Singapore hosts several major music festivals around the year, and they mostly focus on different genres of music. Early in the year, usually in March, is the Mosaic Music Festival held at various performing spaces at the Esplanade. An annual 10-day long music festival, it features both local and overseas acts. The Mosaic Music Festival started out as a jazz and world-music festival, but has expanded to include folk, rock, ska, R&B and more. More than half the performances are free, generally, but tickets won’t break the bank either.
Fans of great music should not miss Timbre Rock & Roots held in March or April. A two-day evening festival held at the Marina Promenade, it features world-class musicians and Grammy Awards winners and nominees.
In May and June, there’s the Singapore Arts Festival. It encompasses visual and performing arts, and has plenty for music lovers to enjoy. The programme changes every year so pick up a programme booklet or check out the official website for dates, venues and specific performances.
To plug into the indie scene, there’s Baybeats, a three day festival usually held in August or September. The focus this time is on local and regional acts, and Baybeats actively promotes home-grown bands. Genres span folk, rock, pop, metal, post-rock, emo, punk and electro. Baybeats also offers young local photographers, designers and writers opportunities to participate and develop their talents. All performances are free, so head on down to the stages at the Esplanade.
For those who like dance and club music, ZoukOut is the party to be at. Held in December every year, internationally renowned and award-winning DJs descend upon Sentosa’s Siloso Beach to DJ for one of Asia’s biggest dance music festivals.
Bars, Pubs, Lounges and Cafes
For smaller and more intimate settings, there are plenty of bars, pubs, lounges and even cafes that feature live bands and open mic nights. Clarke Quay is at a great location and is full of pubs, bars and lounges, many of which have resident live bands that start their sets after 10pm. Check out the specific establishments for details. To get to Clarke Quay, just take the North East MRT to Clarke Quay station.
If you’re in Chinatown, Crazy World Café on Temple Street has open mic nights and performances. They also carry a carefully curated selection of merchandise which are made or designed by local talents as well as books by local writers. They sometimes run small exhibitions in the cozy space too.
Actors the Jam Bar along South Bridge Road is a jam bar that invites patrons to perform on their stage. They open at 6pm until late, and are closed on Sundays. Every night has a different theme, ranging from blues and rock to the Beatles. Saturday’s Latin Night even opens up the floor for dance.
For music by the sea in a chilled out environment, Siloso Beach in Sentosa offers beachfront bars and restaurants. Getting to Sentosa is easy – you can take the MRT to Harbourfront Station and either walk over via the Sentosa Boardwalk or take the Sentosa Express. You can also take a cable car over!