Returning events to look out for in the coming months.

Design Film Festival
More arty gems by the likes of Marina Abramovic and Gergory Crewdson at this year’s edition. It’s great that the much-loved fest has decided to come home after successful editions in Berlin, Bangkok and Portland.

Singapore Food Festival
Sample local heritage delicacies tapas-style and enjoy a one-of-a-kind dining experience at the River Safari­—the first time that the fest will be held at an unexpected venue.

Phantom of the Opera
Worth the ticket price alone for its hypnotic set—look out for the twirling giant chandeliers.

Sundown Ultra Marathon
Back after a year’s absence, the overnight race is set to flag-off at the Marina Barrage, where dedicated runners can push their physical prowess to new heights by racing in the 100km Ultra-Marathon.

Singapore Biennale
This year’s theme is “If The World Changed”, with a confirmed lineup including filmmakers Royston Tan and Boo Junfeng and Cultural Medallion recipient Lee Wen.

Singapore Writers’ Festival
We had The Hours’ Michael Cunningham last year; this year will feature philosopher A.C. Grayling and crime novelist Peter James.

Affordable Art Fair
Far and away the best art fair if you’re looking for works by emerging artists, with many priced below $1,000.

ZoukOut 2013
Still the most reliable dance gig and beach party in town.



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Mark your calendars for the hottest new events of the next few months.

You know you’re suffering from a case of same o same o when you're scanning the Sistic website and can't find anything that excites you. It doesn’t help that there are now so many events happening here, so filtering the good from the mediocre isn't easy. So what’s really worth your time? The list we've assembled here features huge stars, awesome new concepts and more than a few surprises. We've also thrown in some self-serving recommendations of where to find the best events coverage in town. Just remember—these debutantes are a big deal, so you'll want to book early.


Zouk Indie Triple Bill
It’s been a while since our friends at Zouk organized live concerts at their venue (previous acts who performed there include Peaches, Chicks on Speed, The Radio Dept. and Mono), so we were excited to hear that they are bringing back their live music series with the launch of their first triple bill, which will have Icelandic band Mum performing (for the first time here) their brand of ethereal electronica alongside up-and-coming local bands Wavves and Shelves, who will open for them. Those who missed fellow Icelanders Sigur Ros’ gig a couple of months back have a chance to redeem themselves at this one.

Jun 15, Zouk.

The xx
Any hipster worth their skinny jeans knows The xx, but those who really know their music can testify that the group’s brand of moody electronics and hushed vocals hark back to the best of the shoegazing sounds from the ‘90s. Although the threesome performed here previously in 2010 to mark the launch of their acclaimed debut album xx (supporting Florence + The Machine) with a short-ish 45-minute set, their upcoming solo gig will have them perform a full set of tunes from their acclaimed last two albums (including the more recent Coexist).
Aug 2, The Star Performing Arts Center.

Pet Shop Boys
The last time these guys were here for SingFest in 2007, the crowd had so much fun dancing to their retro ‘80s tunes that the rest of the acts in the line-up (Cobra Starship, The Noisettes) seemed out of place. Part of their travelling Electronic tour (the album of the same name will be released in June), expect to see kitschy costumes and a fantastic multi-media backdrop that will rival even that of Kraftwerk’s 3D concert here last month. Yes, Neil (Tennant) and Chris (Lowe) will be dishing out newer tunes from their upcoming album, but expect the crowd to go wild when they play classics like “Rent”, “Heart” and “Domino Dancing” instead. That’s when we’ll be getting our glo-sticks ready (and you should, too).
Aug 3, Resorts World Convention Centre™, Compass Ballroom.

