Plunge deep into a fantasyland across two weekends at the Civic District Outdoor Festival, with stunning multimedia projections, giant art installations, live music, a food street and art market
When it comes to all things artsy and cultural, nothing beats the Civic District in City Hall. With tonnes of art galleries, museums, live music venues and theatres dotting the area, it’s our first stop when we want to get our creative fix. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, National Gallery Singapore is throwing a huge art bash for two weekends this August – the inaugural Civic District Outdoor Festival. Themed ‘When Time Stood Still’, Singapore’s most artistic quarter will be transformed into a dreamlike wonderland, complete with multimedia projections, electrifying live music, a mouthwatering food street, a creative art market, and more.
Journey through a phantasmagorical trail
Embark on a whimsical adventure dubbed “Hemera’s Dream” (4 to 5 August and 11 to 12 August;) through the Civic District, where stunning visuals will be projected onto the façade of iconic institutions. Meet Hemera, the heroine of the tale, and her brother, Aether, and marvel at the intricate details of the projections at National Gallery, Asian Civilisations Museum, Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, and The Art House.
Picnic among giant bunnies on the Padang
Bring along a basket filled with your favourite grub and hop on over to the Padang for a picnic with a spectacular (and adorable) view. Huge ethereal rabbits – part of an art installation, Intrude by Australian artist Amanda Parer – will be nestling on the greenery, so be sure to snatch a snapshot for the ‘Gram. Forgot to pack a basket, or just fancy a full-blown feast instead? Head over to Hemera’s Feast, along St. Andrews Road where several popular restos and cafes will be setting up shop. Dig into decadent Italian nosh from &Sons, refreshing smoothie bowls from Coco Loco, hearty rice bowls from Ninja Cut, and more.
Be enthralled by live performances
Calling all local music fans: grab a good spot at the Padang Atrium, where some of Singapore’s top music acts will be taking the stage. Sing your heart out with pop-rock duo Jack and Rai (4 August; 7.10pm and 9.20pm), groove along to indie-pop band M1LDLIFE (12 August; 7.10pm and 8.10pm), immerse yourself in an intimate session with singer-songwriter Inch Chua (11 August; 10.20pm), and more.
Prefer moving your feet instead? Put on your dancing shoes and swing by the Empress Lawn at Victoria Concert Hall for different themes every night – Swing Night on 4 August, Latin Tropical Night on 5 August, Hip Hop Ska Night on 11 August and Funk Disco Boogie Night on 12 August.
Keep your eyes peeled for the multiple roving acts at the festival – catch a glimpse of The Illuminated Angels by Australia’s Born in a Taxi, a hilarious interactive dance group (4 August; 6pm, 7pm, 8.10pm; 5 August; 7pm, 8.10pm, 9.30pm and 10.30pm), Brass Nation, a nine-piece brass ensemble (11 and 12 August; 6pm and 7pm), Singapore School of Samba with Bantus Batucada, who will be performing a mesmerising Brazilian capoeira act (11 and 12 August; 8.10pm, 8.50pm and 9.30pm), and more.
If you’re bringing along the kiddos, make sure to drop by the Empress Lawn on 4 and 11 August at 6.30pm and 5 and 12 August at 6pm for A Dragon Behind the Door & More! by Sweet Tooth, Cake Theatrical Productions, an interactive puppet performance. The young’uns will be captivated by the spellbinding story and larger-than-life characters. The best part? You and your kids will get to explore specially crafted ‘Curious Houses’, where you can try your hand at crafting your own dragon puppets and even create your own mini pop-up theatre!
Pick up unique trinkets at Aether’s Art Market
What’s a festival without a market chock-full of creative bits and bobs? The Empress Lawn will play host to a treasure trove of indie and local wares from Singapore’s most creative makers. Add a stylish handmade bag from A Pale Petal to your wardrobe, snag a couple of quirky pins from Pins & Pong, and stock up on adorable cards from Tinee Dino, and more.
Wander through the art spaces after hours
The opening hours at National Gallery Singapore and Asian Civilisations Museum will also be extended until midnight, so you’ll get to see and explore the iconic buildings in a different light.
Civic District Outdoor Festival: When Time Stood Still, 4 to 5 August, 11 to 12 August, 5pm to 11pm. General admission is free, while some workshops and programmes are chargeable. Full programme list here.
This article is sponsored by National Gallery Singapore