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Exploring Singapore Night Festival 2023

The Singapore Night Festival is back this year for their 2023 edition. It is a 9 day evening event offering mesmerizing blend of captivating light displays, enthralling performances, and delectable food and beverages from August 18 to 26, 2023. Lets take an exploration and walk through of the Singapore Night Festival.

The Peranakan museum opens till late during the festival
The Peranakan museum opens till late during the Singapore Night Festival 2023.

An event through Light and the Arts

Furthermore, one noticeable expansion this year is the festival’s reach into the Bugis district. While the event has traditionally centered around the Bras Basah area in southern Singapore. This includes iconic sites like the Singapore Management University (SMU) Campus, City hall and the National Museum of Singapore. The festival now extends its reach to encompass the Stamford Arts Centre along Waterloo street in the vibrant cradle of Singapore’s arts and heritage.

SeaScape artists!
SeaScape artists with their artwork on display at Funan mall!

As night falls, the festival transforms the Arts district area into an exciting exploration ground. This year’s festival, is also supported by the Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth, and organized by the Singapore Heritage Board.

Happy dances
Happy dances by the name of “We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather until we cannot” at the night festival.

Also, the light ups beckons you to embark on a captivating night journey with live performances, dances and band music at festive villages. It is reminiscent of the renowned i-Light Festival at Marina Bay held earlier this year. Also, the festival’s projections and lights come to life from 7:30 pm to 12 am daily for quite a captivating nightly spectacle.

Port city at Armenian street, a buzzing market with a live band and the Pernankan museum
Port city at Armenian street, a buzzing market with a live band and the Pernankan museum.

Main Festival Village @ SMU Campus Green

Additionally, the Main Festival Village @ SMU Campus Green is a hub of activity, featuring a performance stage and food tent. Also, the festival location at the SMU green is a much better location compared to the Dhoby Ghaut last year where it can get really muddy after raining.

SMU Festival grounds food market tent
Singapore Night Festival sees the Festival grounds food market tent at SMU for the 2023 year.

Moreover, the festival offers tad a multi-sensory experience through a symphony of moving lights, hues, and melodies. However, it’s worth noting that the festival may pose challenges for those with sensory sensitivities. There are also alot of entertainment, with live stage music and high energy dances brought to you by talent in our local Arts scene.

Festival performances and dances
On-stage live festival performances and dances.

Also, the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Management University (SMU) play host to the Main Festival Village @ SMU Campus Green. A leisurely three to four hour stroll is sufficient to embrace the entirety of the festival’s offerings.

Singapore Night Festival 2023 Festival grounds SMU Campus Green
The main festival village grounds at SMU Campus Green.
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Festival grounds
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Food stores
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Cotton candy!

Samsung also has a small air-conditioned pop-up store here hawking their newly-released Galaxy Z flip and fold 5 we looked at recently. They even have some limited edition Night festival cover case merchandise available here too. As you indulge in this sensory journey, staying well-hydrated is crucial, the food stores here will help you are juiced up enough for your explorations.

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Samsung booths
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Merchandise
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Got drinks?

Chijmes and Armenian Street festive villages

Furthermore, the open spaces at Chijmes and Armenian Street also hosts similarly the other 2 of the three festival villages with similar offerings of food and performances under the stars. Each has their own unique night festive, like projections or night lights.

Chijmes projection which loops every 15 minutes on the main cathedral building
Chijmes projection which loops every 15 minutes on the main cathedral building.

Moreover, Chijmes is also home to another one of the event’s festival village. Here, you you can find three animated projection displays namely, the Birth in Bloom Projection Mapping. and Evolution of Bras Basah Entertainment Scene, and Port(al) City projection. These are projected in sequence on the Chijmes cathedral facade.

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Chijmes Lights
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Port City
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Performances

Similarly as with last year, Armenian Street is home to the Festival Village which is open from 7pm – 12am. The street called Port City is lined with performances with programmes running on event weekends of 18 Aug and 19 Aug, 25 Aug & 26 Aug. Also, here, you can find the Island at the End, sensory smell experience in-a-box located along here at Armenian Street.

National museum displays

700 years projection
Singapore Night Festival sees the return of the 700 years projection on the National Museum facade, 2023 edition.

Also, the National Museum is home to a large number of night festival points on interest in one spot. It offers a plethora of captivating exhibits and displays. The exterior Night Projections is a prime draw, casting captivating images across the façade of the museum.

