Photos by Andrea Genota
At a gargantuan festival like Fete, things can get hella overwhelming. With 52 sonically diverse pocket stages, you’d wish catching a glimpse of each stage was as easy as a game of hopscotch.
Needless to say, as much as I wanted to catch ‘em all, I knew I couldn’t. In the true spirit of Fête, I treated my itinerary and go-to’s like quests; bearing through the heat, squeezing through tight doorways, gig-hopping from one crowded establishment to another — all for that Fete magic.
Happening a day before the actual festivities, I caught the Globe Fete Main Stage at A-Venue last June 21, which presented an all-star line-up that made it hard for me to believe that what I was about to witness was all for free. Among the acts were Anima Tierra, Bawal Clan, Dicta License, and French DJ-Producer Sae.
[READ: Bawal Clan wants to represent the Philippines in the world of hip-hop]
My favorite act was the stellar #GlobeFete 25 Production Number that it included a star-studded ensemble of artists that delivered a jam-packed medley of OPM greats, spanning from Awitin Mo At Isasayaw Ko, to recent pop sensations like Buwan. It started and ended with a full-brass band marching around the crowd, as well as a beautifully choreographed piece from Flow Arts PH.
Another notable part of the show was watching Unique get right to his performance by serenading the audience with a stripped-down version of Mundo—an “oh shit” moment for stans (such as myself!) to finally witness live.
[READ: Unique makes his mark]
Moving on from perhaps the easiest stage I could catch, I braced myself for what was to come and prepared a sort of mental op-sched, jotting down must-sees in my head. Equipped with the handy Fete PH App, tons of water and a fully-charged power bank, I kickstarted the night’s festivities with the Sony Stage at Pedro’s Tap House, catching the acoustic-pop band Kithara before performing with my own band.
Night being young, I decided to make a quick stop at the Greenbelt Main Stage with the hopes of finally hearing The Ransom Collective’s newest single live. No thanks to the merciless Makati traffic, I missed their set by just a couple of minutes. Nonetheless, getting there wasn’t a complete loss as I got to discover a new artist; a soulful performance from Project Yazz x Skarlet Brown compelled me to stay and finish their set before heading back to Poblacion to catch more pocket stages.
A long car ride and a tiring sprint later, I found myself lining up to get in one of the more highly anticipated stages; the Bedroom Beats Stage at Yoi. Their roster of artists had consistently packed a punch, ranging from powerhouses and renowned producers in the local scene to first-time Fete performers. This generous mix of genre-fluid musicians was what had always made the stage a worthy pit-stop to my Fete-tinerary, despite its long lines.
Yoi essentially housed two stages; the Alpha Stage which took place in the main room, and to its far corner the Omega Stage, which had a cool infinite wall making for a trippy stop. In the Alpha Stage, I was able to catch artist-producer Ahju$$i, using his Guitar Hero controller to navigate through his soundboard, and delivering recreated sounds from childhood video games all the way to K-Pop favorites.
I was also lucky to have caught the set from upcoming dream pop artist, Grrl Cloud; a Fete first-timer that sounded just how anyone would imagine her name suggests. Gentle in every sense of the word, Grrl Cloud’s performance proved that she wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable through her lyrics, gracing the packed room with songs like teenage lullabies.
Crowds, long lines, and a whole lot of walking: Fete isn’t Fete if you don’t sweat.
After her performance, I went straight back into the Fete grind and headed to the Open Format Stage at The Apartment. . Here, I was able to catch electro-pop artist Earl of Manila for the first time, hearing tunes that reminded me of early 00’s R&B, with catchy hooks that rang through my mind for the rest of the night (and to this day, really).
A few drinks later, I left The Apartment and found my way to the quiet streets of General Luna for the Limbo Stage. The ambient sounds of Gentle Universe made for a tranquil atmosphere to the bar-turned-art gallery, and got me to clear my mind and relax from my exhausting merry-go-round all over Makati.
As the night was coming to a close, I knew the journey wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the End Stage at Dulo. Known for being a gig staple in Makati amongst the likes of Saguijo, there was no doubt that Dulo would be one of the more packed, sweat-inducing stages of the festival. And it was.
Nonetheless, if that’s not something you’re that squeamish about (like me), then you would have been in for a ride. Having caught sets from Wanderband 2018 winner Basically Saturday Night and LaCrema De La Crema, this stage didn’t fall short on energy.
Star studded: This year’s Fete welcomed old and new acts from the local music scene.
On top of that (literally), lies a more laid-back stage, showcasing a number of DJ sets, accompanied by flashy visuals from Tengal, and eye-catching art pieces from Sherlaine Yap and Tokwa Peñaflorida.
[READ: The newest Wanderbattle winner is bringing back Saturday night fever]
Like a trainer on his way to get his final gym badge, I decided to use what energy I had left in me to end my Fete in the Boom Bap Stage at Boogie and the Groove Stage at NoKal, concluding a nigh as tiring just as it was magical.
More than catching your favorite acts and discovering new artists, there was something euphoric about wandering through an ever so busy Poblacion, knowing everyone is there for the same reason as you are. With music reverberating from every corner of the street, you can’t help but feel like a lost kid in an amusement park, eager to try all the rides.
This to me was the “It” factor of Fete. My phone battery accepted defeat, and my clothes turned shades darker, but hey, t’was worth it!