1 World Music Festival
Finally, something truly new for F1. Music gig inside the circuit tend to be disappointingly short and horribly crowded (let's hope The Killers prove us wrong), making this the to-go-to gig during the race. This two-day music fest to be held at the Marina Barrage (also a first) will feature international acts like Tinie Tempah and Iggy Azalea performing, while DJ acts include names like Orbital and Miguel Migs. "You’ll feel as though you’re in the eye of a hurricane, and the electric feeling generated from the stage will ripple through the crowd,” says Mark Rafter of organizers Retfar Entertainment (we think that's meant to be a good thing). Rumor has it that the celebrity-designer Jeremy Scott and DJ-partygoer Samantha Ronson will also drop by for the festival, so it's definitely one for the diaries.
Sep 20-21, Marina Barrage.

The Killers
When The Killers were announced to headline the F1 2013 concert at the Padang earlier this year, we were excited but apprehensive (they cancelled on us in 2010). Vocalist Brandon Flowers reunites with the rest of the team (after embarking on a semi-successful solo career) to promote their latest album Battle Born, although don’t be surprised if they serve up old favorites like “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me” along the way.
Sep 21, The Padang


Dirty Dancing
When you pit two feisty and rebellious characters with a cool old-school soundtrack featuring tunes like The Ronette’s “By My Baby” and Eric Carmen's "Hungry Eyes", nostalgia can only be a good thing. Sure the film version has pretty much reached cult status, but seeing the show live on stage takes it to a whole new level. Relive the story of Baby and her affair with dance instructor Johnny Castle in this timeless tale of youth, love and revolt.
May 24 - Jun 16,
Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands

One Man Lord of the Rings / The Lord of the Rings—The Fellowship of the Ring
The first of two unofficial* double bills (next up, Shakespeare, see opposite), these two shows promise to be a good use of your "precious" time. The first is the critically-acclaimed one-man stand-up comedy show by Charles Ross, whose hilarious spin on the series will amuse both fans and non-fans alike, while the latter is a live projection screening of the movie with live orchestral accompaniment by Howard Shore.
* Unofficial because they're completely unconnected and we've just grouped them together for the sake of a story.

Jun 18-23, DBS Arts Centre and Jun 6-8, The Star Theatre

Alfian Sa’at—In the Spotlight
Fans of the prolific playwright will not want to miss this triple bill of two rare works and one new one. "The Optic Trilogy" (a meditation on love and loss) gets a fresh new cast featuring Janice Koh and Brendon Fernandez, while "Dreamplay: Asian Boys Vol. 1" is a modern gay fantasia set in a fictional world filled with lots of topless boys and a couple of naughty “angels”. The new work "Cook a Pot of Curry" promises to be an outspoken take on migration and the changing demographics of Singapore.
Jul 3-20, The Singapore Airlines Theatre, LASALLE College of the Arts.

The Addams Family
More nostalgia in the form of this hilarious and dark musical based on the popular film series. This time round, Morticia, Gomez, Lurch and the rest of the family members are yet again up to no good (but with the best of intentions, of course) as they get sucked into the trappings of modern living.
Jul 9-28, Festive Grand™ Theatre, Resorts World® Sentosa

The Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare / Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
If SRT's Shakespeare in the Park series got you all hot under the ruffled collar, then you'll want to book these now. First up, none other than the Globe Theatre are in town, with a completely new take on the classic tale of sisterly rivalry played out by an all-female cast (settle down, boys). That's followed by a hilarious take on at least 37 plays summarizing all the tragedy, romance and comedy that the Bard is most famous for.

Oct 2-13, Fort Canning Park.


Films at the Fort
We love outdoor film screenings (the recent Art-in-Film Festival at Dusk held at Tanjong Beach Club was one of the freshest we’ve been to), so we’re certainly looking forward to this one, from the folks who put on the Green Corridor Run earlier this year. And what a perfect setting for a movie! Not only will you get the chance to see quality films like the nevver-before-screened documentary Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 about the Bond franchise, you can also catch Oscar-nominated The Intouchables and the Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook if you missed them on the regular cinema circuit. The festival will also present short films by local directors prior to the screening of the feature length films. Plus, there will be lots of gourmet food and wine to go around, and a dedicated Champagne bar if you feel like making the occasion one to remember.
Aug 22-25, Fort Canning Green.


