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Urbanscapes 2012

I learned about it in 2008. Attended it the first time in 2009. Missed 2010 due to work. Heavily involved with the event in 2011. A spectator for 2012. Urbanscapes celebrated her 10th chapter last weekend. And it was bigger than ever. And with the sheer size, the soul had been diluted somehow. And part of me felt sad.

It used to be hip. It showcased local talent. We were talking about talents which had yet to become mainstream. The acts featured were underground and beloved. There was a sense of us then. Now, it was all money and commercial. Sponsors and profit. A shame really. Yuna started here. Zee Avi started here when she was still KokoKaina.

Urbanscapes now expanded to fill a whole weekend - a couple of days. Traditionally held in the middle of the year, it was shifted this year due to Ramadhan. Venue was the same as last year - Padang Astaka - which contribute somewhat to the loss its magic. I stated last year that I preferred KLPAC, and did not buy the excuse that it was too expensive a venue there - well, the charge was RM90 for a Saturday pass alone, and more than RM200 for the whole weekend. KLPAC offered better shelter from the elements, and also allowed for indoor showcases to be featured.

And talking about the elements, having a festival - an outdoor one at that - during the Monsoon was never going to be a good idea. They managed to be blessed with sunshine for most of the couple of days, but the muddy field explains much about the risk. But maybe, that was part of the charm. Having limited number of entrance and exit though - minus easy parking - was certainly not charming. That area of PJ was not overly blessed with public transport either.

Padang Astaka also appeared too big for the event. There were too many open space which the organiser struggled to fill. The saving grace was this allowed for space to dance and enjoy the music. Mind you, you would be on the muddy fields then. There were hardly any shelter though. Not even proper area to sit and chill.

Enough about the negatives. The eclectic mix of the hip and the trendy were there for all to see. The price of items and beverages were still on the steep side, but one would expect that in such circumstances. A few nice shops, some really nice things to browse and buy. Nothing unexpected. Almost the same as last year, but some things you would struggle to get in one place elsewhere. What I missed was some improv and comedy. There were none to see during my visit there. Maybe my timing was off then.

As for the music, the ones I managed to sample was well groovy. Sound system was great, but shame about the mud. A bit of a put off really. It was nice to come back to Urbanscapes and see how it grew, but I still feel that it had grown too big for its boots. It ain't so cute anymore!

You know something was not right when you had booth by AirAsia and Hong Leong Bank, and a showroom - complete with cars - by Volkswagen. At Urbanscapes? Certainly not my cup of tea ........ Personally, I think it had lost its soul ..... What a shame. More negatives than positives I was afraid .....

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