Future Music Festival Asia 2014 (‘FMFA’) and A State of Trance(‘ASOT’) promised an even better lineup this year. Extending the festival by one more day, with the likes of deadmau5, Paul Van Dyk, the honourable Armin Van Buuren gracing the decks, and Pharrell Williams, Macklemore, Naughty Boy along with the homecoming of Malaysian’s own local pride, Yuna, performing on stage, it all seemed like it was too good of a deal.
Although the event was moved from the vast Teletubby land of the Sepang grounds to the carpark of Bukit Jalil Stadium, the festival never lacked its fun factor. Transportation to and from the venue was also a breeze with a train station right infront of the entrance gates. There was plenty of recreational activities for the crowd; the Ferris Wheel was back, a massive slide was brought in and there was even a rodeo bull to ride.
Logistically, there were plenty of food and beverage outlets to keep the fans going. Queuing for drinks never took more than 15 minutes and there were plenty of food to choose from. There was ample space on the grounds for everyone to move and the entrances on both ends of the festival provided for a good flow of traffic.
First night with deadmau5 headlining the show kicked off the festival and left fans wanting more. There was certainly alot more to look forward to with the upcoming two days on. Even the hazy climate and the recent bleak news of missing MH370 could not deter the fans from having a good time. It was indeed the kind of break the capital city of Malaysia needed.
However, ASOT on the second day of the festival remained the only highlight for Future Music Festival Asia 2014 –with the reappearance of Armin Van Buuren clenching the attention of the A State of Trance goers on the second day of the festival after having performed for last year’s ASOT too. The only sold out day of the three day event spoke volumes of which genre of music most of the festival goer’s allegiance belongs to. ASOT was indeed an eventful night of heavy Trance music with the great line-up of DJs that were playing throughout which included; perhaps the king of trance, Armin Van Buuren aside, there were solo concerts worthy DJs like Andrew Rayel, Omnia and Markus Schulz -not forgetting Paul Van Dyk who ended and marked the end of ASOT with a blast!
Unfortunately, the excitement for FMFA was indeed an abrupt dismay to the festival goers -despite the night of excitement at ASOT (perhaps a little too much fun for a certain few), the event quickly became a disappointment for the festival goers the next day when the event was being cancelled due to the unfortunate deaths of a few and a few others remained in critical condition due to drug overdose. The Police also made a few arrests of many others for possession of drugs that occurred on the festive grounds, during the night of the ASOT itself.
What may have easily made this year’s FMFA event a successful one with the great line-up that was in-store for the festival goers that involved many famous acts that involved Pharrell Williams, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Tinie Tempah, Naughty Boy and the homecoming of local Malaysian sweet heart; Yuna, was the exact reason that brought the moods down for the festival goers after they were greeted with the news of the cancellation of the event.
The cancellation brought a huge overwhelming wave of anger, disappointment and sadness as the crowd –gathered at the entrance of the festive grounds at Bukit Jalil. The festival goers were chanting “Let us in!” as they waited for a proper confirmation and announcement by the organisers at the entrance despite the wide-spread updates of the cancellation of the festival on the FMFA official Facebook page. Only after two dreadful hours of waiting and the amount of Police Officers were sufficient to handle the crowd, did the organisers made the announcement that the event was cancelled.
FMFA and ASOT promised an event that was larger in life and would have placed the festival and Malaysia as an epic music festival destination to rival some of the best in the world. For a region lacking such festivals of proportions and the amount of big names such as Pharrell Williams promising to perform some of his new hits from his recently released album and the burgeoning popularity of Macklemore, it was a too good to be true event indeed.
And so behold, too good to be true it turned out to be. Nevertheless, with a similar reported death of a Singaporean at the ASOT event in Jakarta, this quickly highlights the need to ensure safety of a music festival and to tighten security at the event. This incident will provide the proper platform and lessons for festival organisers in the region to ensure a safer music festival in the future. Amidst of all the propaganda and advertisements for the festival, there was a lack of a strong message against drug use.
Nevertheless, had the event remained a 2 day event and the events on the final day had not eclipsed everything, the fans would have returned home satisfied for the two awesome days of partying. Let us pray that FMFA and ASOT returns back in 2015 even better, safer and larger.