ST – 6 Jul 2012
Music-lovers are raving about it and some are even shouting about it. It is the Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) concert at Gardens by the Bay on July 15. Take Diane Chia, 19, who screamed when she heard that the line-up includes her favourite band Boys Like Girls.
Never mind that she was at her desk at work as an IT representative.
She says: ‘I could not help it, I was so excited. Thank goodness there were no customers at the time.’
Ms Chia, who will enrol in social sciences at Singapore Management University next month, adds: ‘I went to the back and started calling all my friends.’
She has been a fan of American punk-pop band Boys Like Girls since they released their eponymous debut album in 2006.
She began following their blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts, where she connected with other Singaporean fans.
From there, her fansite, The Martin Sayers, named for the band’s lead singer Martin Johnson, was born.
It now has about 20 stalwart fans, many of whom will be at the concert with banners, posters, T-shirts and wristbands which they had custom made.
‘I bought my tickets the minute they went on sale,’ she says, ‘I just could not wait.’
Boys Like Girls are one of the acts which will be performing in the Star concert in celebration of The Straits Times’ 167th birthday.
Other acts include K-pop girl group 4Minute, home-grown act Tanya Chua and Singapore Idol winners Hady Mirza and Taufik Batisah.
Tickets are on sale now at $67 a person for Straits Times subscribers and $75 for non-subscribers.
The event kicks off with a fun fair of games and activities such as playing Wii with Singapore Olympians, a cosplay contest and caricature drawing when the concert venue opens at 3pm. Food such as popiah, chicken tikka, tuna sandwiches and macaroni and cheese will be sold inside the venue from 3pm.
When the concert starts at 6.30pm, there is sure to be a mad rush to the stage so concertgoers will want to get to the meadow early to reserve their places.
Boys Like Girls are not the only band with a dedicated bunch of followers. K-pop sensation 4Minute have their fans too, called 4nias.
In fact, the two fan groups have got together to give each other the best views of their acts.
The fans plan to trade places at the front of the crowd when their respective idols take the stage. Notices have been put on both fansites to notify members of the agreement.
One 4Minute fan is Malaysian Soh Kok Keong, 33, who has bought two tickets to come see the group with a friend. They will fly down from Kuala Lumpur on the day of the concert and stay the night before flying back the next day.
It is not the first time he has travelled to see 4Minute. He flew to Bangkok to watch them perform earlier this year.
‘I want to watch them live again and hear my favourite songs,’ says the IT salesman, who plans to bring a large, decorated poster to the concert.
The concert is also attracting people who are not devotees of just one band but who want to enjoy the overall concert atmosphere and to spend time with their families. ‘I have never been to a concert like this, with different acts on one stage,’ says teacher Alison Leck Choo Jin, 52. ‘I am looking forward to the atmosphere. I expect something vibrant.’
She bought eight tickets and will attend the bash with her extended family members whose ages range from 12 to 81 years old.
Stay-at-home mum Kim Wee Koh, 41, is looking forward to the chance to check out the Gardens by the Bay. ‘It has been in the news a lot,’ she says. ‘With all the activities, concert and carnival going on that day, it sounds like a good time for the family.’
She bought seven tickets and will be going with her husband, two children and their extended family.
While the mum is excited about seeing home-grown talent Chua in concert, her children are looking forward to running around the gardens and seeing the different varieties of flowers.
‘I think it will be a great atmosphere with the carnival, different bands and singers. It will be fun,’ she says.
Still, amid that carnival atmosphere, die-hard band fans such as Boys Like Girls’ Ms Chia cannot wait. She has her heart set on hearing her favourite song, Hero/Heroine, from the band’s first album, although she is also looking forward to listening to their new songs from their upcoming album Crazy World, set for release two days after the Star concert.
The fan gushes: ‘Even though Hero/Heroine is from 2006, it is still my favourite song. I can’t get over it.’
Buy tickets to the Star concert at www.starevent.sg, by calling 6319-2368/2087 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Tickets can also be bought and collected at Singapore Press Holdings, News Centre, at 1000 Toa Payoh North from Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm and at the Singapore Flyer on July 13 and 14.
Ticket-holders will be entitled to a goodie bag, free entry and rides at Universal Studios from 7.30 to 11pm on either Aug 18 or 19, a Singapore Flyer ticket and a 20 per cent discount off tickets for entry to the two cooled domes at Gardens by the Bay when they present the Star ticket stub between July 15 and Aug 15.
This South Korean girl group rival the burlesque pop act Pussycat Dolls for their provocative dance moves.
Comprising five girls – Nam Ji Hyun, 22, Heo Ga Yoon, 22, Jeon Ji Yoon, 21, Kim Hyun Ah, 20, and Kwon So Hyun, 17 – 4Minute are known for their sexy, edgy image and dance-influenced pop beats.
