The People of IGNITE! Music Festival

By Nellie Qistina & Judith Ann Kumar

This year, IGNITE! will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary! Who would have thought a student-run festival could come this far, right? That's why we're going to feature five of our #IGNITEBESTCREWEVER and find out what they have to say about this festival that is close to their hearts.

JEREMY LEOW, Executive (Programming & Production Coordinator) at RP & Alumni

I would reckon I am one of the few that can proudly say that I was part of IGNITE! for the last decade. I’ve been involved in IGNITE! since 2008 when it was held beside TRCC and when we had 2 stages!


As the Project Manager for the Video Publications team as well as an IGNITE! Crew since Day 1, what are your goals for #IGNITEMF10? are they different from the past?

I think the ultimate goal personally for me is to have IGNITE! grow to be THE PREMIERE local music festival in Singapore. We started from the bottom, now we are here.


Have your views of IGNITE! & the local music scene changed over the years? What do you think of them now?

The local music scene has definitely changed in the last decade. No one cared about local music back then. It was very underground and grunge and that was where IGNITE! had its identity. But increasingly with the different genres which our local artistes are branching out to, our IGNITE! identity has also shifted. We are heading in the right direction in music in Singapore. We are not there yet, but we are getting there.


What are some of the differences and similarities between your very first IGNITE! and now? (in terms of tasks/roles/how you feel)

Well, back then, I was a student. Now, I am a staff. To be perfectly honest, added stress and responsibility. But it’s all good! It pushes me to be better and also push my team to do things differently. Things I wanted to do as a student back then for videos, I can implement it now. Back then, I always told my advisors and team, “I really wish we had a helicopter shot…” and for the past three years we have been using drones to cover our main stage! That is really working technology into what we are doing!



I joined as a marketing/campaigns crew member and guerrilla in 2014. Eventually, I climbed up the ladder and am now the Village Operations Secretariat!


What is your most memorable IGNITE! memory?

In 2014 we had Ramly Burger at our festival village. Who doesn’t love Ramly Burger? It’s like having a Pasar Malam in school!


As Village Operations Secretariat, what are your goals for #IGNITEMF10? Are they different from the past?

My goal at the time was to complete the festival well, since I already knew what to do and how to go about it, having shadowed the previous year’s secretariat.

My main focus is to extend a lifeline to my juniors whenever they need it. I always try to help the rest, so that they are comfortable and not too overwhelmed by the workload that comes with IGNITE! Especially since I am alumni, whilst most of the secretariats are still students. Juggling these roles alongside school is no joke, so I always try to encourage them so that they can fulfill their duties to the best of their potential. If you nurture the future, the future will be fine.

Why should people come to IGNITE! Music Festival?

It’s the entire experience that you can’t miss. How can a team made up of solely students, put up a show of this scale successfully for the past decade? Most patrons that attend only look at it as a music gig and compare it to other festivals because of its professionalism. But when they learn that it is a student-driven event, that’s when they go ‘Wow!’ because it’s something different. That’s the point of IGNITE!  - it’s not just about the band lineup, but like our tagline says - Passion and Compassion: A passion for the arts and the compassion to work together to put on a successful show!


ANG YI SI, Alumni

My journey with IGNITE! started back in 2013 as a Fringe Event Student Producer and Festival Site Operations Assistant. From that day forward, I've never looked back. I became the Festival Secretariat in 2014, followed by Alumni Advisor in 2015 and 2016.


What is your most memorable IGNITE! memory?

My most memorable IGNITE! definitely got to be 2014! As the Festival Secretariat, I was heavily involved in IGNITE! I would say, literally eat, live, breathe and sleep with IGNITE! I love it especially when you see the school is 'painted' red with our signature IGNITE! tapes announcing to the whole school that IGNITE! is back AGAIN and when the tech crew plays Hokkien song over the speakers signifying the end of IGNITE!/start of teardown!


Have your views of IGNITE! & the local music scene changed over the years? What do you think of them now?

I’d say the main change is in the genre of bands and music that is featured on our main stage. Back when I first started, the popular genre was rock and hardcore, so we featured bands such as A Vacant Affair, Caracal and West Grand Boulevard. Now however, the type of music that is more widely accepted is a complete 180* from what it used to be. Chill, easy to listen to tracks are popular, and the sounds that the bands in 2013 used to provide are being phased out slowly. It’s a little sad, but I do understand why people are more accepting of this type of music these days. I just really miss the heavier tones. But Tiramisu is back this year as well, so that’s something to look forward to!


As an Alumni Secretariat, what are your goals for #IGNITEMF10? Are they different from the past?

I would say that our goal has never changed since Day 1 of IGNITE! Music Festival.
It's a student-driven festival where we promote the local music scene through youth volunteerism. It's also a platform where students are exposed to industry standards. Thus, able to utilise what they've learnt in class and, also learn and work with professionals.


Why should people come to IGNITE! Music Festival?

Where else can you get 16 local acts in one place for FREE?! Nuff’ said.


KEITH LIM KENJI, Year 2 Diploma in Integrated Events Management student


Then: Artiste Liaison Officer (2016)

Now: Marketing Secretariat (2017)

I didn’t know about IGNITE! until last year and I was about ‘polytechnic - new life, new me’. So I just pushed myself to do everything and took up every event, including IGNITE! Music Festival.


How has the experience of working on the festival been so far?

Overall, it has been a fun experience because you get to take part in everything such as all the marketing campaigns and it was very heartwarming to see one big student cluster doing crazy things together. I love the people that I’ve been working with! Although it can be a tad bit stressful at times having to juggle school and going for countless of meetings because marketing is a pretty big segment, but it’s good!


What did you expect from IGNITE! before joining the team? Is it any different from how you feel now?

Before taking up this role, I was told that it wasn’t going to be easy so I was hyping up and telling myself that I’m ready to take on this role, I’m ready to give my best and afterwards when I actually started my responsibilities as marketing secretariat. I think I am handling the role quite well, with four departments to handle and with it being the 10th anniversary.


Would you join the team again if you had the chance to? Why?

Definitely! I think we have a really, really fun team. Any role would be fine but I definitely want to try marketing again because I think that in marketing, you get to experience everything.


NIKHITA GANESH, Year 2 Diploma in Mass Communication student

I started coming to IGNITE! since 2010. So, it’s safe to say that I knew IGNITE! when the crowd was mainly just RP students. To me, it is almost comparable to the F1 Grand Prix concert. So, from that day I had already made up my mind, that when I join RP, I will definitely be part of the team.

How has the experience of working on the festival been so far?

It has definitely been very stressful collating all the band information and ensuring that there are no discrepancies in them. I also have to manage the group of ALOs under me who are mostly freshmen and have not been involved in IGNITE! before. So basically, for now, I am handling more on the admin side and ensuring that my ALOs know what to do. Closer to the date there will definitely be a lot more stress and a lot of running around to do!


Would you recommend your peers to join the team/ attend the festival?

Of course! IGNITE! is a unique festival in Singapore! There are no festivals out there in Singapore that solely promotes local artistes. IGNITE! is a family. It may be a stressful, tiring, frustrating journey but it will be filled with unforgettable memories that you will cherish for life. Everyone should come join the team because this is one festival you will definitely want to be a part of.


What are your goals for #IGNITEMF10?

My goal for #IGNITEMF10 is for it to be a huge success so that everyone can appreciate the talent we have in Singapore. I would also hope for the audience to go home thinking about how spectacular the show was put up by RP students and that they will be excited to come back every year! This will definitely not be the last of IGNITE! Music Festival.

Kenny Lim