Monday, 27 July 2015

The Story Behind IGNITE! Music Festival

by Nellie Qistina

IGNITE! Music Festival is in its eighth year running. That’s a substantially long time. And every year, it proves to be a roaring success.

But what is the story behind the iconic IGNITE! Music Festival? How did it start, and how did it become a signature event in Republic Polytechnic and eventually, for the local music scene? There’s no one else better to ask than Mr Ganesh Kalyanam, the Festival Director of IGNITE! Music Festival.

Spotted at IGNITE!: Festival Director, Ganesh Kalyanam with his daughter at IGNTE! Music Festival in 2014. PHOTO BY: Gowri Shaan

IGNITE! Music Festival: Passion & Compassion

When It All Began: IGNITE! in 2008 was not held at RP’s Lawn. In fact, it was at the open space next to TRCC.

It all started in 2008. They were sitting around and dabbling with the idea of hosting music festivals and considering what aspects to focus on. After speaking to many students and a lot of brainstorming, there was a realisation.

“There were no real platforms for local musicians,” said Ganesh. From there, they felt that it would be a great idea to showcase this local talent that was present then.

Apart from that, they also realised that in RP, there were a lot of fledgling bands and even students who were involved in bands and music. These students often find themselves questioning whether they’ll be able to make it or do well in the industry.

“So we felt, hey, this is a great opportunity for us to have a festival showcasing local bands who have made it, have done well and hopefully those bands would ignite the passion in our students to pursue and continue to pursue their interest in music,” he added.

That was how they came up with the name, “IGNITE!”, to ignite the passion of these students.

IGNITE! was not only about ‘Passion’ but it is about ‘Compassion’ as well.

It Comes From The Heart: The IGNITE! crew during Project Passion with Beyond Social Services. They taught these children a thing or two about Body Percussion.

As they were trying to convince people about the music festival, some people had negative perceptions of musicians. “They think that they are all either satanic or drug abusers or you know, people who are not the main stream. So there was a very negative impression of musicians as such,” Ganesh mentioned.

Many people hold pessimistic views of these musicians but fail to realise that they are likely to be everyday people who hold jobs whilst pursuing music in their free time. Some may be fortunate to do it as a profession but many others are ordinary members of the workforce, or even students who are struggling to keep their passion alive.

“We felt that IGNITE! would give another opportunity to showcase musicians, highlight their passion but also show that there is a good side to them as well. We wanted to highlight the compassion part of things, that just because ‘I play hard metal or heavy metal or anything of that type, it doesn’t make me a bad person,” he added. This part, was another dimension of the music festival.

We all know that many music festivals are predominantly about the music, the fun and all. But IGNITE! looks at using music to bring in different types of people together and not only promote passion but also ignite the compassion amongst these people.

That, is how we have ‘IGNITE! Music Festival. Passion and Compassion’.

Why A Music Festival?

Big Stage, Even Bigger Crowds: IGNITE! showcases acts of various genres every year to cater to the different likings of its audiences.
PHOTO BY: Benjamin Ng

But why a music festival? The answer to this was simple. The reason why a music festival was preferred compared to a rock concert, was because the Singapore music industry, as well as the bands in RP, were very wide-ranging in genres. Ideally, a music festival would allow for them to listen to a wide range of genres of music.


They call themselves the “ignitebestcrewever” and notably so, with the amount of hard work they put in each year, they are the “best team ever”.
Perhaps, the cutest one too.

As I listened to the story of how IGNITE! came about, I was amazed at how it all came together and produced a festival that has been running for 7th, coming to its 8th year. Presumably, something as big-scale as IGNITE! has to have a strong team and it does.

Initially when IGNITE! started, it was very much staff-driven. It was the staff’s contacts and the use of their experience in these areas. The students came in just to help out here and there. But now, IGNITE! is almost 90% run by students themselves. Kenny, the main producer for IGNITE! is an alumnus of RP and a lot of the people involved and running the different teams are either current students or alumni. Almost every aspect, from the production to the programming, logistics and the marketing, are all student driven.