Since the group released their first single, Hot Issue, in June 2009, they have won numerous awards, including the Newcomer Award at the 16th Korea Entertainment Arts Awards in 2010 and their second Bonsang Award at the 21st Seoul Music Awards earlier this year.
4Minute fans call themselves 4nias, a blend of the band’s name and the word ‘mania’.
Check out the group’s best-known singles, Huh, Mirror Mirror and Volume Up.
Boys Like Girls
Fans of bands such as Good Charlotte and Fall Out Boy will appreciate this four-man American pop-punk band.
Formed in 2005 by frontman Martin Johnson, 26, the group achieved national recognition in the United States with their self-titled debut album, Boys Like Girls, in 2006.
Their Star concert appearance is not their first time in Asia. They were one of the headlining acts of the first MTV World Stage Live concert held in Malaysia in 2009, sharing the stage with British pop singer Pixie Lott and rock band Kasabian.
Their name became known internationally with the release of their second album, Love Drunk, that same year. The album features their biggest hits to date, singles Love Drunk and Two Is Better Than One, a song which features and was co-written by Taylor Swift.
Their new album, Crazy World, is set for release on July 17, two days after their Star concert appearance.
Since becoming the first winner of reality TV show Singapore Idol in 2004, Taufik Batisah (right), 30, has earned himself numerous awards and a dedicated following of Fiknatics, as his fans are called.
His first album, Blessings, a compilation of his hits from the competition, such as Me And Mrs Jones and Superstition, was released in 2005 and sold over 20,000 copies within 20 days of its release.
Since then, the crooner has released three more albums in English and Malay.
The singer, who writes, arranges and produces many of his songs, has won particular acclaim for his Malay songs such as Usah Lepaskan, which won Most Popular Song (Singapore) at Anugerah Planet Muzik, the Malay music equivalent of the Grammys in 2007.
He also won Favourite Artiste Singapore at the MTV Asia Awards 2006 and the Most Popular Artiste Singapore for three consecutive years (2007 to 2009) at Anugerah Planet Muzik.
Though his last album, Suria Hatiku, was released in 2008, he promises to release two new albums, one in English and one in Malay, later this year.
Singer, actor, and event host Hady Mirza, 32, has been busy since he won 70 per cent of the vote to become Singapore Idol’s second season winner in 2006.
His self-titled debut album, Hady Mirza, released a few months after his Idol win, achieved platinum status, selling over 10,000 albums within four days.
The following year, he was crowned the first ever Asian Idol in a competition which pitted him against Idol winners from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, the Philippines and Vietnam.
That same year, Hady was voted Most Popular Artiste (Singapore) and his single Merpati was voted Most Popular Song (Singapore) at the Anugerah Planet Muzik awards.
In between writing and performing music, he has taken on acting, appearing in the Channel 5 drama series Sense Of Home, and also hosted a Suria travel show, Jelejah Kretapi.
He released his second album, Sang Penyanyi, in 2009, from which his first Malay single, Angkasa, was No. 1 for 29 weeks on Ria 89.7FM.
Hady has also taken a turn on stage, last year playing the lead role in Aladdin, a Wild Rice production.
And just last month, he released Betapa Berat Cintaku (The Depth Of My Love).
Home-grown, Taiwan-based Tanya Chua, 37, studied at CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School and Singapore Polytechnic. She began her career writing and singing in English in 1997 with the album Bored.
In 1998, Hear Me, one of her songs from the album, won her a $10,000 prize and recognition at the Asia Music Awards. She was the first Singaporean to ever win the award.
The win gave her the push to pursue music as her career and she went on to study music at Musicians Institute in Hollywood before she signed a record deal with Universal Music Taiwan in 1998.
She released her first Mandarin album, Breathe, in 1999. Since then she has written, sung, and produced songs for more than 10 English and Mandarin albums as well as for a number of other singers including Stefanie Sun and Faye Wong.
Chua’s singing and songwriting talents have won her numerous awards, including Best Female Singer at the 23rd Golden Melody Awards for Sing It Out Of Love in Taipei just a couple weeks ago.
It is the third time she has won the prestigious award in six years.
SPONSOR & ST BOOTHS
Be a good sport while you are having fun at the Star concert carnival – give your best wishes to Singapore Olympians. Two current and one former Singapore Olympian have set aside time to meet and greet concertgoers at the July 15 extravaganza.
They are paralympic equestrian riders Maximillian Tan, 24, Gemma Rose Foo, 16, who will represent Singapore in the upcoming Paralympic Games, and sprinter Calvin Kang, 22, who competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
You can catch them at The Straits Times Sports booth, where you will also have the chance to pit your athletic abilities against them… on a game of Wii.
The Sports booth is one of several that concertgoers can visit to get to better know their daily newspaper. At one booth, for example, concertgoers can get their photo taken and one of the Straits Times’ artists will draw in a cartoon background for each picture (top, right) at $10 a pop. They will be drawing caricatures(below, right) at the booth as well.