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700 years projection
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Colonial roots
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Festival 2023 map

Another highlight is the Projection Mapping of 700 Years, a mesmerizing animation chronicling Singapore’s history over seven centuries. Also, it takes a clue from too from the Singapore history permanent galleries within the Museum.

Extended museum hours till late

Also particularly noteworthy are the extended opening hours of the National museum on weekends. It allows you more time to immerse oneself in its offerings. Notably, on the weekends of August 18-19 and 25-26, the museum’s opening hours extend till midnight. Admission to the galleries are free for all.

Time is a Black Circle roller skating ($27)
Time is a Black Circle roller skating at the National museum ($27 per session).

Within the museum, the “Time is a Black Circle” exhibit is the only paid event. It presents a circular roller skating rink where you can relive a nostalgic experience. Booking is required for the skate sessions costing $27 with up to 20 pax per session.

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Going round!
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Time is a Black Circle National Museum
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Follow the pink balls!

By the museum’s SUPERMAMA gift shop, the large LED screen is made to showcase animated works by Giffest III: Imperfect Compilation By Eyeyah! These digital animated pieces is a highlight at the National Design Center we visited previously.

Giffest III smoke light and laser show at the National Design center
Giffest III smoke light and laser show at the National Design Center lobby area.

Also, you can make your way to the National Design center to view the Giffest III exhibition itself, with the galleries open till midnight too. You be greeted in addition a laser light show every night play-out on the pop-up box massive LED screen.

National Museum lawn light displays

Team Wy-to Group, artists for A Stone's Throw (Away).
Team Wy-to Group, artists for A Stone’s Throw (Away).

Moving outdoors, the festival’s displays continue to dazzle. “A Stone’s Throw (Away)” at the National Museum of Singapore Banyan Tree Park grounds and the iconic #SGNIGHTFEST logo on the museum’s lawn are captivating displays. It is brought to you by Wy-to Group, co-presented by the National Library board.

Interior of A Stone's Throw (Away)
An exploration inside the interior of A Stone’s Throw (Away) display.

It is a motion sensor light exhibit which light up scenes of Singapore history of legends. This includes the scene of the animal of the Singapore stone. The interior of the stone-like structure allows for some pretty photography.

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Museum lawn
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A Stone’s Throw (Away)
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Fort canning

Also, the awe-inspiring SGNIGHTFEST sculpture greets you at the museum lawn at the Banyan tree park grounds. For the 2023 edition of the Singapore Night Festival, it spots a similarly impressive seven-meter structure constructed using 3D-printed sustainable and recycled materials.

SGNIGHTFEST sculpture at the National Museum lawn at the Banyan tree park ground
SGNIGHTFEST sculpture at the National Museum lawn at the Banyan tree park grounds.

You might remember it initially unveiled during the 13th Singapore Night Festival in 2022. Each letter, weighing 60 kilograms, bursts into an array of colors as twilight descends, providing a perfect backdrop for memorable photos.

Go tribal at the Fort Canning park

Rimbun pixel projections on plants at the Fort canning Farquhar Garden.
Rimbun pixel projections on plants at the Fort canning Farquhar Garden.

Just off behind the National Museum and SMU campus, the Fort Canning Park offers the Rimbun Night Lights exhibition display, where pixelated projections adorn the flora and fauna in photo frames at the canning Farquhar Garden, creating an enchanting atmosphere. Notably, it is located next to the Spice gardens we explored previously here.

A maritime history in We’ll weather the weather.
A maritime history in We’ll weather the weather.

Also, the “We’ll Weather the Weather, Whatever the Weather Until We Cannot” inflatable tribal performance adds a touch of whimsy to the festival. The live dance happens at fixed times of the night here at Fort canning. It brings you on a journey of a maritime history brought to you by performers from Sweet tooth. The performers are dressed in inflatable and lit tribal clothes with the performance choreographed to live drum beats.

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We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather
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Beautiful light ups at night
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Children’s museum

It a good way to appreciate our bustling port city heritage. Also, along Fort canning towards Armenian Street, you can find “The Island at the End” Night Lights. It sits in front of SMU’s Yong Pung How School of Law building. Do spot the random origami bird within the string of hanging night lights.

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Rimbun projections
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At the Farquhar Garden
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The Island at the End

Speaking of inflatables , the “Flowing Water Road” Shrine outside Raffles City at City hall is a giant lit inflatable. It is tad themed to look like a Chinese hut shrine on water. Also, the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, “A” at Queen Street returns this year again with their Garden of Beauty, which sees an assortment of angelic lights at their front lawn.

