Another year, another Baybeats Festival. Each year brings diminishing returns for us, it must be said. Once upon a time, the Festival would generate tremendous excitement and anticipation but that is no longer the case in 2017.
Back in the Noughties, Baybeats was the only music festival of its kind in Singapore and it featured a potent mix of foreign and local alternative rock bands as well as providing a platform for new bands from about 2006 onwards.
In the last couple of years, the Festival has re-focused purely on local and regional bands and also expanded the musical base to include more pop acts as well. The new band platform has been formalized as the Budding Bands programme, with the now-obligatory mentorship component added.
Looking at the lineup for this year’s festival, we experienced mixed feelings. The selected Budding Bands seem of a distinctively low quality when compared to some of the bands from previous cohorts.
However, we are encouraged by the inclusion of Aussie rockers Rag n’ Bone. We believe that the quartet will up the ante somewhat for the newer local bands to have a proper benchmark of what an alt-rock band should sound like in 2017.
Other noteworthy mentions to Amateur Takes Control, Astreal, Bakers in Space, Forests, Obedient Wives Club, sub:shaman, Tim De Cotta and SUPERSECT. SUPERSECT is an interesting case, as for some reason they were invited to play even though they were eliminated from the Budding Bands auditions process. Curiouser and curiouser.
Perhaps this indicates that the audition process should be consigned to history. There have been one or two negative responses over the years from bands and fans – not a lot to be honest but some vocal objections to artists having to audition to play. It can be sensitive issue overall and the problem is when you appoint a judging panel, people expect some kind of objectivity in the process, when in reality of course, it never is that straightforward.
We would like to see the entire Budding Bands programme scrapped in the future and for Baybeats to feature more successful international alt-rock bands to provide inspiration, friendship and networking opportunities to our own fairly established like-minded similarly talented bands. Leave that mentorship aspect to NOISE Singapore and the new band showcasing to IGNITE – there really is no need for this duplication when Baybeats can do much more on an international level.
… still there’s more …