World Street Food Congress
Think you've seen it all in the foodie scene? You're still in for an unusual experience as street food hawkers from all over the world clean up their acts and convene here to wax lyrical about the artisanal merits of their craft and how to best professionalize the industry for better recognition of their work. Before this get-together of cheap eats enthusiasts takes off internationally—organizer Carol Anne Wah hopes to hold it in "San Francisco, Mexico or even Israel" one day—food culture nerds had best get in line for this year's inaugural edition.

May 31-Jun 9, F1 Pit Building & Paddock.


Essential Eames
Not only will this much-anticipated exhibition feature some of celebrated couple Charles and Ray Eames’ celebrated chair designs, it will also trace their personal life with a showing of Ray’s intimate drawings for the first time ever, as well as contextual display of a case study house for a more interactive experience and a Powers of Ten film screening, a little seen gem directed by the duo tracing the origins of the universe. Promises to be the most cohesive and complete art exhibitions here after Warhol’s 15 Minutes Eternal at the Art Science Museum in 2011.

Jun 29-Jan 5, 2013, Art Science Museum.


Mountain Bike Carnival
Missed OCBC Cycle but want to show off your pedaling chops beyond fixed gear? Sate your taste for terrain at the city’s first and biggest mountain biking event. Aside from the standard eight-hour Enduro marathon conducted on fireroads, there are likely to be other activities, including an exhilarating night race—just try overtaking en masse in that.

Aug 25, TBC.

Check out our list of top returning events in Singapore.


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We all know how this city works: the second a neighborhood gets called hip or trendy, it’s only a matter of time before a) hipsters make their way there to sell cupcakes and b) investment bankers jack the prices up by moving in. The only way the rest of you can enjoy a hip hood is to get there first. So we decided to do everyone a favor by identifying the next four semi-suburban hoods on the cusp of awesomeness so you can beat the rush. Warning: not all these offer cupcakes. (Yet.)

Park Life: Everton Park

If Tiong Bahru and Jalan Besar are getting too busy for you, Everton Park might just be the place for that quiet cuppa on a Saturday morning—it’s no coincidence that three coffee joints and two bakeries (what did we tell you?) have opened in this quaint neighborhood over the past year. “This is one of the oldest HDB blocks of Singapore and has seen its growth through the decades,” says Casey Loh, co-founder of refurbished antique furnishing store Artsyfact, one of the first few shops to open here last year. “We wanted to have presence in an estate that pays homage to nostalgia but is also surrounded by Singapore’s ever-evolving cityscape.”

Its close proximity to Neil Road and Spottiswoode Park also means that city slickers can either have a meal at one of the old-school kopitiams along the former or check out art gallery Vue Privee at the latter before proceeding here for coffee and desserts. Located on the ground floor of HDB blocks, these establishments are fairly accessible, but be prepared to make a few wrong turns (old designs may be charming, but they’re not always practical).

One-year-old Nylon Coffee Roasters is must for serious coffee lovers. Primarily a coffee roaster, this small joint is best for a quickie takeaway for a cup of espresso ($3) before you proceed to check out the rest of the area. Reminiscent of Papa Palheta and Chye Seng Huat (proprietors Lee Jia Min and Dennis Tang were former partners at the two joints), this is a quaint, scaled-down neighbourhood version specializing in six types of blends using beans from El Salvador and Kenya. Meanwhile, Just Want Coffee is great if it’s variety you’re looking for. Espressos and house blends aside, you can also pick up their caramel ice drip ($7) and Luwak coffee ($35) at this easy-going 25-seater cafe. Twenty-day-old Cozy Corner Coffee (#01-50 Blk. 4 Everton Park)—with its graffiti walls and trendy furniture—is another great new joint to hang out in, serving sandwiches (from $6.50) and pies (from $2.50) on the side.