As each year passes, IGNITE! has close to about 1000 students involved and they cut across all schools in RP. “For me, it is an even bigger achievement because as an educational institute, I think it is critical that any of these platforms that we create needs to be an opportunity for our students to apply what they have learnt and grow as a person, in terms of being able to manage resources, manage people, manage the event. And I think that, we have been very successful with,” he said.


“GREAT JOB, BRO!”: Two very familiar faces in the local music scene, ShiGGa Shay and Benjamin Kheng of the Sam Willows on stage at IGNITE! Music Festival last year.
PHOTO BY: Benjamin Ng

One other factor about IGNITE! Music Festival was that it is 100% local. Local bands perform and local brands at the village. “Why is this so?” I asked.

Ganesh replied: “Initially, the honest truth was nobody would have come because they don’t know who we are. So we relied a lot on our ‘kakis’ or those bands that we know who came and said “Okay lah, I know you all don’t have the money to pay me but I will come and play.” We relied a lot on our friends, who are all in local bands.”

Then as IGNITE! grew, they got more and more bands from all over the world writing in to them, asking if they can be part of the music festival. And at that point, the team had to make a decision; do they allow international bands to come or do they keep it local?

As discussion took place, they realised that a lot of festivals that brought in international acts ended up becoming more international than it is local and this is partly because of our local behaviour. We cannot deny that one would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars to see an international band but one wouldn’t want to pay to see a local one perform. Additionally, a lot of festivals have already given platforms for international bands to perform and thus, the decision was made to keep IGNITE! purely local.

They saw a trend that initially, when they get established bands to come and play, they were actually achieving what they have hoped for – which is for these experienced bands to inspire and ignite the passion among the younger bands.

Playing at IGNITE! also gives up and coming bands a sense of status and branding. “Every festival, you have a couple of acts that are more established and they become the headliners to attract the crowds. But when the crowds come in, they get to hear these new bands that they may not have heard of before. Many bands have come, played, and moved on to bigger stages and we are happy for that to happen. It is heart-warming to know that in our own small way, we have helped pushed the local music industry,” he stated.

Over the past 7 years, IGNITE! has definitely grown in its depth and its quality is improving. IGNITE! Music Festival is definitely so much more than your run-of-the-mill music festival. As the interview came to a close, I can safely say that the Festival Director himself is very proud of how IGNITE! has evolved, providing platforms to not only local bands to showcase their talent but also to students to further explore their potential and skills with an event such as this one.

Now that we know the story behind IGNITE! Music Festival, let’s hope that it will continue to write even greater ones in the future.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

IGNITE! Music Festival is BACK AGAIN!

by Seri Azilia

We are back, but better than ever. IGNITE! Music Festival will be celebrating its eighth year in 2015 as it aims to ignite the pride of being a Singaporean in everyone. The festival is driven by youths filled with passion and compassion to support local artistes to showcase their talents up on stage. The annual music festival has drawn over 20,000 people over the years. Now, we shall take a glimpse of how this year’s IGNITE! Music Festival would be like compared to the previous year.

What could be so special about this year’s upcoming IGNITE? Held at the spacious lawn – a public green deck in Republic Polytechnic – there is space for…

Uncle Ringo! They will be joining us this year with the various games available and you are sure to revisit your childhood times, making your IGNITE! Music Fest experience a little more cheerful.

Feel like munching during the event? Fret not. This year, the F&B at the village serves you with popular favourites such as Garrett Popcorn, Banana N Cheese and not forgetting the latest-rave of churros from the Churros Factory.

If you want to get merchandises to remember the loud and exciting night, PeonFX is back this year to settle that for you. Other local clothing brands that are new to the village such as Sixth Empire and LIVEHIGH will also be there to satisfy your fashion needs.

Skipping IGNITE! Music Fest because of your gentlemen’s haircut appointment? There is no room for excuses because The ‘A’ Street Barber Shop will fix that haircut for you while enjoying the live performances.

