Urbanscapes is in its twelfth year running, having featured the likes of our generation’s indie movers and shakers such as Sigur Ros (the first international act they brought in for their tenth anniversary), Tegan and Sara, Franz Ferdinand and Efterklang.
Needless to say, with its relocation to Genting Highlands, last weekend was a lot to take in – the chilly climate, various art forms to engage in, better retail offerings and some 2,000 chickens from Nandos lending our beer bellies (thanks to Tiger) some sense.
There seems to be no better way to describe Urbanscapes than with the word HAPPENING. With every step, we’re met with a thousand forms of fun. Here are some of our favourites:
1. Local, Regional and International Bands
With music being the main draw of this day-long arts fiesta, the lineup is of utmost significance. This year’s stars include Local Natives, Kimbra, The Lemonheads and Jagwar Ma.
The festival also prides itself in being a platform for Malaysian and regional acts, which explains how Singapore’s bluesy rock outfit Cashew Chemists secured a place in this year’s lineup. Obedient Wives Club, Plainsunset and In Each Hand A Cutlass have also graced the Urbanstage (oh yes we did), reppin’ our beloved lion city.
Malaysian music producer OJ Law played a particularly commendable set so we’ve been falling back on his tunes whenever a dose of cheery indie electro rock is in order.
2. Participating > Spectating
There was an unforgettable section dedicated to pure experimentation set up by Market of Experiences, and festival attendees were welcome to be a part of it all.
Nostalgic reinterpretations of childhood food by The Kitchen Table put them at the top of our Must Visit When In KL list. This was porridge with ikan bilis powder and coriander puree, and there was also ice kachang in the form of coconut whipped cream and syrup swirled in a savoury crisp cone.
They’ve also beat us at actualising Oreo Nachos. And these don’t cost a cent! We were more than happy to be guinea pigs at their quirky makeshift food lab.
3. Festival-Exclusive Buys for Real Cheap
We’re (sort of) proud to be hoarders of Urbanscapes spoils that can’t be found elsewhere, in terms of price and rarity. Some great online shops to check out – Kinky Blue Fairy, Robe Du Jour and Sole Pimp.
Sole Pimp’s impressive collectible sneaker stash. This is when every sneakerhead wishes for an ATM machine on festival grounds some 5,000 feet above civilisation.
What we love most about Urbanscapes is that one post isn’t enough to recount on a full day’s activities. Moving ahead from rather unfortunate past occurrences, their dream didn’t downsize (though everything was more compact, thank goodness. More punch!) but instead, they’re striving to be the music and art extravaganza they’ve promised. It’s quite frankly a festival where anyone can have enormous fun if you decide to hunt down the very thing that tickles your fancy.
Political satire within art?
Explosive personality and beautiful people at every corner and turn?
Quality, pride and diversity in their craft?
Last but definitely not least – Current and future world-renowned musicians within earshot?
With that, it’s safe to say Urbanscapes has taken everything a notch higher. Days of furious itching from caterpillar hair, heartbreaking no-shows and running end to end to catch clashing sets are way behind us. They’ve had us looking ahead, above (literally), and now we’re understandably excited for what’s stewing at Malaysia’s Largest Music and Art Festival in the coming years.
Official photo credit: All Is Amazing