4 Years of Heineken Thirst: Evolution of Dance in Malaysia


Since its advent in 2010, Heineken Thirst has branded itself as Malaysia’s premiere music festival – one that is more legit than the typically rave-y precursors to the kind of EDM events we now have in abundance. Bear in mind that this was before the word festival was part of the lexicon of dance enthusiasts in this region – you could almost say Thirst pioneered bringing it to a more mainstream level, one of the first few to give punters a world class EDM experience.

There’s also more to being a world class fest than just inviting internationally renowned DJs; the festival elevates what would have been a run off the mill rave by adding real production value to the experience. This was apparent from the very beginning with Thirst 2010 – the infamous Godskitchen Boombox installation was brought down to Kuala Lumpur, the only country in this region to receive such an honour. Designed by the founders of Parisian design collective 1024, the structure was 16 metres wide, 8 metres high, and 6 metres deep. It’s a massive, glorified edifice that housed the DJs and projected real time visuals on its surface, of which the likes of headliners Chuckie, Sander van Doorn, and Richard Durand, along with locals Goldfish & Blink (a Thirst staple now) and Joey G, had the once in a lifetime opportunity to play in.

Continuing with the audio-visual tradition, Thirst 2011 saw Tiësto playing in a setup designed by visual artist Callen Tham, head of architectural visual collective Neu Bild. Combining the latest in motion and video-mapping technology, a trippy feast for the eyes was projected onto the 5-metre tall structures that dominated Thirst 2011’s skyline. On a smaller scale, the Heineken Infinity Bar was also erected, acting as sort of a futuristic arch that illuminated the darkness. While Tiësto was the only international act of the night – also as big as you can get when holding an EDM fest – Malaysian DJs XU, Bryan Burger, Phil K Lee, DJ Gabriel, and fan favourite DJ Blink all had the chance to prove that they, too, can incite a festival-worth of people to euphoria.

Last year’s edition one-upped the previous 2 years by several notches. For one, they diversified considerably: The 2 stages were divided by genres, the main stage saw the likes of Avicii and Above & Beyond while the second stage was home to French geniuses Justice, Gesaffelstein, and Brodinski! Who would have thought that Malaysia would be graced by them playing on a festival scale. Then there was the massive 52-feet flowery structure called Wish by Robert James Buchholz, which lights corresponded with the amount of decibels from the banging music. Famous party photographer Rukes was commissioned to immortalise the moments made there too, giving further international credence to what was already globally recognised.

Come Saturday 14 December ’13, Thirst is dead set to elevate their status as Malaysia’s premiere EDM festival to the next level. With the likes of David Guetta, Afrojack, Nervo, W&W, Example + DJ Wire, Madeon, and R3hab, you can already expect the very best on the artiste front. As for the installations this year, rest assured that the bar will definitely be raised.

Thirst 2013 is happening on Saturday 14 December at Sepang International Circuit. Tickets retail at RM148 (presale), RM248 (VIP), and RM188 (door sale). #Thirst2013, www.thirst.com.my