The newspaper’s photographers will take pictures of concertgoers which will be printed onto a mock Straits Times masthead as though their picture has made front page news. The caricature and masthead picture will cost $15 each.
All money collected at The Straits Times booths will be donated to the School Pocket Money Fund, which will have a carnival booth as well, selling memorabilia such as Blue Boy coin banks for $2 to $8.
There is more fun for newspaper readers too – in a contest where visitors write a headline for a picture. Writers of the top five humorous headlines on the day each win a $50 voucher.
If you need some headline tips, keep an eye out for Straits Times journalists Sumiko Tan, Rohit Brijnath and Tan Hsueh Yun, who will be mingling with concertgoers throughout the event.
Star Concert sponsors will have booths at the concert as well.
To mark The Straits Times’ 167th birthday, electronics giant Panasonic will be giving out 167 prizes in a lucky draw. Top prizes include a $2,599 Viera 42-inch TV, a fridge worth $1,099, an $899 washer, a $369 Blu-Ray player and a $199 Lumix camera. To enter, bring along an eco-pledge sticker from the front page of the July 15 The Sunday Times newspaper. Go to the Panasonic booth and write a personal pledge of how you will help protect the environment.
These will be pasted on a Panasonic pledge board and your contact information entered into the lucky draw. Winners of the five top prizes will be announced at the carnival.
Over at the Resorts World Sentosa booth, be greeted by a Durian mascot in honour of the RWS Durian Fest, an all-you-can-eat durian buffet at the Hard Rock Hotel at RWS on July 27 from 7 to 9pm and 9 to 11pm.
At the booth, you can collect durianshaped fans and information about RWS Invites, a non-casino loyalty programme. On sign-up, members will receive a welcome package which may include items such as a 60-minute massage worth $200 at the resort’s Espa wellness sanctuary.
The banks are also in on the carnival action, with Standard Chartered offering a goodie bag that includes a portable umbrella and $167 worth of dining vouchers, but only for its credit card-holders, while stocks last.
To redeem the goodie bag, download the Standard Chartered Good Life app to your iPhone or iPad and flash the app together with your credit card.
Visitors to the Singapore Flyer booth will get a sneak peek of its upcoming Halloween Fright Fest, a movie-themed Halloween experience at the Flyer over three weekends in October.
Car brand Volkswagen has an environmental drive at its Think Blue carnival booth, offering information on ways to boost car efficiency. This is one booth where taking a photo is not a snap – its camera needs to be fully charged and you have to get on a bike connected to a power generator to charge the battery.
But if all you really want to do is get into the concert spirit, merchandise such as posters and CDs for concert headliners 4Minute, Tanya Chua, Boys Like Girls and more will be on sale at carnival booths as well.
BEFORE YOU GO…
BY MRT: Alight at Bayfront station and take Exit B. Follow signs for the underground linkway to the Dragonfly Bridge and into Gardens by the Bay. Alternatively, alight at the Marina Bay MRT station and take exit A. From there, take bus number 400 and alight five stops later at the bus stop outside Marina Mall. Bay South Garden is right next to it.
ON FOOT: The Gardens by the Bay are a 10-minute walk from the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention centre by the Lions Bridge on level four. This connects to the Dragonfly Bridge which leads directly to the Gardens.
DRIVING: If coming from the east, go by the East Coast Parkway (ECP), take Exit 17A and turn left into Marina Place. Continue through to Marina Boulevard and turn left at Marina Gardens Drive.
If driving from the west, take Exit 17 off the ECP and turn right onto Central Boulevard. Then turn right onto Marina Station Road and then left onto Marina Street. Follow through onto Marina Boulevard and turn left at Marina Gardens Drive. An underground carpark is ahead. Note: parking space is limited.
BY SHUTTLE BUS: Twelve shuttle buses for ticket holders will run in a continuous loop between Marina Bay MRT station and The Meadow drop-off point from 3 to 11pm on July 15. Go to http://www.starevent.sg for more details.
WHAT TO BRING
This is a rain or shine event so plan accordingly. Fans, hats, umbrellas and sunglasses will help cool you on a sunny day. Sunscreen and bug spray are also advisable.
If it rains, bring umbrellas, ponchos and waterproof or washable shoes as the meadow is likely to become muddy. This is a free-standing outdoor concert. You can bring picnic mats or blankets to rest on. However, chairs, tents, tarp shelters, parasols and any installed objects that would obstruct the view of others are not allowed.
Do not bring your own food and drinks to the concert site. Only those bought from onsite vendors are permitted. Alcohol purchased at the concert venue cannot be taken outside.
There is no ATM so do bring enough cash for food and beverage purchases, though Standard Chartered credit card-holders will be able to use their card for purchases.
Leave valuables at home as there are no lockers. And be sure to pick up your goodie bag when you arrive at the Meadow. Goodies include an umbrella, a Resort World Sentosa fan, an SPH lightstick, corn chips and a Double Decker snack.