So the biggest free music festival in town rolled in, the annual French music fest Fete Dela Musique, which was sponsored by Alliance Francaise, and this year it was held in Eastwood, Libis.
There were 120 bands spread out over 11 hours playing at about 7 (or more?) simultaneous venues. A sure ticket to hellish traffic, and nightmarish logistics. And true enough…
1. LOCATION PROBLEMS
The Electronica stage was at Big Kahuna, a bar on the 2nd floor of the building which houses Jack’s Loft and The Basement. Maganda na sana, but strangely enough, the stage was outdoors. Real smart move whoever thought that up because the main stage was in the center fountain area in the hub of Eastwood– exactly opposite from us. And what did we have to make sound with?
2. EQUIPMENT AND PEOPLE
We were given a mighty contingent of … 2 speakers, a mixer and several uncooperative and almost ignorant technicians. To combat the massive sound from the main stage, mind you. Fantastic. And to top it all off, our stage manager, a woman named Windy, was more concerned about having the acts there on time rather than having all the proper equipment for the artists to play on. Mark Laccay was already chewing her out for her lack of thoroughness. Sigh.
My take on the entire thing: whoever organized the stages decided to give the Electronica roster the LATAK of the equipment and technicians. I mean, the lights people were setting up only by the time I was leaving for Mass — at 6:00 PM with the sun already low in the sky!
3. INCLEMENT WEATHER
By about 10pm, it rained cats and dogs. And despite having some flimsy excuse for a tent, everything got wet and the electronica stage had to be moved indoors, where we had only the house sound system. Fantastic. The rain was so bad, the roof of the main stage collapsed under the weight of the water and hit two friends Lourd de Veyra and his brother Francis.
Anyway. I was there by about 4 pm and already the traffic outside was bad. I was hoping to get a soundcheck but it was too late for that. Besides, since there was no space for all of us to spread out our gear (like last year), it meant we would only be able to set up right before we played.
I ended up being the emcee host for the first 4 acts. Got to catch the downtempo jazz of Trip M, the new wave electro of Bagetsafonic, the prog house of Neon8 and a little bit of Brian Cua’s house magic, before having to leave to play for Mass at Edsa Shrine. I had time to kill afterwards. Anyway, CLONE was set to play at the ungodly hour of 1:40 AM.
So I watched Dawn of the Dead at Galeria and shrieked with the audience at every surprise shot, freaking out at the pregnant woman scene, and thoroughly enjoying the hopelessness of their end-of-the-world situation as a parallel to my present depression with my wife returning to the States. I thought that by killing time in Galeria, I would bypass the traffic that was sure to congest Libis with the Fete event going on. I was mistaken.
By 11pm, I took a cab down Ortigas and turned left into C-5 only to get caught smack dab in the most massive traffic jam I’d ever been in. Cars were literally crawling forward every 5 minutes or so. I exited the cab and decided to walk — from around the Builder’s Depot halfway between C5 and Jollibee. The rain had momentarily stopped and so i felt it was better to walk than be forced to pay P100 for a traffic jam. And it was there that I saw two of the most surreal sights of the year:
SURREAL SIGHT 1:
A flatbed truck filled to the brim with jologs hitching a ride out towards C5– all of them chanting with laughter and smiles: “Eddie Gil! Eddie Gil! Eddie Gil!”
SURREAL SIGHT 2:
At a corner where there was a small puddle, a small trio of jologs were pointing towards the puddle and snapping their fingers. In the puddle, a dead fish. Not a fried fish either, but a fresh fish which looked like it had come straight from the river. Weird!
Got to Big Kahuna by about 12 am to find that the stage had been moved to the bar instead of the outdoor area it had been at earlier. Karlo was still on his way and combatting the massive traffic I had passed by on foot. Silverfilter was playing his usual long set. After which Dayuhan set up for their ambi-ethnic sound. Then Morse and their live collab with Caliph8.
Unfortunately, it was 2 AM and Fete was asking all stages to close down for the night. So we were given a choice by Cyril: either play after Morse in which case tig-15 minutes na lang kami. Or not play na lang. We opted to forego the hassle of setting up pa and playing for a mere 15 minutes. We let Morse play their hearts out for their full 30 minutes or so.
Suddenly I was glad I was 33. Suddenly I was glad I’d watched Dawn Of The Dead. Otherwise I may have let loose the immature child-devil-spoiled-artist within me and broken stuff. Which I HAVE done in the past. But I promised myself: no more. Spoiled behavior is for the immature and the pre-teens. As some sort of consolation, Cyril asked CLONE to play at Temple Bar on Monday.
Heading home with Karlo, I seriously seriously wanted to shout obscenities at everyone on the road. Depression due to separation anxiety and frustration due to a canceled gig do not mix well within me. But I do what I can to remind myself that I am an adult with manners rather than a brute with too much testosterone and anger.