A Closer Look at How Rakrakan Festival Uplifts Our Local Music Scene
by Maria Romero, March 29, 2019 4:20pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
The success of local festivals like Bazooka Rocks, Thread Fest, and Wanderland Music and Arts Festival made Philippine’s music scene stronger than ever. But the sometimes scant performances and the obvious gap between musicians and fans had the festival-goers pondering if they are getting their money’s worth. And the long-standing Rakrakan Festival knows how to play the game well: extend festival days and provide safe spaces for artists and fans to connect.
True to its aim since its foundation in 2013, Rakrakan Festival consistently brings out a massive production set-up. Last year, Rakrakan: Pinoy Muna set a record-breaking one-day event with 120 OPM bands at Aseana City Concert Grounds in Parañaque City. This year, it went all-out with a bigger and bolder two-day comeback in their new home at Circuit Events Ground in Makati City.
It was a unique festival that should be experienced first-hand, with its 120 homegrown artists of different genres carefully lined up to play simultaneously at six different stages (three stages per day), pocket activities like skateboarding and street art competition, face painting, and a merch bazaar. But behind it’s fun and rockstar facade, Rakrakan is serious in uplifting the Philippine music scene.
Changed the way people experience live music
Since the inception of free streaming online platforms, music consumption has drastically changed but the consumers’ appetite for music remains strong. The local music has seen an unprecedented boom as more people get exposed to live music—all thanks to technology and social media. But Rakrakan Festival didn’t only help change the way people consume music but it prompted attendees to experience live music through its all-OPM lineup.
It’s true, nothing beats the feeling of hearing the artists and bands we love to lay it all on the line for us. In almost every case, when you witness your favorite artist’s live performances, you are most likely to keep coming back to concerts or festivals for more live shows. So, the majority of attendees undoubtedly went for the lineup and only a few went for the aesthetic. Let’s face it, the festival’s activities were also built to beef up the attendees’ social media feeds.
Provided a platform for grass-roots musicians to share their music
Truth be told: Success in the music scene isn’t attainable overnight, musicians have to go through real struggles before they reach their career pinnacle. On any given day, there is hardly enough time to accomplish the things-to-do to promote songs and network for gigs but it’s ever-so-rewarding when it all comes together. And luckily, Rakrakan Festival opened its stage for grass-roots musicians to share their music live.
Rakrakan’s move to invite start-up bands to play alongside well-established bands helped musicians to form new networks and connections that could possibly lead to artist collaborations. It also introduced small bands to thousands of festival attendees. Other than being a music-filled weekend, Rakrakan served as a platform for new band discoveries like Bita and the Botflies, Coln, and May.
Broken down barriers to connect artists and fans
Rakrakan did more than just gathering all the finest local bands in the Philippines as it navigates the scene towards success. Unlike most concerts and festivals, Rakrakan included a meet-and-greet session for the VIPs after every performance, no extra fee needed. This has broken down the gap between artists and fans, allowing music to transcend local borders and connect people together. Music is part of our culture that should connect artists and fans alike. And meeting an artist or band shouldn't come at a hefty price because making music shouldn’t be exclusive, it should be for everyone.
Music is an important part of our culture as it mirrors one’s thoughts and feelings through its lyrics. And going to a music festival like the Rakrakan Festival is the best way to discover new friends, music, and stories that could teach lessons.
In its next installment next year, Rakrakan Festival is expected to break more barriers to unite the country’s music scene through live music. With this, hopes are high that more local music festival will continue to provide safes spaces for artists and fans alike. The future of Philippine music is getting brighter, and the Rakrakan Festival helped illuminate the glow.