Musicians, venues cheer return of live performances in Singapore but call for changes in industry

SINGAPORE: As he ready to take the stage at a bistro in Punggol Marina Nation Membership, Mr Charles Wong took a go searching him and felt a palpable sense of adrenaline.

“I used to be very nervous,” the guitarist of native acoustic band Anchorblanc recalled of his first night time again at dwell performing.

The setting was not unfamiliar and Mr Wong knew precisely what to do, having put up numerous of gigs at bars and eating places for nearly a decade. But, there was a surreal feeling that night time as he took the stage earlier than a crowd – after a tough two years with dwell leisure banned because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. However lastly, we’re again,” he stated.

The viewers was additionally an brisk bunch, singing together with the band and waving flashlights from their cellphones, recalled the band’s vocalist Ferlyn Chen.

“I suppose in addition they missed listening to dwell music, in order that they had been actually excited. At one level, it felt like we had been singing at our live performance,” she stated.

It was an identical expertise for homegrown band Roseville after they carried out at Timbre X S.E.A at The Arts Home on Mar 29, the primary day that dwell gigs made a comeback.

“The second I stepped onto the stage, I stated very quietly into the mic: ‘We’re again’ and the group began cheering,” stated Mr Seah Ze Wen, who performs the guitar.

“That’s vitality that you may’t really feel over the display screen and it felt so good.”


The dwell music scene first got here to a standstill in end-March 2020 when leisure venues needed to be shut as a part of pandemic management measures. Little did the small trade count on the cessation of gigs to final for 2 years, leaving musicians grappling with the realisation that their livelihoods had vanished.

Roseville’s vocalist Lim Enya stated many musicians felt “cancelled”. “It is not simply in regards to the earnings, it is also about what you do being part of your identification.”

Ms Audrey Lim, a voiceover artist and freelance host and entertainer, stated whereas folks understood the necessity to chip in and chew the bullet at the beginning of the pandemic, being always omitted from the reopening checklist finally bought “very disheartening”.

“There was somewhat bit of monetary assist which helped, however even that had an uneven quantity of take-up as a result of individuals who wanted that assist had been generally not in a position to entry it,” she stated, citing conversations in a Telegram chat group for musicians that she began.

“What I feel lots of people don’t realise is that performers aren’t hobbyists by and huge. Most of us are professionals with mortgages and dependents, and it is fairly taxing to be informed: ‘Oh for 2 years, you’re simply structurally unemployed’.”

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