Wednesday, April 16, 2014



I said hello again to Makati Circuit Grounds last April 5 for Close Up Forever Summer 2014 featuring top local DJs Marc Naval, Martin Pulgar, Ace Ramos and Mars Miranda, with international DJs Helena, Deniz Koyu and headlining this year's Close Up summer party - Alesso!

So what happens when the young crowd of internet savvy edm listeners take over a crowd-sourced summer festival? It's CRAZY, with my scale of defining craziness going to both good and bad!

Close Up's major marketing move of crowd sourcing how we want their summer party to be wouldn't be possible if it weren't for... no not you guys... the internet! 

Sets of questions and options (Indie or EDM?) were laid down on Close Up's Facebook and Twitter account prompting netizens to be one of them as organizers. Thousands of comments, likes, shares, tweets and retweets won EDM over Indie music. An indication of the fast rising followers of this electronic age genre. 

I thought it was a clever move to heighten promotion. It was built on encouraging community engagement to reach one's desire followed by the anticipation of the turn out. You get the cycle there? 

And so now, how did a summer party based on the goers' wants came out to be?

Being on the final list of the day's commitments, I arrived at Makati past 10PM already. Two blocks away from Makati Circuit Grounds and we decided to just pull over and walk our way to circuit. Vehicles were parked from random streets surrounding the event area. Traffic was terrible and your way to the entrance, if you're very unfortunate, would start in a walkathon from JP Rizal to the former Sta. Ana race track.

Oooh, the smell of grass everytime I enter the Circuit Grounds, added by all the booths, stalls around it. And the music - of course the live music. At that time I have already forgotten how I even got to the venue, LOL!

Some of the event's food concessionaires

And other affiliates: F&H, Sunnies by Charlie, Globe and Team Manila

You can create your own shirt design with Team Manila's silkscreen!

Of course there's the forever present inflatable slide!

It was Helena already spinning when I got into the venue, although I heard our local DJs did fairly well too with their sets. Kaya naman talaga naten makipagsabayan eh :)
chanced upon Ace Ramos after his set while I was outside Circuit Makati talking to sponsors

Close Up Forever Summer served as the Philippine leg for Australian DJ Helena's Levity Tour where we got to hear her latest track - Levity.

We stayed at the back before Helena ended her set. I saw the attempt to make the place beach-like, not to mention the "sand castle" hopefully reminding you of Boracay. There are also sand slopes, murals, beach balls, and even surf boards making up the "beach fest feel" at the metro.

Glow sticks and wands were also given away, to the excitement of some. It was a pretty sight, felt like music waving hello all over the place!

An announcement regarding the VIP entrance was made during the interval before Alesso's set. Since the left entrance was jam packed already, they had asked the other goers to enter the right side to even out space. I was quite concern with 'some' of the bouncers though, I heard they were paid by few Gold section attendees to let them sneak in the VIP area. 

People started running to the front upon signalling Alesso's turn. This is his second time in the country after frontlining David Guetta's Nothing But The Beat Tour last 2012. He played some edm hits like "Stay The Night", "Eat Sleep Rave Repeat", "Starlight", "Reload", "Don't You Worry Child".

Of course we definitely got excited with his own tracks like "City Of Dreams"; I was on high (no, not that kind of "high") dancing to "Calling (Lose My Mind)"; and fell in love with "If I Lose Myself". He also played one of his newest song "Scars For Life" and did an encore featuring "Under Control".

City of Dreams - Alesso in Manila (Close Up Forever Summer 2014)

Last to spin was Turkish DJ Deniz Koyu where he played "Countdown" plus his tracks "Bong" and "Tung". Just like last year's Summer Solstice, you would notice how little percent of the crowd leaves prior to the final act. Well we did stay, for almost an hour at least.

The internet became relevant once more as they unlocked the Universo Robot and awesome strobe lights after reaching a certain number of #CloseUpForeverSummer tweets which is shown on the right LCD screen. Once again, Close Up trended even on the event itself! 

I must say, the crowd was way crazier this year than last year's Close Up Summer Solstice. The couple of months of extensive promotion didn't surprise me of the huge number of attendees brimming all (sold out) sections. There was even a mini stampede with those from the Gold section trying to put down the barriers to VIP.

The crowd is also either getting younger and younger, or I am getting older and older. Hmm, I'm pretty sure it's the latter. Filipinos are learning to adapt the EDM lifestyle right before my very eyes. Kids, and I mean kids, were embracing P.L.U.R. with the added statement of who can afford it or not. 

Unfortunately leaving Circuit Makati would also mean walking again to JP Rizal (yeah, we're some of the unfortunate ones). It's kind of discomforting seeing and being one of those to walk around near-by streets wearing those skimpy clothes, few of those feeling drunk, and most of us exhausted. I really do hope they'll do something with the parking next time. I understand the space inside Circuit Makati isn't enough, but with such a huge crowd like Close Up Forever Summer, a better process and information would be appreciated. 

I also saw how people, including us, felt like wanderers in the desert upon seeing this store selling P10 worth of red iced tea and buko pandan juice. This was probably caused by the scarcity of drinks at Circuit Makati for the dehydrated Forever Summer crowd, except for the short glass of water being sold for P20. It doesn't matter where you came from or who you are, it was a long line of revelers willing to sip and pay for a little amount of water to quench their thirst from the hours of dancing and shouting... and other dehydrating activities that goes along with partying ;)

photo from

All of these for the love and appreciation of dance music. What started out as a huge digital mood board with EDM netizens to take part of, followed by numerous social efforts to win passes and extend promotion, Close Up Forever Summer (as a whole) ended successfully.

It became a testimony of how and where we are now with the growing EDM community all over the world. Probably given the proper strike, we can also prove ourselves to be international festival worthy!


About Fao Rani Yarte

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