I guess the first photo is enough to give you an impression what really went on at Smiles In The Park 2015. Before I go deeper into the topic, I need you to know this isn't my typical way of writing about a music festival. Normally I would only say nice things to show support for the music event I go to. However, this time I think it's important just to tell truth so that you can judge and decide for yourself whether you will want to attend this particular music fest in the future. I'm not trying to condemn the event organisers or sponsors nor performers because I know this event was meant to help the Orang Utan conservation. Whatever I'm writing right here right now, just take it as constructive criticism. This is my honest opinion and what I experienced at Smiles Music Festival (I don't know why they had a few names for this event, making it too many hashtags to type in Instagram).
I went to SITP with my cousin and friends. We may look like a group of undergrads but in real life we're working adults. But yeah, people nowadays love to judge you from the look. You can observe that from the way some security dudes staring suspiciously at you. Guys, we don't do drugs okay. We may come with tees, short pants and flip-flops but never let that appearance cloud your judgement. Besides, there was no dress code mentioned anywhere in the rules and regulations.
We were the earliest to arrive at Sarawak Cultural Village on the first day. Frankly, I felt like I had the whole concert to myself! The tickets said we could go in at 5pm but there was no information regarding the showtime. This is an area where the organisers should work on, provide the festival-goers with programme details. So, we went to the Yumecon Cosplay Convention area as we had nothing to do. I don't think I need to justify any further what happened when we arrived at the "convention". This was the same crowd we saw throughout the 2-days event at SITP.
Then, we decided to go to the Iban Longhouse when we saw the Carlsberg banners. So, we sat there chilling out, drinking and chatting with the host of the first day event. We couldn't think of a better way to kill time.
We made a move when we heard DJ Kiyoshi calling out for festival-goers to gather in front of the stage. That was already a few minutes passed 8 o'clock. We thought there was going to be a huge crowd since we had been chilling out at the longhouse for couple of hours. The photo below showed the crowd who attended the first day of SITP, probably around 50 people? There were more staff than party people honestly.
No matter what, the show must go on. Sada Borneo did the opening show. We were stoked to watch their performance since these boys had made it to the semi-final of Asia Got Talent. I must say they were really, really entertaining! I love their songs, hopefully the band will make an effort to record them in an album. They didn't disappoint us at all. For the rest of the night, we were also entertained by K-Town Clan, Sonaone, DJane Geri, DJ Leng Yein, DJ Jakeman & Skeletor. I won't lie the first day was really fun although it rained when Sonaone performed. It stopped when it was DJ Ling Yein's turn to spin. The first day also felt more like an EDM concert since all the DJs spin much, much longer than those who sang. It was like an hour of singing and three hours of EDM. This whole experience was truly a 'private party'. Apart from that, I also want to give two thumbs up for the stage lighting, stage screen and sound system. They crew did an awesome job there.
On the second day of SITP we reached SCV at 6.30pm and guess what, we were still among the earliest to arrive! Pity the cameraman sitting there alone. At this point, we were already wondering if the crowd could be any larger than the first day. Well, the crowd on the second day was approximately 100 - 150 people. Not kidding you, but it was obvious they were Datuk Sheila Majid's lifelong fans. A few of them came all the way from KL and one of the fans, Jason (if I'm not mistaken), had to ask for his doctor's permission to be at the Queen of Jazz show. That's a real diehard fan there.
I didn't take photos of artistes who performed on the second day, except for Datuk Sheila Majid. I will talk more about her show in the next blog. The reason why I didn't take photos of Jambu, Mark Adam, Waris, Shae, Qierra or Diana Liu because I wasn't into the artistes. Besides, I wasn't in the mood due to the double standard practised by those on duty at the entrance, especially the security. This was my first time getting pissed off at a music event by a petty issue. It was about the clear/transparent bag we used to carry our precious items. I knew about the rules but why the double standard and worse, one of the security dude called us "SUCKS"! Yes, I heard it. Has it ever crossed your mind that the festival-goers are the people who paid for your wages? I've been to some music events and this was the most vulgar, unfriendly, unkind and unhelpful security force I've ever encountered. If I knew which company who rendered the security service, I would name it here as my blog is google-able. JFYI, I've blogged for both local and international events and artistes before.
