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7107 IMF post mortem: Music, mobile madness and more

  • The massive crowd during the Red Hot Chili Peppers set (Photo courtesy of Smart)

  • Another view of the crowd, near the tech booth for the main stage (Photo courtesy of Smart)

  • Nyah! Simultaneous stage pogoing by Anthony Kiedis and Flea, who, as far as we can tell, are also making their own fashion statement (Photo courtesy of Smart)

  • The band returns for an encore, with Flea coming back on stage doing a handstand. Any of you 20-year-olds accept the challenge? (Photo courtesy of Smart)

  • So much #feels… Anthony Kiedis, drummer Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer (behind Anthony) (Photo courtesy of Smart)

  • The night’s “MVP,” bassist Flea (Photo courtesy of Smart)

  • Bassist Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer (Photo courtesy of Smart)

  • Like the first night, the festival ends with fireworks! (Photo courtesy of Smart)

  • The massive crowd during the Red Hot Chili Peppers set (Photo courtesy of Smart)
  • Another view of the crowd, near the tech booth for the main stage (Photo courtesy of Smart)
  • Nyah! Simultaneous stage pogoing by Anthony Kiedis and Flea, who, as far as we can tell, are also making their own fashion statement (Photo courtesy of Smart)
  • The band returns for an encore, with Flea coming back on stage doing a handstand. Any of you 20-year-olds accept the challenge? (Photo courtesy of Smart)
  • So much #feels… Anthony Kiedis, drummer Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer (behind Anthony) (Photo courtesy of Smart)
  • The night’s “MVP,” bassist Flea (Photo courtesy of Smart)
  • Bassist Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer (Photo courtesy of Smart)
  • Like the first night, the festival ends with fireworks! (Photo courtesy of Smart)

By the time the furor died down following the 7107 International Music Festival (IMF), my Facebook feed had exploded with two kinds of threads: those coming from people that eagerly posted photos taken at festival grounds and of their favorite acts (Red Hot Chili Peppers, mostly); and those from people that opted to stay away out of principle, but felt the need to state as much and bluntly declare declining VIP tickets. A polarizing event if there ever was one, I personally believe it has nevertheless set the bar higher when it comes to organizing big music festivals.

While no event is perfect – I was, after all, not privy to goings on behind the scenes so I can’t say for sure – the 7107 IMF came pretty darned close to being well organized, as much as I can tell as an outsider. Without prejudice to the producers and even those that question their resources, the winners here are the audience and the artists. From personal experience, attending so-called festivals in the country leaves a lot to be desired; security is always an issue, as is the competence of people manning entrances and closed off areas. I felt none of that here, even as I moved alone among the crowds from one stage to the other.

Events with multiple band set-ups are also notoriously behind schedule and loose lineup changes have always been a source of complaints from bands. While there were a few changes at the 7107 IMF, it came as a surprise to me that the festival had actually kept to its schedule both nights, capping off the performances around midnight (or near that time) as scheduled, with fireworks to boot.

“Parang nasa UP Fair, ganon, with better sound system,” Lourd De Veyra describes Radioactive Sago Project’s set to Bulletin Entertainment with humor. Truth is, whether it’s because of their highly competent tech guys or the equipment were simply top-notch, the bands that played the huge, impressive stages deserved every bit of the big festival experience accorded the international acts, and for that I am truly happy for them.

“Marami bang nanood?” De Veyra asks, apparently failing to see the good-sized crowd that ditched Red Jumpsuit Apparatus to see them. He feels having two stages “poses a dilemma in terms of music choices eh.” However, he concedes, “I think people pay good money; at ibig sabihin they try to get their money’s worth (so) nakatutok lahat (sa mga performers).”

Adding with a laugh, though, he points out, “Alam naman nating nagbayad ang lahat para sa Chili Peppers. Lahat kami rito ay chuwariwariwap lamang. ‘Wag na tayo maglokohan.”

Lourd de Veyra and the Radioactive Sago Project performing on the second stage (Photo by Annie S. Alejo)

Lourd de Veyra and the Radioactive Sago Project performing on the second stage (Photo by Annie S. Alejo)

Just the same, Armi Millare’s smile during the Up Dharma Down set on main stage said it all; drawing a huge, supportive crowd, their adoring audience sang with them and waved their hands following her lead.

“The energy is definitely what makes the big difference between a nightclub and a festival,” says Reid Stefan, a 24-year-old LA-based DJ.

“I’d say people here definitely love to sing along. You know for sure that you can never go wrong with a song that everyone sings along to,” he says smiling. “After the first time I played in the Philippines I realized that and I prepared some new materials – new versions of songs that people already know and love… that are more specific to my style of DJing.”

The Need To Feed
Social media is, of course, important to these kinds of events. With Smart as a major presenter, the subscribers of the telco giant were pretty much set for the two-day affair, especially with its own air-conditioned tent open to all its users, with a giant screen showing a live feed of the main stage and goodies as giveaways.

Spotted a blonde-haired Rhian Ramos near the nacho stand? Or Billy Crawford and Coleen Garcia cozying up at the VIP platform? How about Felix and Dominic Rocco checking out rap acts Abra and Loonie? Or TV5’s Daniel Matsunaga and company hanging out at the media tent? Or Anne Curtis and boyfriend Erwan Heussaff enjoying RHCP among the massive crowd? Snap away and post online all you want! For Smart’s invited media, the LTE Pocket WiFi they handed out proved super fast and useful.

Reid Stefan and his Fil-Am mentor/collaborator DJ Riddler (Photo by Annie S. Alejo)

Reid Stefan and his Fil-Am mentor/collaborator DJ Riddler (Photo by Annie S. Alejo)

In time for the 7107 IMF, the telco launched the Street Smart app bundle, with rates as low as Php10 a day. It consists of transportation/information apps like Waze, Easy Taxi, bus reservation app Pinoy Travel, NLEX Assist (perfect for those Clark-bound that weekend), RaincheckPH and Interaksyon.com.

Smart subscribers who also downloaded and subscribed to its re-launched music app Spinnr (for streaming, downloading, creating your own playlists and so much more!) also got a treat: as a promo, they gave out hundreds of VIP tickets because they aim to give their users the “VIP experience” at all times.

So, On To The Next?
To give the event a Filipino feel, the organizers used distinct elements to serve their objective: “We really wanted to say Philippines without really saying (so) bluntly… we’re trying to globalize this event,” one of the producers, Mike Pio Roda, says of the iconic stage designs – the main one proudly adorned with rays of the sun as with the Philippine flag; the second stage also bearing a lighted sun design and what seems like Tamaraw horns that light up in bright colors at night – as well as the soaring Philippine eagle at the arch of the main entrance.

“It’s definitely met my expectations; to say that it succeeded, there’s really no comparables yet,” Pio Roda says. With the goal of making it an annual music festival that could even rival the biggest in the region, he notes, “We’re gonna sit down in the next seven days… go through a whole analysis of the event from beginning to end; and from there we’ll decide.”