Interactive Outdoor Illuminations and Symbolic Sculptures

Preserving paradise by artist Teo Huey Ling
Preserving paradise by artist Teo Huey Ling with her artwork for Singapore Night Festival 2023.

Not too far off from Armenian Street towards the Children’s Museum is an interactive light installation called Preserving Paradise by artist Teo Huey Ling. She was around to show us her art installations. An interactive display comprising of few hand-cranked flower themed boxes and frosted glass flower pieces. It is tad a modern fantasy garden of light.

Hand cranked displays of the Preserving paradise display
Hand cranked displays of the Preserving paradise display.

Interacting with exhibits is a key aspect of the festival. Another one such exhibit is the SeaScape- Symphony Night Lights exhibit at the Funan mall Kinetic Wall.

SeaScape- Symphony Night Lights
SeaScape- Symphony interactive Night Lights at Funan mall.

Here, you blow into a balloon where a microphone captures the noise. This in-turn animates upward floating bubbles displayed on a massive LED wall on Funan’s North entrance facing city hall. This LED wall is the building’s permanent animated clock infrastructure which normally tells time, repurposed for the event.

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Funan mall
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Blow to make bubbles
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Flowing Water Road Shrine

Moreover moving onto the Bugis district, you can find the A Global Bugis Phinisi display is one dedicated to the district, sitting near the Stamford Arts Centre. Also here, you can find the X O X (two kisses and a hug) Two free-standing surfboard looking displays situated outside Stamford Arts Centre, near Mercure Singapore Bugis.

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X O X see saw
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Global Bugis Phinisi
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Florescence

Florescence by Kristal Melson at Bugis Street Multi-storey Carpark. Selegie road is home to the Glow in the GR.iD piece too. Wrapping up this district is the “Walk With Me” Sound Installation at NAFA Campus 1, Glass Showcases located along Bencoolen Street.

Talks and Film on top of just lights

Moreover, while the festival radiates from the central district, its vivacity extends beyond its borders, encompassing an assortment of engaging activities and performances throughout art district’s vibrant expanse.

Film screenings at the Oldham Theatre by the National Archives building
Film screenings at the Oldham Theatre by the National Archives building.

Additionally, the night festival events extend past just the exhibits on display. Other notable Night festival events This includes Experiential Programmes at the National Library Building and Fort Canning Centre, as well as filming screenings at the Oldham Theatre (National Archives), and Free Games Night at the Mind Cafe from 18 Aug to 26 Aug, 11:00pm- 2:00am, as well as Performances such as the “Waterloo Street Stories” at Waterloo street.

Live evening talks about the arts and culture
Live evening talks about the arts and culture, like the Artist talk at the Perankan museum.

Also, you can catch performances by the School of the Arts (SOTA) jazz ensemble, and tour of the St Joseph’s Church during the event. It provides an opportunity to delve into Singapore’s central arts district history on top of relaxing with music of the evening.

Self-Guided explorations

For a more guided experience, the Singapore Night Festival official audio guide webapp helps you navigate and explore the festival’s various exhibition spots. Complementing this, Night Festival personnel, identifiable by their distinctive T-shirts, are stationed throughout the venues to assist visitors. Their webapp allows you to check off each night installation on your journey ensuring you have them all covered. It in turn, unlocks rewards corresponding to the number of sites visited.

Also, the pink lit inflation ball on stands is a good way to indicate from far whether there is a night festival item on display. They are situated usually beside a display of interest. The event also had conveniently positioned accessible restrooms are accessible across most venue buildings, including the National Museum of Singapore, the Peranakan Museum, and the National Design Centre.

Wrapping up

The event is a good way to burn off a few calories after dinner for a walk in the Singapore southern arts district. You do need pretty an entire evening (3-4 hours) to view everything, walking from one end from City hall to the Bugis district, and might take longer with museums included. The Singapore Night Festival runs from Run from 18 Aug to 26 Aug right smacked in the heart of the Singapore Arts district.

All in all, that wraps up this year’s exploration of the Singapore night festival. It builds upon the success of previous Singapore Night Festivals, offering an exuberant invitation to all. The Singapore Night Festival indeed offers an enchanting and captivating experience, a perfect way to explore the Singapore arts district while indulging in the magic of luminous nights.

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