BY Ng Yang Han
YOU know you're in for some good music when a hyped up crowd seems oblivious to the rain at an open air gig.
And it was no wallet-busting concert.
On Friday night, thousands of concert- goers left with muddy shoes after thronging the grounds of Republic Polytechnic to catch sizzling performances by 13 local bands at the poly's free two-day Ignite! Music Festival.
Umbrella-toting youngsters were jostling for the best front-row spaces way before Republic Poly band Replug made its appearance as the opening act of the festival.
Lead vocalist Ng Imm Khim, 18, wowed her schoolmates with her rendition of Stevie Wonder's 1972 hit Superstitious.
It was followed by The Reign of Kindo's Just Wait and Free Your Mind by En Vogue, done in an acoustic style.
The evening also saw a line-up of other local acts, including ska/punk outfit The Full Pledged Munkees, Timbre Music Academy (TMA)All-Stars, alternative rock quintet Monochrome and The Marilyns.
Said Mr Danny Yee, 23, president of the students' music interest group Replug, to which the band belongs: "I thought they did a great job given that the crowd might have been a little subdued because of the rain."
Replug plays at about 15 school events a year, ranging from freshmen orientation camps to CCA showcases, said guitarist Su Ao Cheng, 19.
"But this has got to be one of the biggest events," he said.
The loudest cheers of the night, however, were reserved for local band B-Quartet. The band's appearance drew fans who weren't even from Republic Poly.
Long-time supporter Roshdi Nasyr, 25, an IT support officer said: "I came here specially to hear them live."
Added a Tampines ITE student who gave his name only as Rafshanjani: "I think they're simply great!"
Saturday saw an even larger turnout and audiences were treated to performances by headliners Plainsunset along with the likes of Pervy Boy, The Analog Girl, Fishtank, Meza Virs, Zero Sequence and Republic Poly band JammerzArena.
Jammerz Arena lead vocalist Nur Thahirah Taslim, 18, said: "I remember last year,we were watching Ignite! with awe, wishing that we had the chance to perform onstage.
"Suddenly, we were the ones up there this year."
Over the two days, 6,800 turned up to listen and those The New Paper spoke to said they were impressed.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Nigel Low, 19, said: "It's very well done. The stage, the lighting...everything is very professional. "I wish we had something like this in our school."
His friend Amiril Muhaimin, 19, who is also a student at the polytechnic, felt it was like he was"at a music festival in the US".
The festival, which is being held for the third year running, was organised by the polytechnic's students and staff from The Republic Cultural Centre.
Said organiser Sylvester Ashbir Singh, 22, a third-year student in Integrated Events Management: "I think Ignite! has really been a success, looking at the people in the crowd dancing. To me, it's a complete music experience and I've finally put to good use what I've learnt in school."
This article was first published in The New Paper.