Photo taken from: The ‘A’ Street Barber Shop’s Facebook Page

Moving on to the line-up of IGNITE! Music Festival 2015, the pop/soul singer of ‘Broken’ and ‘Sayang’, winner of Singapore Idol 2009 - Sezairi Sezali - will join us on the second night of the music festival. ShiGGa Shay, the rapper of the song ‘Lion City Kia’, is back for more hip hop genre songs that gets everyone bouncing along to his music.

Other bands and artistes such as THELIONCITYBOY, Wicked Aura, The Full Pledge Munkees, In Each Hand a Cutlass, Take Two, Dru Chen and many more will be performing to get you constantly up and jumping along to the beat. Not forgetting, RP’s Jammerz Arena and Replug that will get you moving around and singing along to their covers of your favourite songs.

(Information is correct at time of print)

There is no reason for you to miss out this year’s IGNITE! Music Festival because you are guaranteed to two continuous nights of energetic fun. We are super excited to have you join us for Singapore’s biggest local music festival that will be held here in Republic Polytechnic. Do lookout for updates on our various social media platforms and see you soon!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

5 Fresh Acts from the IGNITE! Lineup That You Must Check Out

by Rachel Ng

This year’s IGNITE! Music Festival line-up is full of fresh new faces. Some, however, are no stranger to IGNITE!, such as veteran ska-punkers The Full Pledge Munkees who performed for IGNITE! in 2010, and hip-hop rapper ShiGGa Shay, who performed last year.

In the spirit of introducing new up and coming local music, IGNITE! 2015’s line up boasts a total of eleven out of seventeen acts that are new to the IGNITE! stage. Here are just some of the new faces from the line up for you to check out, so you aren’t too lost when the actual day comes! 

1. Cadence

This alternative rock quintet is slowly but surely making a name for themselves in our local music industry. They’ve recently performed at Baybeats 2015, and was also part of their Budding Bands Programme, and have just also released their debut single, ‘Come Home’. Cadence’s melodies are hopeful, and with their deep vocals and dynamic instrumentals, they’re definitely one of the acts to check out at IGNITE! this year.

2. The Good Life Project 

This is one unique band - with their diverse selection of instruments, the seven-piece alternative soul and funk band is one act not to be missed at IGNITE! this year. The Good Life Project has vocals, guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, but they’ve also got the violin, synths, and the turntables. Their unconventional approach to music is admirable, and the groovy and soulful group’s smiles and energy while performing is worthy of a watch at IGNITE! this year, for sure.


Local hip-hop rapper THELIONCITYBOY, also known as Kevin Lester, has been making waves over the past few months in our homegrown music scene. The producer, rapper, and music activist has partnered with BMBX, from the Black Eyed Peas’ music management label, and has performed at Music Matters Live, SG50 themed Sing, Love concert alongside well-loved local musicians like Sezairi and ShiGGa Shay. If you enjoyed ShiGGaShay’s performance at IGNITE! last year, you’ll definitely dig THELIONCITYBOY’s set this year.

4. Dru Chen

Effervescent and old school soul Dru Chen was born in Australia, but raised in Singapore and has been winning the hearts of many with his soulful pop funk music. This singer-songwriter has had his music played on radio stations in the United States, Australia, and Singapore, and especially never disappoints at a live performance - you just can’t stop yourself from dancing to his music or tapping your feet.

5. In Each Hand a Cutlass

“My mind just travelled all nine worlds listening to this,” reads a comment on one of their songs on YouTube. So will you, when you hear them live at IGNITE! Music Festival this year. In Each Hand A Cutlass is another instrumental rock act on this year’s IGNITE! lineup, and they’ve been established since 2005. Their epic album, ‘The Kraken’, was released earlier this year to massive acclaim. When a group of well-known musicians come together to make music, assuredly - the product would be extraordinary.

