Notes from Zoukout 2010

1. Zoukout’s 10th anniversary

it’s Zoukout’s 10th anniversary and it’s my 10th year going. yes i’ve been going for all Zoukouts even though i hate beach parties. Don’t ask me why. The first few years I enjoyed myself tremendously as I’d dance till the sun rose and my calves ached. but progressively as i got older, I tend to appear late enough that I don’t have to spend much time waiting and still being able to last till sunrise. Since it’s the 10th year, they decided to throw a HUGE party and invited not just 1 headlining DJ but 2! it’s Tiesto and David Guetta at the same party. pretty awesome actually.

2. Sold out
so the problem with big parties with 2 big names is that the tickets ran out really fast. Within a week or two, the advance tickets were all sold out. people panicked. calls came in. people were begging. some threatened.  We all expected the crowd to arrive really early to queue up for tickets. in previous years, the crowd usually came in around 730pm. this year, the line to purchase tickets started about 430pm. There were rumours that people camped overnight just to get the tickets. madness!

by 730pm, we go the call that zouk only had enough tickets for next 2.000 people in line. we started putting up signs that said sold out. apparently when they really ran out of tickets, people refused to leave the line. they were determined that Zouk will magically whip tickets out of their asses and let people in after a certain time. but guys, the beach is only that big.

3. Working

we were all put on duty that day to manage the crowd and traffic. frankly I did nothing but gave directions to people. where’s the bus to go Cove. where’s the bus to go HarbourFront. makes me wonder why we bother putting up signs since people can’t figure out where the arrows is REALLY pointing.

there were a few who came begging us to sell them tickets and we told them we weren’t Zouk. one poor boy came all the way from Penang without tickets when his friends got their already. they went inside to party while he hung around outside looking hopeful. it was rumoured that the going price for tickets touted at the door was $250 as of 830pm.

As early as 6pm we were on ground already ready to get ourselves tagged before we dispersed to our stations. Our colleague drove the van to the gates and we gaped at the long line snaking from Zouk’s ticketing counter. we had the SOLD OUT posters in the van and someone joked about holding it against the van windows, which would most definitely cause a riot. someone else tried to bribe the driver to use the loud hailer of the van to shout, “ZOUKOUT TICKETS SOLD OUT!” to much laughter. one girl went as much as to lock the van doors coz she was afraid the people might attack our van if that happened.

4. Rain

at about 1230am it started to drizzle. as I hung out at Wavehouse with my colleagues just chilling, the drizzle became a downpour which slowly cleared up by 2am.

5. Food

Because we were working, they had ordered bento set dinners for us, follow by boxes of Old Chang Kee curry puffs which my boss cleared out from the Vivo stall, much to the displeasure of the people behind him. by the time we got off duty, we were all starving so we swamped Wavehouse, where the owner happily fed us leftover hor d’oeuvres and fried rice. a few colleagues went so far as to pack fried hokkien mee from Joo Chait and we happily tucked into it while we sat out the rain. it was the strangest Zoukout for me ever. At least I didn’t have to eat kebabs. they always serve kebabs at Zoukout. why?

6. The Crowd

we got to the main stage close to 3am where Tiesto was slated to come on. it was PURE MADNESS trying to get to the other side of the stage where the crowd usually thins out. the stupid set-up of the main stage meant that instead of placing the stage along the breadth of the beach so the crowd can spread along the beach to eternity, it was tucked in one corner where we were bounded in by the sea. which meant with a SOLDOUT event such as this, there was limited space for that amount of people. we bumped into some friends and we wanted to follow them to the other side but we couldn’t. packed like sardines didn’t even fully describe last night’s madness. it was face to chest, cheek to arm situation. everyone was pressed against someone while everyone was trying to get to a different spot in the crowd. in the end we gave up and backtracked out of the mess. we eventually ended up way off to one side of the stage but it was the closest we could get without getting crushed.

7. The DJs

Tiesto was playing rubbish. he started off with one of my favourite tracks, before heading off to some regular trance tunes. one hour into his set, he started playing bad electro. i mean i like electro but last night was huh? we were about to turn out and leave when he played Traffic so we decided to give him another chance. anyway it was a situation of the music is so bad let’s go to another stage but if we leave we will lose our spot, and we did want to check out what David Guetta was all about.

When Guetta started playing, the crowd surged in again. the trick to such large parties is to stay with blocks of people so that the crowd is forced to trickle around such blocks rather than break through them. one girl grabbed the arm of the guy beside her (not sure if they were friends) and said, “WE ARE THE WALL! OKAY?” and when someone tried to break in between them, she chanted, “WE ARE THE WALL! WE ARE THE WALL!” and refused to let people through. I laughed coz i was doing the same thing, albeit more subtly than her.

8. The magic of Guetta

when Guetta first came into the scene, my boss proclaimed him the best DJ in the world but I was skeptical since he played dance floor hits you can find in ANY club in the world. but i must admit his tracks are rather catchy. From last night’s experience, I realised that Guetta’s formula relied on 2 things:

– singable tracks for the closet karaoke in every one of us

everyone broke out singing when he dropped his more popular tracks to the point where I couldn’t hear his playing but I could only hear the annoying singing around me.

– the same ah beng techno beat

after 3 tracks, i realised that except for the melody, the beat is the same for all songs. it’s got the DIUDIUDIU DIU-DIU DIUDIUDIU DIU-DIU with a hard DOM DOM DOM beat to it. i cycled through the tracks just now and my friend commented all his songs sounded the same. I guess there’s a little karaoke-ing ah beng in the soul of everyone at the main stage last night.

and that was how Zoukout was for me yesterday. decidedly the worst Zoukout ever which is a pity because it would have been my 10th year anniversary with the party i’ve been faithful to all this while.

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