Fête de la Musique is France’s world-renowned music festival coinciding with the summer solstice. For 22 years now, Fête has been bringing free music to people from all walks of life here in the Philippines. Around the world, the annual music festival is celebrated in more than 120 countries around the world. Last June 18, Fête de la Musique 2016 had its first day of celebrating world music in 2 main stages and 21 pocket stages around Makati.
A Venue Open Parking
It was my first time to attend Fête. Together with the Tourism Promotions Board and fellow bloggers, we started the night at A Venue Open Parking – one of the main stages. I was excited because I at least know some artists in the lineup. We missed the opening acts but I was more than ecstatic because we arrived just in time for the 6-piece indie folk group, Ransom Collective.
I first heard this band’s music through Bianca Gonzalez’s wedding video in 2014. The lyrics, melody and the sweet strains of the violin from their first single, Fools, instantly captivated me.
They fit right in with my Spotify Indie playlist so at first I thought they were a foreign band. Imagine my surprise when I Googled them and learned that they were local. I was hooked from then on.
This was the first time I’ve seen them perform live though and was pleasantly surprised that they’re as good as their studio recording. It was a standing only venue and the small crowd in front of the stage swayed to the beat, singing out the lyrics as the band played on.
They performed their most popular songs as well as their new single, Settled. Too bad their set had to end. But the night was only beginning. We must head on towards the other venues.
Greenbelt 3 Park
Unlike the standing-only A Venue, Greenbelt 3 Park had seats in front of the stage underneath a canopy. This roof proved useful when it rained later in the night.
When we got there, a band was already playing, with the female vocalist immediately capturing our attention with her sexy stage persona. Taking a quick look at our #FDLM2016 guide, Chillitees was the name of the band. Their songs had that groovy and sensual vibe, a mix of soul, R&B, and rock. Her vocal prowess was impressive, hitting the high notes without an ounce of falsetto.
When we came back from dinner, Indio I, a reggae-rock band was playing. Listening to them, I bet they’d be perfect for chilling in front of the beach, with a beer in hand. As an encore, they did a cover of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry. The vocalist made it their own and his vocals was definitely fit for the song. Glancing around the audience, they were singing along, with their heads bobbing and their hands and legs tapping to the beat. Clearly, everyone was having a good time.
Talahib People’s Music was up next. Although this is the first time I saw them perform live, I’ve recognized their band name from other music festivals, most recent of which was the Banahaw Tugtugan. What sets Talahib apart from the other performers is their use of native Filipino musical instruments and their homage to indigenous music.
Their first song started with the subtle sound of their instruments. The sound was enchanting. Captivating. Soon, the vocalist swayed to the music, with her long hair and skirt flowing to the rhythm. Her voice, though sometimes masked by the instruments, rose above the music. Making us want to stand up and sway to the beat.
I was kind of regretting that we didn’t get to stay for their second song, On Potok because we had to rush to the third venue. I really hope I get to see Talahib perform again in future music festivals.
Lokal Hostel Rooftop
The third venue was deep in the red light district of Poblacion, Makati. Upon entrance at the rooftop, we were enveloped with a combination of smoke from the smoking machine, cigarettes and who knew what else. It was enough to stop me in my tracks and hold my breath for a minute. The pulsing lights and overcrowding near the stage also didn’t help one bit.
We were at the Eclectic+Art stage but to me, the music playing was more akin to hip-hop reminding me of Jay-Z’s music. The crowd was noticeably young here and there were a lot of foreigners, probably from the hostel and nearby hostels as well.
This time, when we didn’t stay for long, I was thankful because I was already developing a migraine. We left the crowd to their drunken revelry as a new artist came onstage.
Our two groups congregated at B-Side Bar in Malugay. A few meters before the venue, there was already traffic buildup from the parked cars along the road. Groups of people are hanging out by the roadside. There was also a long queue just to get inside. This venue was the most jam-packed one so far. Again, we were assaulted with the intermingled smells of cigarette smoke, alcohol and stale sweat upon entry. Beats of Reggae music filled the room as the mostly male crowd raise their hand to the air.
This venue was the most jam-packed one so far. Again, we were assaulted by the smells of cigarette smoke, alcohol and stale sweat upon entry. Beats of reggae music filled the room as the mostly male crowd raise their hand to the air. Clearly, this was their jive – modern Pinoy reggae. The sound system wasn’t top-notch, though, making the lyrics inaudible.
Again, we didn’t stay long and escaped to get fresh air outside.
Next venue was definitely another highlight of the night. The night started out slow near the stage so we first checked out Mao Den.
When we got back, the floor was already packed to the rafters. People were jumping, grinding, dancing to the beat of modern House music. We joined in on the fun when the DJ started doing 90’s remixes. I decided to retire my Tita self for the night and let loose by dancing and singing the lyrics of hits such as Burn, Heartbreaker, I Want to be Your Lady Baby and Ignition among many other hits. We stayed upstairs where there were more air and space, content to view the sea of people below.
Green Sun was supposedly our last venue for the night (more like early morning hehe) but we weren’t allowed entry anymore at the Indie Stage.
Fête de la Musique 2016
Getting one stage to another wasn’t easy, with the metro’s traffic getting in the way and eating up most of the time. Nonetheless, it was truly fun to experience the different genres in the main and pocket stages for this year’s Fête. Though I may not be a fan of some of the music, it was amazing to witness the passion and support of the festival goers to their chosen genres.
That night’s Fête truly symbolized freedom and creativity. Once again, the world-renowned music festival succeeded in bringing free world music to the people. And proving that indeed, music is a universal language of mankind.
Once again, thank you to Tourism Promotions Board Philippines for inviting me to be a part of the event.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.