For desserts, don’t miss Grin Affair for their highly creative “cakes in a jar”. Spanning flavours like strawberry cheesecake and hazelnut, these are a step up from regular cakes found in other bakeries as they are all individually handmade and hand-packed by brother-and-sister team Leslie and Jody Ong.  All cakes are stuffed in recyclable mini jars and make perfect gift ideas (plus, they’re only $5.50 each). Batterworks is another spot load up on a wide range of pastries from just 95 cents each, or $5.50 for six.

Then there is Artsyfact (Call to make an appointment), a small but hip vintage furnishing store founded by Aaron Koh, Casey Loh and Leon Lai (no, not the Canto-pop singer). The trio scour the island’s estates, homes and flea markets for unwanted junk, then repurpose and restore them into unique furniture and furnishings (prices range from $19 for an enamel vase to $2,000 for a sofa). Aspects of the original material, including its history with previous owners, are preserved and there’s always a story to tell.

While it’s still early days to really tell if Everton Park has the potential to become a destination in its own right, its quaint setting and increasingly modern mix of cafes are telling signs that it is not far off. “The potential for Everton Park to grow is there as older shop owners are moving out to make space for newer tenants,” says Artsyfact’s Loh. Though footfall isn't fantastic, we still expect indie-types to come down to this area to hang out.”

Art Beat: Alexandra

Clubbing at the usual shiny mega-institutions these days feels like stepping into a Rich Kids of Instagram diorama (only real!), what with barely-legal young men and misses—each armed with a personal giant bottle of Dom Pérignon—cavorting to Avicii. So it’s no surprise that savvier folk have been sniffing out the Alexandra area for alternative parties. The boys from Sideshow practically hold court here, with their wildly successful garden parties at The Training Shed setting the tone with their free-wheeling Sunday outdoor parties, plus  a recent do inside art gallery Future Perfect. And last month we saw the Super 0 parties take the heat up a notch with cult names like 2562, Delta Funktionen and Dinky gracing the decks of an ingeniously converted space in Gillman Barracks.

Of course, people were already hanging out here before anything ever popped up in Gillman Barracks—this cluster of galleries and eateries has been on everyone’s radar since its massive opening last year. If you plan to visit, look out for upcoming openings. Some galleries synchronize their opening nights, which are great fun for gallery-hopping.

F&B offerings can sometimes be a little lackluster at spots like these that are far from competing dining destinations. Fortunately, there are a couple of gems here that make the grade. We really like The Naked Finn, which has plenty of indie cred, having begun as a little pop-up kitchen at the now-defunct hip local boutique A Curious Teepee. It’s all grown up now and has a place of its own, drawing hungry crowds nightly with grilled seafood and refreshing cocktails (from $16). A more romantic spot is secluded modern Thai joint Tamarind Hill, while crunchy types can get their greens at Onaka, which makes use of wholesome meat analogs in their dishes (tempeh Reuben sandwiches!, $13).

For post-dinner drinks, there’s Room Coffee Bar, a dinky little cafe which used to be tucked away in a shophouse on Carpenter Street. But unless there’s a party going on, nights here tend to be on the low-key side, so if you’re in the mood for beer and music, Timbre @ Gillman is probably your best bet for kicking back until late.

Although there’s art and music aplenty in this part of the island if (and only if) you know when exactly to swing by, there just aren’t enough choices around to make this a 24/7 hangout yet. On our wishlist? Casual cafes could turn this into the ultimate brunch spot, and it would be ear-splittingly amazing if forward-thinking nightspots (think the old La Maison on Fairways Drive) could capitalize on the low residential density here.