Of course, these are just five out of the many awesome acts we have on our lineup for this year’s IGNITE! Music Festival. If you want to catch them all, come down to IGNITE! on 21 and 22 August at Republic Polytechnic to discover more great bands, all born and bred in our Lion City. See you there!

Friday, 24 July 2015

IGNITE! Survival Guide

by Fasiha Nazren

Free and good local music, great vibes and yummy food to buy. What’s there not to love about IGNITE! Music Festival? As we’re nearing the big day, here are 5 tips guaranteed to make your IGNITE! experience a memorable one.

Drink Up!: Make sure to bring a bottle and stay hydrated for IGNITE! Music Festival. PHOTO BY: Hasif Hasny

1. Stay hydrated

We wouldn’t want anyone to faint and miss out on the hot and sizzling line-up halfway through the festival! Remember to bring a bottle of water with you to keep yourself hydrated throughout the night. If you run out of water, there are watercoolers all over Republic Polytechnic for you to refill your bottles! Alternatively, you can grab a drink or two at the IGNITE! Village where food and drinks will be sold.

Ready, Set, Charge: Remember to charge your smartphones and bring along a portable charger to capture the moment! PHOTO BY: Hasif Hasny

2. Charge your phones and portable chargers

In this day and age where everyone has a smartphone, it’s a given that many will be snapping pictures and videos of their favourite acts. That’s totally cool, but what isn’t cool is when your smartphone runs out of battery! That’s where tip number two comes along – bring a portable charger! Don’t forget to charge both your smartphone and portable charger before leaving your house so that you can capture every single moment at this year’s IGNITE! Music Festival!

But First, Let Me Take A Selfie: It’s always better to take selfies with your friends, so don’t forget to bring or even make friends at IGNITE! PHOTO BY: Hasif Hasny

3. Bring a buddy

Being the largest local music festival, do expect IGNITE! to be big and hectic. So do bring along your friend(s) so you will always have someone to go to the toilet with, someone to buy merchandise with and most importantly, someone to fangirl/fanboy with once your favourite act performs! Also, don’t be afraid to interact with the rest of the crowd and who knows, you might go home with more friends than you came with?

Never Go Out Of Style: Stay fashionable and comfortable just like our IGNITE! crew in their IGNITE! shirts! PHOTO BY: Hasif Hasny

4. Dress comfortably

You’re probably racking your brains on what to wear to IGNITE!, right? While looking good can be a priority, dressing comfortable is important as well! Since you will be standing (and maybe dancing around) most of the time, do wear something breathable so you won’t feel so sticky and sweaty. You might also want to bring an extra shirt or towel given Singapore’s hot and humid climate!

Don't Be So Pushy: Leave your worries elsewhere and enjoy the performances while you’re here at IGNITE! PHOTO BY: Hasif Hasny

5. Have fun!

Of all the 5 tips, this is the most important tip. Why come to IGNITE! when you’re not here to have fun, right? We’re all about the good local music, so forget all your troubles for a while and soak yourself in the good vibes! Enjoy the performances, grab the yummy grubs and have fun with your friends. You’re now set for the best night of your life!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

What to eat at #IGNITEMUSICFEST 2015!

by Herlyani Ramlan

#IGNITEMUSICFEST is here yet again, and whether you are an insane music buff or just here to soak up the festival ambience with your friends after the end of a long semester, what is a festival without some yummy treats to nibble on?

This year, #IGNITEMUSICFEST is bringing more food to satisfy your every craving. So don’t fret about being hungry during the festival or having no water to quench your thirst, #IGNITEBESTCREWEVER has got you covered.

Caramel Brain Freeze

Well, we don’t have an outlet (yet), but we finally have a Starbucks on campus.

Between all the talented musicians, weather and raving audiences, it’s going to be a really hot #IGNITEMUSICFEST, and what a better way to cool off than with an ice-cold frappuccino? You’ll be up, running and raving to the music again in no time!

Pairs well with: Arson, Sezairi

Dynamic Duo

This year’s fad food is making its way to #IGNITEMUSICFEST this year!

