• Vivian Teo

A quick-and-easy guide to Singapore Night Festival 2019 (for those with young kids and little time!)

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

Both kids and adults will find the stunning light displays and installations at Singapore Night Festival 2019 a real treat for the senses.

The Singapore Night Festival is into its 12th edition this year, but since our kids have always been early sleepers, this is the first time we took them to the festival [now that they're older and sleep a little later!] and I must say, what a real treat for the senses the festival is!


The Singapore Night Festival’s website describes the event as one that transforms the Bras Basah and Bugis area into an “ethereal wonderland” - that couldn't be better described. A wonderland it was as everyone in our family were charmed and impressed by the light displays we saw over the opening weekend.


The #SgNightFest is spread out across five zones which is really quite a huge area to cover by foot - you’re essentially walking from City Hall MRT to Bras Basah MRT to Dhoby Ghaut MRT if you’re planning on catching everything [see festival map and brochure here]. Our kids aren’t big walkers, hence we opted to catch the main highlights in Zone 1, which is the National Museum area, and Zone 2 in the North Bridge Road, Stamford Road and Hill Street area.


If like us, you have young children not big on walking and/or you have limited time (you really only have till August 31 which is the last day of the event!), here's a quick-and-easy guide to follow that'll take you on foot to the main highlights within a few hours in the evening. Just get those walking shoes ready and start from 1) all the way till 10) below!


1) Whispers by Light Society

Where: Gallery Theatre at basement one of National Museum at 93 Stamford Road

When: 23 Aug-8 Sep, 10am–7pm (till 10pm during 25-28 Aug, and 12 midnight over festival weekends)

Plan this for: 630-7pm (note show hours above).

Whispers by Light Society

This 12-minute immersive show creates a mesmerising experience with the use of light, wind and huge plastic sheets. The show is very popular on the Friday opening night when we were there. When we came out of the theatre after the 7pm show, there were two queues waiting to go in – there is a maximum capacity of 30 per show.


Note that outside the theatre there is a warning of loud sounds for this show, so you might want to prepare your kids for it or skip it if they are too young. Our girls, age seven and nine, did find the sounds loud [they were covering their ears most of the time] but they still enjoyed the experience very much and counted this as one of their favourite highlights at the festival. Do note as well the wind generated by large fans can be chilly for kids, so you might want to bring along a cardigan or jacket for them.


This show is until 8 September which means there is still some time to catch it after the festival ends.


2) Intergalactic Dreams by Jahan Loh

Where: Various locations at National Museum

When: 23 Aug-8 Sep, 10am–7pm (till 10pm during 25-28 Aug, and 12 midnight over festival weekends)

Plan this for: 615-630pm before Whispers or 715-730pm after Whispers

Intergalactic Dreams

This three-part installation by Singaporean contemporary artist Jahan Loh depicts a journey on finding alternative homes should Earth no longer be suitable for humankind.

Intergalactic Dreams

You’ll pass by the above two installations on your way to or out from the Gallery Theatre, hence you could plan for this before or after Whispers.


3) Project:Dome by various artists

Where: SMU Campus Green at Stamford Road opposite National Museum

When: 23 Aug to 31 Aug, 730pm–12mn

Plan this for: 730-8pm

SOLIS. Photo: Singapore Night Festival

You might be tempted to stay at the National Museum to wait for the light displays outside the museum starting at 730pm, but try making your way across the road from the National Museum to a huge dome on SMU Campus Green instead. There are five shows within the dome - OCISLY, SOLIS, Soul Beads in Harmony, Strange Attraction and The Land Above.

Soul Beads in Harmony. Photo: Singapore Night Festival

Sadly, we didn’t get to catch this as like everyone else, we were too excited to watch the shows starting at 730pm outside the National Museum such that when the museum shows ended, there was already a super long queue outside the dome! But judging from the crowds heading for it, this is another well-received installation you'll want to catch!


4) Keep Dreaming by Spectaculaires

Where: Front of National Museum

When: 23 Aug to 31 Aug, 730pm–12mn

Plans this for: 8-830pm

Keep Dreaming

Stay where you are at SMU Campus Green facing the National Museum or head back across the road to the museum to catch Keep Dreaming, a brilliant eight-minute light display that takes the audience on a whimsical journey as the museum facade comes to live.


