Fighting Mall Culture: Fete de la Musique Manila

Fete de la Musique could very well be the underground music enthusiast’s dream.

Streets closed off to traffic, venues within walking distance of each other, multiple stages catering to various genres from Latin to blues to reggae, and all for free.

The main stage

I wish I had more to say about the music, it being a music festival after all, but for some reason I kept winding up in locations that only had DJs and too many sweaty bodies crammed together and attempting to dance. The club scene just isn’t for me.

The Latin Stage

Reminiscent of the street party at Cebu’s Sinulog Festival–except that it was all about music and that I ended the night dry– what I found instead was my ideal Manila street come to life.

Roads made for people on foot instead of people in cars have always held a certain allure for me. Weaving your way through street vendors, people-watching, and casually walking into bars with live music are experiences of your surroundings that you can’t get while hiding behind a glass windshield.

The added bonus were the spontaneous acts on the street, from drumming to hula-hooping. What city wouldn’t be a little better off without drums and hula-hoops? Throw in bubbles and some plastic balloon and I might have never left.

I finally wound up at the Jazz Stage, where I had the my first and last encounter of a live band that night.

I may not have gotten the full experience of the festival in terms of music, but it’s not everyday that you get to stroll through the streets of Makati on foot–especially when you’re that near the gentlemen’s clubs of P. Burgos. I’m sure not a lot of people will agree with me on this, but to me, this is what Manila ought to be.


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