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Entries in Urbanscapes 2012 (3)


Me at Urbanscapes 2012

I had a full clinic in the morning. Returned to Gombak to get changed, before leaving the house again at around 3. Then, I was caught in traffic with the Himpunan Hijau folks making their was along DUKE Highway.

Parked my car at AmCorp Mall, planned to make the 10 minutes walk across Federal Highway to get to Padang Astaka. Arriving at the entrance, I was told that the entrance was at the other end of the field. And that was the only entrance. That meant I had to walk around Jalan Utara, a kilometer and a half away just to get into the field. Sigh! 20 minutes later, I paid my RM90 entrance fee and ambled my way into Urbanscapes 2012. Not much fun wasn't it. But at least it was in glorious sunshine.

We are talking oppa bendang style here!It was around 4.30 when I finally made it in. Did I feel the vibe? Hmm! To a certain extend I did. Then I realised how much Urbanscapes has changed. And the mud just spoiled my mood. Luckily I was sure that my maid wouldn't mind cleaning my shoes later.

I started by venturing into the stalls by the entrance. Mainly clothing and ornaments. Nice ones at that. Then to the food stalls, and the stages. A young DJ was plying his trade while the crowd just ignored him. I was looking around for performances, but none was to be found. More stalls then.

I approached one of the smaller stage where a band was playing. Nice live music. All their own songs. Quite nice. I left after they closed their set. Again I wanted to see improvisation and performances. Music was good, but I was looking for a bit more. Maybe my timing was off.

I said hi to a few of my friends. Some of them were involved with the event this year, but most of them, like me were just there to enjoy what was on offer. I went to look for some drinks. It was hot and sunny. Some nice chilled cola would be nice.

The main cafe was cordoned off for Moslem as they served alcohol unfortunately. But there were plenty of stalls to get food from. I just had some drinks, and were soon again looking around.

It struck me as odd that Volkswagen was there. Target audience - hipsters? But wrong cars. The were a few Polo, but there mainly sedan. No new Beatle. Next to it, Hong Leong Bank. Again, was I missing something here? Next to that was AirAsia. I could understand why they were here, but the other tenants just didn't add up.

Well. Let's move on shall we. Well away from the main stage, from the main attractions were the creative area. This was the heartbeat of Urbanscapes from the years gone past. They seemed to be at the background in this year's chapter.

I was glad that Urbanscapes was still going strong, but personally again i felt hat it had lost its soul. Urbanscapes were supposed to be for the underground rather than the mainstream. We don't want to escape the common daily chores for more of the same mainstream stuff. We have shopping malls for that. Maybe they were turning into Jom Heboh! I wouldn't bet against that. I hope that the organiser would rethink what Urbanscapes were all about. Because if they don't, I wouldn't be surprised if there were alternatives sprouting out. Perish that thought!

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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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Time for Uploading

After a couple of full days of photo taking, post-editing came as a drag. Even though I have the routine sorted out, it was the upload onto the server later on which could take some time. Usually Sunday morning would be the best time, but loading up almost 200MB of data on a slow broadband connection from the Gombak home - the apartment had 30Gb - took a bit longer usually.

The main photographs were from the Urbanscapes outing yesterday afternoon. I have yet to find time to blog about that. Maybe I would do that some time thins afternoon. As for now, it was time for breakfast, and Sunday morning rounds.

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