“Can I take a picture of your shoes?”
I was startled by the question from the female half of the Thai couple I had just met. But when I looked at their feet, I realised that what she asked wasn’t that bizarre. She, her husband and I had the same shoes, only in different colours. We are the same, but different. As in footwear, we are one in speaking the universal language of music.
Words: Abby Yao Photography: Irvin Hanni
It’s no surprise that when Future Music Festival Asia returned to Sepang International Circuit last weekend, it attracted not only music fans from Malaysia but what could well be the most international crowd for a musical event in the country so far.
At the two-day Dia de Los Muertos-themed party, droves of festivalgoers were very much alive and dancing. True to the spirit of Mexico’s Day of the Dead, some arrived in wide-brimmed hats and skeleton accessories. Native American headdresses also seemed to be in season, as did the unholy assortment of St Patrick’s Day leprechaun hats, national flags, bare chests and belly buttons. In a place where life jackets with whistles and lens-free hipster specs are acceptable and going down an emergency slide is actually encouraged, the idea of silliness simply did not exist and the fashion police decided not to show up.
When the World Says “Hurry Up, Come On Over”
Line-ups like FMFA’s don’t come every year, so few had to think twice before snapping up passes. The Thai couple I met on the first night of FMFA, for example, had gone as far as Europe to catch their music idols and had also been to last year’s festival. How could they not come back this time, when the world’s number one DJ Armin van Buuren would be playing on the first night of FMFA?
A State of Trance 600 Kuala Lumpur, the seventh stop in the trance god’s 12-city expedition, celebrated the 600th episode of his radio show. An undulating sea of over 20,000 people was in a state of pure bliss under the sliver of a silver moon at Southeast Asia’s largest electronic dance music event. Even more were watching the rave party unfold on their screens through live streaming video.
My collection of LED festival giveaways didn’t grow that night, but everyone wanted to shine with everything from bright bows reminiscent of Minnie Mouse to red AirAsia Insure armbands. If you wanted to offload some baggage instead of amassing tiny blinkers, you could share your deepest, darkest thoughts, Post Secret-style on lit balloons that appeared like art installations in the night sky.
A little afternoon rain failed to dampen spirits the following day, as four stages competed for festivalgoers’ attention.
For a festival with such a forward-looking name, it was cool to have a nostalgic throwback to 90’s hip hop with East Coast trios De La Soul and Naughty By Nature at the Gnome Stage, right across a pool which had music of its own.