festival goers could go inside the ‘column’ by ducking under a square, metal frame, and still have the strings of lights dangling in their face. Makes for a pretty cute photo, and has an awesome effect – I mean, you’re standing inside a column of lights, isn’t that pretty cool?!
I took pictures for around five couples who stood awkwardly outside the column. After I laughed along with them about using Flash and what not on their Supremely Cool iPhones, they started to relax and Better Pictures were Taken. The point I’m trying to make with the prior two sentences is: This display brought people together. It got me talking to tourists and pairs of friends like myself and Dani; couples we could be envious of, mothers and their children who attended the Light to Night Festival of 2018. Lots of Festivals are able to bring people together, but with the extensive range of activities on the outdoor Festival ground, everyone milling around seemed so much more connected than the people I’d seen at other Carnivals/Festivals.
I think Charlie Puth playing through the speakers seemed to be part of the magic. lots of people let loose when they hear Charlie. It’s a Charlie Puth thing. It’s a part of human nature to chill when you hear his voice float out in the humid night air. However, J. Blavin does the trick for D and I and we were already doing outrageous hand gestures when Mi Gente started playing.
Still, we appreciated Charlie.
D maintaining her streaks by Storying about everything that we came across at the Light to Night Festival. It was that fabulous.
There was an irony in hearing Charlie Puth at eight-thirty pm. I had missed Charlie Lim’s performance by a day; he performed until eleven-ten pm on Friday. Check out his stuff here #LOCALPRIDE.
Irony: Catch one Charlie, miss one Charlie. 😦
Lastly, the Festival ground design was brilliant. Besides the Light Column display, the entire night was lit up because of the sheer number of strings of lights shining gold and bold and bright from tent to tent. Actually, the sheer number of tents selling crafts – leather goods, necklaces, drawstring bags – to unique ‘festival’ food – Spanish fried milk, buckets of milk tea, buttery popcorn, marshmallows-on-a-stick – and even makeup really shocked me. I had to go read up on why on Earth this ‘light to night’ Festival was stocked full of so many goods, as opposed to just, well, interactive light shows.
This booth sells makeup. Basically, the wide array of booths are part of a programcalled Art X Social, which aims to provide an immersive experience into an ‘art’ lifestyle. Hence the range of handicraft sold at the Festival! This section of the Padang was filled with the booths boasting the work of entrepreneurs, who are based in Singapore or the surrounding region. Find out more here!
A young child was handed a cube on a stick. D and I were shocked. “What is that?” D shook her head. The child was literally licking a brown-coloured cube on a kebab stick.
I thought to myself, “Now, this is interesting”, and looked up at the booth that was selling these cubes. We learnt that they were ‘gourmet marshmallows’ and the ‘cube’ was actually a marshmallow coated in hard chocolate.
The makings of a marshmallow cube ^
Next to the food tents, there were empty tents with oil barrels (makeshift tables) — an ample number of them, actually, such that some were actually empty when Dani and I crashed the Fest during peak period! #WeCouldAffordtoSitDown #Amazed #GoodPlanning
Furthermore, next to many of the queues for food were actually benches that pushed up against each other, forming squares of seats on the grass. Again, despite the thickening crowd, we were able to find seats. This was really important for me because I had fallen into the mud when dragging myself into and out of the Light Column display (Organisers, I am so sorry to make this complaint, but please do raise the height of the metal bars. D could slip through but I, a person considered ‘tall-ish’ for my age group, female, could not and had to drag one of my knees through the floor). I spent some time using wipes to get the mud off my leg while Dani waited inside a light column for me to take her picture.
However, did I pull a thigh muscle? Perhaps I did. However, the vibe of the Festival was too cheery for me to stay sad/wincing in pain and slap both hands across my knees and cry about it. Hence, I ignored the growing pain and smiled, because I was at a Festival with one of my best friends, and our surroundings were rockin’.
No lie though, the Light to Night Festival was a pretty amazing experience. Everything looked gorgeous, and despite the rain, the majority of the festival goers were having an awesome time – hanging out on the damp square seats, surging through the crowd to take numerous pictures of themselves/their significant other/ their mom/their hyperactive child who had not awareness of sticky mud posing with the lights as their backdrop.
Oh yes, the popular Neon displays from FLASHBANG, another smaller carnival located at *SCAPE during the last week of December, were brought back, to the delight of many people at the Light to Night Festival. They glowed lovely in the night air; I can’t blame ANYBODY for fighting other people to take pictures. Because I did not, and ended up taking one too many pictures for other people, and I blame myself for that. 😀
PICTURE OF ME
Note: We went to ONE of the TEN zones, at the National Gallery!
Scour this website for more! For a detailed schedule of the entire Festival that runs until 28 January, click here.
Yeah, okay, Thanks D for taking pictures of me inside the light column. Muah ❤
I like using VSCO to edit every single picture on my camera roll just because. I’m that kind of person. So, I remain unapologetic about all the captions stating what presets I used. #EnjoyItInstead
Also, there’s a pin that I’m wearing on my denim jacket. This pin was a gift from Saunak; I interviewed him for Carpe Bloom on January 6th, when he was in Singapore for a remarkable project called Pursuit of Portraits.
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