The unlikely pairing of fried banana fritters and cheese made waves this year, flooding everyone’s social media timeline and filing our post-break fast tummies during Ramadan. If you weren’t patient enough to brave the long waiting time then, don’t miss the opportunity to try them out at #IGNITEMUSICFEST!

Pairs well with: The Full Pledge Munkees, Riot !n Magenta

Disco Stick

Churros Factory will be at #IGNITEMUSICFEST to satiate any sweet cravings.

Just like the dynamic banana and cheese duo, churros have been flooding our timelines and dashboards lately this year. With interesting, unconventional and locally-inspired dipping sauces such as Gula Melaka and Butterscotch, Churros Factory is definitely a booth not to be missed.

Pairs well with: THELIONCITYBOY, ShiGGa Shay, In Each Hand A Cutlass


Oprah loves it, and it’s kind of hard not to disagree with her. #IGNITEMUSICFEST will also be hosting Garrett Popcorn at the festival village this year.

It’s pretty hard to rave with a burger, so in case you get the munchies while you’re right smack in the center of the audience, you can sneak a few bites of Garrett Popcorn’s signature handcrafted CaramelCrisp popcorn. No one would notice a thing.

Pairs well with: This Is Atlantis, Wicked Aura Batucada

Turkish Delight

If your taste buds are leaning towards something more savory, the Stuff’d Crew will be here at #IGNITEMUSICFEST for a mini Mexican/Turkish spread.

Their Kebabs, Burritos and Signature Quesadillas are made daily from scratch. Grab a quick bite in between sets to curb that festival appetite.

Pairs well with: Attention! The New Portsdown, The Good Life Project

A Taste of Thailand

Handcrafted daily for maximum freshness, Pong Gelato is set to please both foodies and health buffs alike at #IGNITEMUSICFEST!

Their coconuts are carefully selected and directly imported from Thailand, complimenting their signature Coconut Gelato and Sorbets which are not only lactose-free but also rich with vitamins and minerals.

Pairs well with: Dru Chen

All Rolled Up

Another guilt-free indulgence happening at #IGNITEMUSICFEST includes Fat Rice SG’s unconventional yet flavorful sushi roll. 

Made using minimal oil, Fat Rice SG presents a yummy and healthy fusion sushi rolls designed to be packed with intense flavors and easy with the calories!

Pairs well with: Take Two

With the large nibble selection, we bet we’d be seeing you at #IGNITEMUSICFEST 2015.

IGNITE! Music Festival 2015 will be held on 21st and 22nd of August 2015 at Republic Polytechnic, Lawn. Head to our official site for more details.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

IGNITE! Music Festival Essentials!

by Rushiqah Dahlan

IGNITE! Music Festival is upon us, again! More than 20, 000 people have been involved in IGNITE! for the past few years. For local music fans and supporters, it’s often one of the most anticipated days in the month of August. Are you one of them? We’ve written out what you need to know – what to wear and what to bring.

When you’re going to IGNITE!, there’s no one to impress and there isn’t a focus on dressing up trendy. The most important factor is staying cool and comfortable, so be sure to wear comfy clothes. Also, wear shoes! Don’t even think about wearing sandals or even flip flops, unless you don’t mind your feet being stepped on. A nice pair of shoes will keep your feet from getting dirty and also keep you comfortable while dancing or moshing to your favourite band. For the ones with long hair, you might want to bring some hair ties and bobby pins, just in case it gets too hot.

As for essentials, there are not much that you need to bring, just basic necessities so we recommend you to pack light. Be it a cross-body bag or a bag pack, ensure that the size of it would not stop you and the other audience from having fun. A little tip: Buy your merch first, especially shirts and shoes. Why? Since the prices are cheaper, the sizes run out and it is probably more crowded around the merch booths when the performance ends. This is where a bag pack comes in handy. You wouldn’t need to carry the stuff around because you can simply keep it inside your bag! Whatever it is, bring things that you need and will most probably use. With that being said, below are the essentials for IGNITE! 2015.