The Kampong Glam precinct is the place to be if you love urban culture – it hosts some of the best block parties, and it’s where you can find hidden alleys with tons of street art and dingy bars lining the streets.
Singapore’s had a long history of cracking down on everything that even smells of rebelliousness, which meant no graffiti, no rock music, and not much of a film industry till the late 90s. Of course,
vandalism graffiti is still illegal in Singapore, but events like the Aliwal Urban Art Festival let you get up close with street artists as they do their thing, and maybe even give you an opportunity to get your hands dirty! Other than street art, Aliwal Urban Art Festival is where you’ll get to see some skateboarding action up close, play street footie, and shop for vintage records and zines. You can’t get more edgy than this.
We put together an A-Z guide for you to get acquainted for the upcoming edition of the Aliwal Urban Art Festival happening on 20 January 2018, which will introduce you to Singapore street culture like you’ve never seen it before.
A. Aliwal Arts Centre – Basically where everything goes down. From performances to legit artist markets, the arts centre is the place to be at on 20 January. Don’t say we bojio.
B. Bakers In Space – The post-psych rock band from our little red dot to keep your eyes on if you loved the 80s. And yes, they will be performing at the festival, with tons of new songs from their recent EP release.
C. Challenge – Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone! There’s going to be loads of activities and workshops geared towards both beginners and pros, so get your best kicks on and try out the skate clinic or footie challenge.
D. Dance your heart out in a carpark. Dancing isn’t just limited to the clubs. Remember Step Up when they had a dance battle in the streets? Now’s your chance to jam with all kinds of moves as ScrachMarcs make their way from the 60s to the noughties in a full-on vibing block party.
E. Experience – Don’t be caught up posting everything on your Instagram story! Enjoy the performances, check out all the events going on, and just live the moment.
F. Food Trucks! We all need our sustenance, and there is nothing more satisfying than getting your grub from a food truck! Roving food trucks aren’t that common an occurrence, so remember to snap a photo.
G. Glamping. Your chance to try out glamping to see if you can handle it before you attempt to go for Tomorrowland or Glastonbury Festival. Called the Terrainware Tent Challenge, test your survival skills and get your glamp on. Maybe you can hit up East Coast Park next?
H. Hot. There’s going to be a huge crowd, so dress light and carry little. You don’t want to be bogged down by that jumper or that huge ass bag during a dance battle.
I. In D’ KTV. Our favourite past time is singing KTV (or karaoke), but this one’s different. It’s impossible to find local songs at your usual KTV, but In D’ KTV will only have tunes from Singapore’s indie music history thanks to creative agency fFurious. About time.
K. KoFlow delves into film. For those who are familiar with the local music scene, you would have heard of hip hop DJ KoFlow. Learn more about KoFlow’s pursuit of music through a short film, which will be screened at the festival. Watch it, and hang around for his set to complete the experience.
M. M.A.T.A.S exhibition – One of Singapore’s oldest street art collectives, RSCLS is partnering up with interactive artist, Ryf Zaini, to create a body of interactive artworks that is a commentary on the current street art community in Singapore.
N. Navigating identities – Just before making your way to the festival, stop by the Malay Heritage Center to check out the Sirri na Pesse, an exhibition which touches on the history and development of the Malays in the Bugis community. There’s no admission charge, so it’ll cost you nothing to drop by.
O. Observe graffiti in the making – To many of us, graffiti seems to just pop up overnight. Graffiti art demonstrations are a little preview into how much work and imagination goes into creating one artwork.
P. Party with EatMePoptart! No matter how many times you’ve been to a Poptart party, you’ll never tire of it. There’s just something about the 90s playlist that just keeps us going back and partying till late.
R. RSCLS Detour – Did you take a selfie at one of those amazing murals lining Haji Lane but have no idea who the artist is? Sign up for the guided tour that’ll give you an insider’s look at Singapore’s urban art history through a tour of Kampong Glam street art by the local artists themselves.
S. Skate Clinic – No more standing by the sidelines, watching enviously. With pros to guide you, go ahead and pick up some basic skateboarding skills without any fear of injuring yourself. Just get there early to sign up for a spot.
U. U are needed at UAF. The Urban Art Festival cannot happen without YOU there.
V. Vandetta – There is more to music than just rock and pop. The electronica singer has carved out her own sound with her powerhouse vocals, and you’ll be able to hear her perform some of her latest songs live. She’s also done loads of collaborations for her latest EP, so can we hope to hear some guest singers too?
W. Workshops, workshops, workshops – There’s tons of workshops, but if you only have time for one, we’ll say to stop by the M.A.T.A.S workshop. You’ll be able to try your hand at some alternative forms of street art that (probably) won’t land you in jail.
Y. Why? If anyone asks you why you want to head down to the Aliwal Urban Art Festival, just tell them “Why not?”
Z. Zines for memories’ sake – Sure, we are in the digital age but nothing beats actually having some physical mementos. You can never recreate the smell or the feel of a super loved magazine on the internet. Grab exclusive zines, vinyl records, and custom tees at the Brilliant Corners Artist Market to remember the nights you spent rocking out to good music and generally having a good time whilst still supporting your favourite artists.
Mark your calendars because next year’s Aliwal Urban Art Festival is something that you do not want to miss out on!
Aliwal Urban Art Festival 2018
When: Saturday, 20 Jan 2018, 5pm till late
Where: Aliwal Arts Centre, Kampong Glam
Price: Free, with certain ticketed events