Food for Thought: Jalan Riang

This tight alley may have just five hip dining establishments, but that’s quite enough to rival other hip hoods in terms of crowd density. Anyone who’s walked the street will know that well—even the quietest weekday spot here is almost full house on a weekend. That, despite the estate being far from the city (located off Upper Serangoon Road) and at least 15 minutes on foot from the Lorong Chuan MRT Station. Driving? Word of warning: parking is limited and can be a nightmare. But if lack of access hasn’t affected businesses, it can only mean one thing: Jalan Riang is doing something right.

The first to take up residency here was three-year-old The Fat Cat, a casual, non-airconditioned bistro with a serviced food court concept. There are three stalls serving Thai, North Indian and French cuisine, plus the eatery’s own bar offering a selection of beers (from $8), wines (from $11 per glass), cocktails (from $10), coffee (from $4), juices (from $3) and desserts (from $1). With each stall offering its own distinct flavor and menu—we’re talking about over 100 food items—it won’t be easy making decisions, but the wide variety of dishes are hard to fault.

Next door, seafood restaurant The Cajun Kings, replacing the former Jules Cafe Bar, bustles with a swinging, convivial ambiance. This is the kind of place to forget all table manners—eat with your hands, laugh out loud, slurp and burp if you like—while you feast on its hearty Cajun-boiled shellfish like crabs, mussels and prawns served in plastic bags (from $8 per 100g). For dessert, try the quaint neighboring chocolate cafe Wimbly Lu if you’re in the mood for sophisticated sweets like chocolate crème brulee ($5) and the Blackout Cake ($6). Plus, its whimsical décor complete with fairy-lighted glass roof and cozy vibe might be just what you need for a quiet evening.

For affordable, true-to-form Italian fare, La Pizzaiola ticks all the right boxes. This second outlet, with its unfussy, modern interiors of wood-paneled walls, dark-colored furnishings and concrete floors, offers a concise menu of Italian standards: antipasti (from $6.90), pasta (from $12.90) and pizza (baked in a wood-fired oven, from $13.90).

Finally, at the end of the street is the latest addition to the scene: coffee spot Rokeby (pronounced roc-ker-bee), named after a street in Western Australia. The three-month-old establishment serves artisanal coffee (from $3.50) complete with latte art, as well as a decent selection of starters (from $6.90), Western mains such as prawn risotto ($18.90) and kurobuta pork collar ($23.90).

More venues might help to stretch the crowd thinner, but Jalan Riang is a small lane and there are not nearly enough of the charming 1980s shophouses to go around (maybe just two or three more and the area will be full). Nonetheless, what the street lacks in quantity it makes up with quality.

Eastern Promises: Katong/Joo Chiat

Although there never was any shortage of good food around here, Katong somehow never got around to becoming truly hip. These days, however, it looks as though the profile of this area is finally about to rise above its laksa-and-Peranakan-kueh doldrums. What with the iconic Red House Bakery currently being renovated into a set of slick apartments, the whiff of imminent gentrification is pretty strong.

Another old-school institution that’s recently undergone a makeover is AlibabaR the Hawker Bar, a kopitiam that’s somewhat catapulted to fame following the success of French food stall Saveur, which now has its own digs at Purvis Street. It’s now more of an open-air bistro where you can sip on upmarket brews like Belgian Trappistes Rochefort beers (from $12.90). There isn’t a mixologist on the premises, but we wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see one. It certainly seems like East Coasters have an unquenchable thirst for booze, and aren’t shy about flocking to new bars either. We visited some newer kids on the block Immigrants and sister establishments Rabbit Carrot Gun and The Trenchard Arms right after they opened, and found that they were already packed with crowds of rowdy (in the first case) and grizzled (in the latter) regulars.

A notable alternative is Penny University , a lively cafe that’s packed to the gills on weekends despite not serving alcohol (nor pork; it’s halal). With a streamlined menu of coffee, tea, breakfast bites and Windowsill pies, it’s sort of the grown-up, cooler older sibling of run-of-the-mill coffee chains hawking sugary ice-blended drinks. Instead of pimply study groups, you’ll find mostly young adults on platonic coffee dates and folks doing their own thing, accompanied by cups of their signature muddy espresso ($5.50). As the cafe looks to expand its menu with classic fry-ups, we think this could easily become Katong’s answer to Loysel’s Toy or Kith Cafe.