You want to call us sucks just because we questioned your double standard? One of the rules clearly stated no bags allowed. Well, we saw some people without tags, just normal festival-goers like us, carried their sling bags or handbags everywhere they went. When the security denied our access just because of the size of bag we carried, we began to question them. All we had inside the clear/transparent bag were tickets, wallets and car keys! Then, they said we might carry drugs with us, WTH! So, here's the bag... I'm gonna show you. Do you see any harmful substance inside? Come on, we all know we still can have fun at music festival without alcohol and drugs okay.
They didn't allow us to enter just because of the size, I was like SERIOUSLY? Try to compare it to those who carried their backpacks, handbags and sling bags, who is more likely to smuggle illegal substance? Did you even bother to ask us why we carried this bag? On the first day our electronic gadgets and our precious items were already soaked in the rain, so was it wrong for us to protect them? Never forget this is an outdoor event. Besides, who on earth want to leave all the valuable items in the car? Can we claim from you if our car is smashed or stolen?
Instead of being rude, you could have offered to keep the bag safely at the counter so that we could collect it after the event. In the end they allowed us in after we took out our belongings and left the empty clear bag at the counter. How ridiculous was that? I remembered the last thing the lady said she actually did keep some bags for the festival-goers, why didn't you mention it at the beginning? Or else this whole bag drama can be avoided.
Based on my experience, what I can suggest is that you prepare the clear plastic bag for those who wish to leave their belongings at the entrance for safe keeping. Or you can wrap them in a zip bag and label it. You may also issue a receipt with numbers and owner's particulars written on it. It will make your job easier when it comes to returning the festival-goers' belongings. At least we can enjoy ourselves at the festival without having to worry things get stolen or missing. Besides, it also prevents other people from trying claim items which don't belong to them. Calling people SUCKS isn't going to solve your problem. It will surely cost you the publicity of this event instead. I'm saying this not to show I disregard all of your efforts to organise such a huge event for a good cause, but you also need to mind your professionalism and hospitality which will also affect your ticket sales in the future. The photo below points the obvious which security guy who spewed that foul word.
Those who were selling food at the "foodcourt", I wonder how much did they earn? So much leftover I bet. Clearly the staff, volunteers, security and others were outnumbering festival-goers. One more thing, I felt sorry when Tuku Kame said "Kamek orang sik kisah berapa orang jak nangga persembahan sebab setiap orang ada sepasang mata, ramei lah ya." I wonder why you let them performed at 6.30pm when it was better at 7.30pm onwards. I think there were about 10 people watching their show? I know they can be really entertaining because I watched them performed at RWMF.
With this little crowd who mainly came for Datuk Sheila Majid's show, performers on the second day had to beg the audience to sing or dance along to their songs except for Diana Liu. She had the crowd cheering for her at the end of each song. Her jazz music was good, even in Mandarin. I know the singers need the energy or vibes from the crowd, but you can't deny festival-goers have their own personal preferences when it comes to music genre. You can't blame us if we are not into Justin Bieber or Elton John. The vibes you get from the crowd are their direct response to your music, it's either they enjoy it or they don't. There's no need to jump off the stage just to get the festival-goers' attention, it's dangerous considering the lawn is wet. Just look at Datuk Sheila Majid, it was effortless for her to get the crowd sang along and she obviously enjoyed performing for them too.
I hope with whatever I have written in this particular blog post, you guys will learn something. There are rooms for improvement. Will I recommend this event to other people? I'll let them be the judge themselves. The tix ain't cheap too. It costs almost the same price as one-day RWMF pass. I won't say 'yes' or 'no'. Personally for me it all depends on who performs or perhaps just for the sake of charity (if you have a lot of money). Last but not least, I beg all music event organisers, please don't impose too much rules in your event because they take away the 'fun'. I understand you want to ensure everyone's safety, but have you read the recent article about the test results of those who died at FMFA? The main cause of death is HEATSTROKE. So, better sell drinking water at a cheaper price. Lastly, let us bring our cameras because good photos on our social medias also mean you're getting good review and extensive publicity. As long as there's no nudist, we're all good!