Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival @ Singapore

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JUICE hearts Gilles Peterson. And that’s why we were happy to pack our bags and head south for a long weekend for South East Asia’s first Worldwide Festival – ever! Those familiar with Gilles’ eclectic selections for the Worldwide radioshow on BBC 1 would know what to expect. Like a live version but on a monster scale, the Worldwide Festival is also curated by Gilles and in its three years has gained a rep for its ridiculously mind blowing lineup and unconventional setting. Like the seaside version in Sete, France, Singapore’s WWF was also held over three days at three different locations and a varying lineup each time.

Skipping the private invite-only party at Zouk on Friday to mosh with the masses at Odeon Tower on Saturday, the venue stacked up three levels of music for ticket holders. Curiosity sent us down to the Basement Car Park where pendaflour lights lit up the elevated DJ console and Diesel sponsored lounge areas provided some respite. Reminiscent of early rave days when makeshift spaces were used, those that could endure the heat were treated to deep throbbing tunes of Trickski, Karizma, Ame and Has here.

The top floor’s open concept Loof bar proved the most popular of the three floor where any available space was vigorously defended. Substantially laid back compared to the deep house and techno down in the basement, Katsue, Garfld and Stassh took their turns under the trees as Singapore’s finest cracked open Heineken beers and traded conversation. The rest of us were holed up in at the Construction Space (soon to be Supperclub). A minimalist warehouse-type space, a massive video backdrop separated DJs Inquisitive, Simbad, Dubwise and the crowd from the Singapore streets below. Still nothing could hold back the fan boys when former Jurassic 5 DJ and DJ Shadow cohort, Cut Chemist took the decks in what proved a rather technical set.

Sunday turned out to be anything but lazy or easy. At Fort Canning Park the small but mighty entertaining Redbull sponsored Energy tent threw up the night’s most surprises with homegirl Arabyrd aka Arafah earning herself enthusiastic fans in Gilles and Diplo for her outstanding live performance (she’s now been booked into the Sete event). Also pumping mad energy there were Stereotype meets Al Haca featuring MC Coppa and German duo MANDY. Favela funk pusher Diplo made amends for playing later than scheduled by giving away loads for Mad Decent t-shirts away to revelers and curiously enough Steve Aoki, who had played a packed out Zouk Singapore the night before (with JUICE Singapore Wayne Lee opening) and photog The Cobrasnake even turned up mid-set through Dip’s set. Ol’ Millionaire was later spotted smooching some unidentified girl, ahem, as superstar DJs should.

The main Best Outdoors Stage was where Cosa Nostra, Wicked Aura Batucada, Toshio Matsuura, and most importantly the headliner of the show, The Kruger & Dormeister Experience held fort. Against a gargantuan vid screen and with MCs Earl Zinger and Ras T-weed in tow, the duo introduced the Austrian downbeat sound to the throng and like a big house party even invited them up on stage to dance. The man himself, Gilles Peterson closed the show but coaxed Sinbad, Karizma and Cut Chemist onstage for an all star jam session that was too good to be true. The only damper to the 3-day event was the lackluster response from the crowd. Geography not withstanding, we’re not saying Singapore didn’t give it some but you wouldn’t catch Diplo shouting “Oh f*ck, come on Singapore” twice if he were in KL. Still, you had to hand it to organizers, Kinemat pulling such a coup – a first for the region. Now howz about bringing the party further north?

Head over to the gallery here.

The Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival Singapore Edition took place across various venues on the island republic from May 16 to 18. The next one happens at Sete in France this month on July 3 to 5. Visit for more.

Text Ili Farhana
Images Dominic Phua and Amos Wong for Kinemat Play, and Ili Farhana