This is definitely a very popular installation - the lawn in front of the museum was quite full when we were there at 720pm on Saturday. We got a spot facing further left of the museum but the view was still great and we were all left impressed at the end. You can look up videos online for a sense of what it is but nothing beats catching the display live and up close!

5) The Legend of Ramayana by Spectaculaires

Where: Banyan Tree at the National Museum

When: 23 Aug to 31 Aug, 730pm–12mn

Plan this for: 8-830pm

The Legend of Ramayana

Right next to the Keep Dreaming installation is another light display called The Legend of Ramayana at the banyan tree next to the museum. This installation is based on the Sanskrit epic poem, The Ramayana, which tells of Prince Rama’s quest to rescue his beloved wife Sita from the demon King Ravana, through the eyes of a venerable Banyan tree. It was quite a surreal experience watching the tree being so beautifully lit up at night.


This show alternates with Keep Dreaming, meaning you can catch either one first, and thereafter head to the other one right next to it.


6) Tropicana by The Electric Canvas

Where: Stamford Court Clock

When: 23 Aug to 31 Aug, 730pm–12mn

Plan this for: 830-845pm

Tropicana

Take a five minute walk from the National Museum down Stamford Road to Stamford Court to see its clock come to life with a bright and bubbly animation.


7) S.C.U.L.P.T by Yann Nguema

Where: Armenian Church on Hill Street

When: 23 Aug to 31 Aug, 730pm–12mn

Plan this for: 845-915pm

S.C.U.L.P.T Photo: Singapore Night Festival

Just a three minute walk from Stamford Court to the Armenian Church at Hill Street is S.C.U.L.P.T. First presented in France, S.C.U.L.P.T was fully redesigned for its debut international showing in Singapore. Tailored to fit every square centimetre of the Armenian Church’s centuries-old chevet, this artwork combines projection mapping and interactivity, and allow visitors to manipulate its form and appearance with simple laser beams.


8) Pulse by Galina Mihaleva, Hedren Sum, Vibeke Sorensen, Brandon Leo & Nagaraju Thummanapalli

Where: Plaza of Capitol Piazza

When: 23 Aug to 31 Aug, 730pm–12mn

Plan this for: 915-930pm

Pulse

A five-minute walk from the Armenian Church down Coleman Street, then to Capitol Piazza at the corner of North Bridge Road and Stamford Road is Pulse, an installation that hangs overhead like a giant coloured cloud. Via sound and music, the installation reflects on the influence of digital technology and media in today’s society.

Pulse at Capitol Piazza

Coupled with the beautiful night lights and fountain at the plaza, this area is really quite a sight to behold and one of our kids' favourites.


9) Disco Walkway by AUX Media Group and Symbiote by LiteWerkz

Where: Along Stamford Road walkway

When: 23 Aug to 31 Aug, 730pm–12mn

Plan this for: 930-945pm

Disco Walkway

From Capitol Piazza, head across the road to the walkway of Stamford Road for the Disco Walkway's glowing neon-coloured cubes and music. Our children had a great time walking and dancing along this one.

Symbiote

Along the walkway is also Symbiote, an installation that juxtaposes tension and lightness by letting you wander between thin and seamless fabric. At first glance, I didn’t think the installation would engage our kids but turned out they loved going underneath the installation and popping their heads out between the gaps!


10) Waves of Time by Chips and Toon

Where: CHIJMES

When: 23 Aug to 31 Aug 7.30pm – 12mn

Plan this for: 945-10pm

Take a five-minute walk from Stamford Road walkway down Victoria Street to CHIJMES to view the Waves of Time, which is inspired by Singapore’s very own legend of a prince who journeyed across the seas to visit Singapore. This façade projection on the historic CHIJMES chapel re-imagines the journey of the prince chasing his dream to and around our island.


This is great for a last stop as you can watch the display seated on the bean bags or grass lawn at the Chijmes court to chill and rest those tired legs!

Total time spent: Roughly 3.5 hours

Memories made: Priceless!


Bonus tips for your trip:

- Grab a festival map from guides located near the installations or visit the Singapore Night Festival website for a soft copy.

- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and bring water to stay hydrated!


The Singapore Night Festival 2019 takes place from 23 August till 31 August in the Bras Basah and Bugis area of Singapore. Admission is free except for ticketed events.


Disclaimer: My opinions and reviews here are strictly my and my family’s own.


©Vivian Teo. All content and photos are copyrighted to Vivian Teo unless otherwise specified.

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© 2019 Vivian Teo