I was not a huge UP Fair fan as an undergrad student. While I have always been in love with local indie music, I did not how chaotic people could be during the said event.
In fact, at one of UP Fair’s shows in 2011, I was so mad because attendees kept on pushing each other during Urbandub’s set. They almost caused a stampede. Not cool, I thought. I was so scared for my life that night that as soon as I saw people running to my direction, apparently trying to stay away from the commotion near the stage, I ran as fast as I could and left one of my slippers.
Even my friends have had their own share of crazy experiences involving people lacking discipline, especially some so-called jumping jologs who have been notorious for their bad behaviors while watching the shows.
However, things were different for me this year. The idea of attending a UP Fair show, particularly Roots Music Festival, suddenly seemed so appealing to me. I got so excited that I secured our tickets weeks before the show date.
Maybe I just missed attending gigs. Perhaps, I was also thrilled to attend a music festival with my new beau.
The moment we reached the vicinity of the UP Sunken Garden, I could already tell that the organizers weren’t that successful at controlling the crowd. There were lots of people around the fair grounds and queues to the entrance were pretty fucked up. We even had a hard time finding the end of the line for people entering the venue for the first time. I also noticed that there weren’t enough ushers to guide the attendees.
As expected, the classic Pinoy problem of singitan was so obvious. I myself saw a couple of individuals letting their friends join them on the line, making the queue longer than it already was and making everyone behind them so pissed for prolonging their agony. Although I was aware that this problem rose mainly from people’s lack of discipline and empathy for others, It occurred to me that it could have been avoided with better crowd control strategies.
Lineup and Performances
I just loved the lineup that night. It was nice to have some favorites on the same show, particularly Sandwich, Orange and Lemons, and Ben&Ben.
Sandwich had already started performing when we entered the concert grounds, which for me was a perfect way to start a night of music. No wonder, my first few minutes inside the venue was spent singing along to my favorite Sandwich songs, such as “Betamax” and “Procrastinator”. I also cheered the band members with all the other attendees who were able to prove that there was no such thing as too early for rock and roll.
Orange and Lemons’ performance was also extra special. Dyhl and I have loved the band since our teenage years, so we could not help but felt kilig as they opened their set. We riding the ferries wheel that time, making it more memorable.
What made me really happy that night, though, was Aegis. I have loved the band since I was seven, so seeing them perform live was a dream come true. The band’s performance did not disappoint. In fact, it was the best set of the night. Besides its flawlessness, it was also able to stir a lot of emotions among the attendees.
Honestly, being part of the crowd throughout that set was a magical experience. We just did not sing along to their songs; we uttered every word with feelings.
There were too many booths that night and it was nice to see some UPD-based brands there. I personally enjoyed food and drinks from Arki Vicky, particularly its well-known siomai with quail eggs inside and PanTea (pandan tea). I also appreciated the fact that one of the booths offered free HIV testing.
Meanwhile, some concessionaires gave away freebies like gift certificates and free sunscreen. At first, though, I was so overwhelmed by how much space they had taken, making me realize that the event was actually more commercialized than it used to be.
I loved the rides that night! In truth, Dyhl and I rode the Ferris wheel twice. First, when Orange and Lemon’s set was starting and second, when Ben&Ben’s “Maybe the Night” music video was being launched. It was a bit shocking, since it was faster than the usual perya ferris wheel, but we still had a lot of fun.
We also liked that our second time there coincided with the said music video’s launch. Imagine, we had a romantic background music while holding each other’s hand and looking over the fair grounds. Who would have thought I’d still have a cute UP Fair moment years after graduation? Indeed, even silly dreams come true.
Dyhl and I also tried the Flying Fiesta together with my friend Ela. It was a cool experience, too. The speed of its rotation did not disappoint at all.
My UP Fair experience this year was not perfect. While I still have concerns concerning crowd control and commercialization, I could still say that I had a good experience that night. Of course, it would not have been that great if it weren’t for the people I shared that night with.