I’m arriving early at the Pasong Tamo Extension area because, after finding out that both the independent and acoustic stages were starting at exactly the same time, I think it would be best to have coffee, lunch, and some bit of a breather before diving in.
Yesterday I likened some stages to the kind of top-flight football team you’d find in, say, the English Premier League. The two Green Sun stages, from recent experience, have squarely fallen into that category even before the day itself. They are the Anfield and Old Trafford of this event. Both draw large audiences and have lineups that are of great interest for those who are tracking the key buzz acts in Manila’s music landscape. There is much more to say, for instance, about some of the incongruities: we have yet to resolve, for instance, whether mode of production or aesthetic defines what independent music is. Then again, much time has been spent, most notably at past Cinemalaya congresses, on precisely that topic with respect to film. In 2012, I recall telling a film curator that it was a pointless discussion. He agreed, saying that if we used the mode of production criterion, most mid-sized US films were effectively “independent,” the role of the majors being primarily distribution.
That sounds no different, I suspect, from what seems to be going on with some of the acts at the Axon space, but I need to do a bit more research on that front.
My next two stops will be the acoustic and eclectic/art stages. The acoustic stage used to have solo pole position when it came to starting Fete. However, with Reese Lansangan’s 2:30 pm start at Green Sun, Clara Benin will be sharing the distinction of being the first act to play, this time at the coworking space’s fifth floor gallery. The acoustic stage this year should prove to be fun for those who are into that singer-songwriter thing. For me, though, this is essentially a return to my roots as a live music viewer. The unspoken legacy of Folk U continues to echo in the music I have grown to love over the years.
Meanwhile, Aly Cabral encouraged me to catch her solo act at Lokal Hostel’s roof deck. Upon examining the lineup at that stage, and indeed some of the others, I was not surprised that here we were seeing something different. If I could use another analogy, that of major film festivals, Green Sun is to Toronto or Sundance as Lokal Hostel is to, say, Locarno or Karlovy Vary or even Slamdance. The experimental stage at Pineapple Lab may very well be like Rotterdam. Figure that out.
The bedroom beats stage may well be one of the final stops, but given that it is at the Belle and Dragon, it may be noisier than most that the vibe may be lost in the hubbub. I’m wondering, given the huge miscalculation the organizers made in giving a pretty small space to what is one of the emerging performing art forms here, whether it is still worth a detour to the Salcedo area for spoken word. I have already spoken to an Alliance rep about one of the possible options that should have been canvassed when the independent stage moved to Green Sun. Given Words Anonymous’s familiarity with that place and their ties to the stage happening across from their usual spot there, it would have been a no-brainer. Then again, I do hope they can pull it off, and hindsight is usually 100% accurate.
Well, that is it for now. I may post notes throughout the day as internet access allows.