Katong has plenty going for it, being a bit of a favorite with design collectives like Kinetic and PHUNK Studio. There’s even a gallery of sorts along the main foodie strip, in the form of Mad Nest. But nearby hawker food offerings and shopping malls make this a truly egalitarian hangout, and not just a hip destination for those—like you, now—in the know.


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The vivacious former face of Zouk currently heads mammoth fashion trade show Blueprint and runs her own creative agency Present Purpose. She talks to Terry Ong about life in the fast lane.

I don’t do routine very well. I prefer going with the flow and seeing what each day has in store.

I’m influenced by Eastern philosophy, social dynamics, my environment and energy.

What drives me? Dark chocolates.

My childhood was spent in Perth. I spent a lot of time riding around on my bike, tassles blowing in the wind, playing in friend’s treehouses till just before dark when I’d make the mad cycle home.

It was a severe contrast when I moved back to Singapore at 12. My dad and stepmother were strict so my freedom was curtailed. My outlet was joining the school athletics team because it was the only extra-curricular activity where we had to train three days a week, a way to spend less time at home.

I was an only child so I spent a lot of time on my own. I’d entertain myself by reading and writing stories or by singing and dancing along to musicals on TV.

My secondary school classmate remembers me saying that I wanted to run a club when I grew up.

I guess my love for music started early and always being roped in to organize and choreograph the performances for teachers day and other school productions fanned my passion for organization and bringing people together.

Friends have always been an important part of my life. I think I’m a good judge of character so once a friend, always a friend.

I’m a pretty positive person, combined with a practical nature, it takes a lot to get me down.

Positivity in the face of adversity; people who make the hard choices to do the right thing, spontaneous creativity and living in the moment inspire me most.

I keep an open mind and can usually see many sides to an argument. I don’t think one should ever be too rigid in their thoughts, it’s divisive and doesn’t allow for growth or understanding.

I air on the side of kindness, self awareness, compassion and the philosophies that imbue that.

I laugh easily and frequently so it might appear that I’m easily tickled. I think it’s just the way my mind works; I can see the humor, even in sometimes dark situations. I pick dry over slapstick, Brit over American humor.

I collect kewpie dolls and oddballs—yes, even human ones.

In terms of men, I usually go for the goofy and funny ones. Drive, intelligence, goofiness, honesty and effective communication turn me on.

I try to do a retreat or two annually to somewhere peaceful to slow down. I practice mindfulness meditation daily and make an effort to spend time in nature to boost up on negative ions and slow down the brainwaves. Exercise is a new method as well, jogging with the Purple Lights crew on Wednesdays and kickboxing at Rough gym.

For love or money? For love, without a doubt, it truly makes the world the world go round and is only the better for it.


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Spring Breakers

Editor's Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Nobody does modern ennui and character study like Harmony Korine. Following his cult debut Gummo with its unrelenting depiction of a desolate America via a tornado-stricken Ohio, Spring Breakers is a pastiche of dream-pop poetry and a moody study of the search for the meaning of life set in modern day Florida.

Opening Date: 
Thu, 2013-05-02
Running Time: 
1 hr. 34 min
Spring Breakers
Terry Ong

British artist Tim Wakefield’s hip and psychedlic artworks are created by capturing the digital heartbeat of some of the world’s most iconic musicians including Eric Clapton, BB King, Pink Floyd and The Clash. Prior to his first solo show here, Wakefield talks to us about getting on with some of the artists he’s worked with.

How did your journey begin?
A love of music and a vision to do something that was completely unique. What started out as a few digital doodles has turned in to a career that is taking me around the world and meeting amazing people. Next stop: India and Nashville. There's a contrast.

