IN a globalized environment where McDonald’s is the star child, the music festival is the more attractive sibling. In fact, it’s the one which boasts a mind-numbing amount of friends, each one locked onto the latest trends with laser precision. Today, a large variety of music festivals continue to take place around the world, increasingly targeted towards the youth market.
Meanwhile in Malaysia, the effort gone into festival curation can mostly be seen in the assortment of food and beverage available at these events. Often boasting a line-up which bring to mind menu boards at fast food joints, limited musical options aren’t enough reason to discount the value of shared human experience. But frankly speaking, if you’ve come from miles away hungry to discover what Malaysian music is all about, it must be noted that the “Spicy McChicken” is merely an introductory offering into the countless flavours this land holds.
Food analogies aside, the thick aroma of hedonism permeating festival grounds remains a spectacle to behold; it cares little for human constructs.
Good Vibes was no exception as I arrived with the same demeanor as the space cake I ate hours prior to entering the festival grounds.Up to this point, I was practically in the dark of the performers and their set times for Day One. Admittedly, the only international artist I knew anything about was Ta-Ku. I arrived just on time for his set but as soon we got a spot in the Genting Highlands parking complex. A loud, thundering sound got my attention. The three of us wondered what it was except they really wanted to catch Ta-ku, so they went ahead to festival grounds.
The aural trail revealed itself slowly upon descending each floor until I found myself directly in the presence of a Chinese orchestra unlike anything I’ve ever heard. And it was magnetic. The month of the Hungry Ghost is something I’ve only experienced from an observable distance. Being able to witness it this closely was a blessing in disguise.
A rare instance of being around the presence of something great. Sorry, Ta-ku.
A good forty minutes had passed before it dawned on me how late I was. I briskly made my way towards the festival. The queues were long gone at the security checkpoint and I walked in confidently.
Time has shown little mercy in the eyes of the law (and friends). Getting pulled aside has become ritual at this point in my life but this time around I had nothing except my phone cable, a strip of Panadol and antiseptic cream.
The security guy and I both looked at each other and cracked up, then he continued gesturing me to the grounds. It was as if we were both surprised I had nothing on me.
The entrance was real close to the actual stage. Temper Trap was live and the front pit was well-filled. Further towards the middle was Asia Café 2.0, enhanced by its elevated platform and wide view of the stage — it seemed like a great idea to park my ass there. I enthusiastically get in line a good ten minutes only to find out that these bouncers were also my long-lost moral guardians.
I walked away without fuss, wondering how it must feel to be burdened by the personal choices of others who have no impact on your daily life. Heavy.
I decide to roam the festival grounds to see what else is up. There was a surprising amount of space between people, and queues were organized. New friendships were borne out of bathroom lines.
I didn’t get the opportunity to try the food but was casually reminded to stay away from the “shitty hot-dogs” while The 1975 kick off with a track reminiscent of Red Hot Chilli Peppers in the eighties, exchanging cock-sock antics for well-groomed funk.
I haven’t the slightest clue who these guys were but they were tight. I dig tight.
“Dude, they’re a boyband. Like One Direction,” said MiaoMiao.
I proceeded to be schooled on what’s hot with the 18-and-under crowd, inclusive of this band I’m enjoying guilt-free. My enjoyment of The 1975 was worthy of being tweeted.
When I met up with most of my male friends, they didn’t share the same view. But they were filled with loud praise for Two Door Cinema Club. No singalongs for me, and the singer looked like he came straight out the Weasley Family but they clearly resonated with the crowd.
Thinking the night was over, out comes Mark Ronson on the left stage with the energy of a chained bull. His energy was infectious and he sifted through genres and tempos so seamlessly I questioned my credibility as a DJ and why Malaysians get way too worked up over DJ’s switching styles. Mark Ronson was clear proof that letting go of your comfort zone and just vibing out can go a long way in the name of genuine fun.
People see you having the time of your life and they start gravitating towards that aura. Scheduling conflicts didn’t allow for me to attend Day Two, so this concluded my experience.
In an industry rife with conceited marketing, Good Vibes makes a simple promise: good fun, good music and good company. On those terms, I reckon they did pretty well.
For more information about Good Vibes Festival, make sure to check out their page.