Which musician(s) blew you away?
The ones who can change your mood like Pink Floyd, Muse, Coldplay, The Stones, BB King and The Clash. Great music is timeless. If you still get it 30 years on it means something. Many of today's artists are media-created five-minute wonders.

Are these soundwaves in any way philosophical?
They are my own interpretation of a song. If the musicians like them then it is all good with me. I never set out to be an artist so everything else is just a fun journey. Let the song be philosophical.

Which artists' "energy" do you dig most?
It is all about the mood you are in and where you are. If I am running give me Audioslave, System of a Down or Queens of the Stone Age or any high energy beat. If I am relaxed at home I will listen to blues.

What other mediums would you like to explore with?
3D printing techniques and working with oversize resin blocks where the image becomes translucent and can be enhanced by subtle lighting. Also we are working on large building projections for exhibitions in the UK and US.

Ever rejected any artists?
I would offend people if I named names. I like to work with artists who write their own songs and ignore mainstream pop which is more about PR and looks.

What sort of art do you personally dig?
I enjoy art that is uplifting, humorous or tells a story. Dark and moody is not for me. I have wasted enough time on the negatives already. The art you like will probably reflect the person you are.

Soundwaves is on through May 31 at Icon Gallery.  


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With flea markets and weekend bazaars all but taking over the city, Terry Ong and Crystal Lee find out which are worth your time.

Blame it on the penny-pinching economy or a desire to break free of same-same malls, but what was once a novelty is now the norm. Zouk’s quarterly Flea & Easy used to be the go-to (and pretty much only) weekend bazaar for used designer clothing and unheralded artworks on the cheap. Today, not only is that formula being imitated, but perhaps it has been improved on, with the proliferation of younger upstarts like the new weekly Bras Basah. Bugis Arts Flea Market at Bugis+ and the bi-monthly Sunday Artists Market at The Vault. Other independent bazaars like Boutiques are also upping their game, featuring vendors selling original creations not found elsewhere. And not forgetting regular bazaars like the weekly China Square Central Weekend Bazaar specializing in arts and antiques—there's no longer any shortage. So ready your wallets and credit cards as we gear up for the ultimate battle of the flea markets.


The Stalwarts

Flea & Easy  
The city’s first trendy flea market (great music, cool crowd, rare finds) may have lost some of its luster with its slightly more random (and younger) pickings these days, but it still tries its darndest every time. Recently revamped from a daytime flea to an evening one to set itself apart, with operational hours from 4-9pm and a convivial shopping atmosphere set inside Zouk, this flea has 70 stores offering anything and everything from pre-loved clothes and books to vintage collectibles spanning 20,000 sq. ft. worth of space. And it has probably the best music vibe of them all—the all-girl DJ group FFF DJ Bootcamp are always on board to drop quality dance music tunes while you shop, and even after 14 years, it's still one of the coolest fleas to see and be seen in.

Quality: ☺☺☺ 
Variety: √√√
Frequency: Once every quarter
Number of stalls: 70-80
Price point: $ to $$$ 
Payment mode: Cash only
Ambiance: ☼☼☼☼☼

Bras Basah. Bugis Arts Flea Market
Organized by the ubiquitous Public Gardens collective, this highly popular flea market, now a monthlstaple, is one of the most reliable fleas for random shopping: vintage goods are sold alongside artworks, clothing, food, CDs, books, locally published zines and collectible toys. Although pre-loved products are kept to a minimum here—you won’t be able to find that past season Valentino or Prada at any price—more affordable creations by aspiring designers as well as trendy home accessories like trendy terrariums are easy to snap up. It’s simple, casual, not overly ambitious and does the job well enough.

Quality: ☺☺☺  
Variety:  √√√
Frequency: Monthly
Number of stalls: 50-100
Price point: $ to $$$ 
Payment mode: Cash only
Ambiance: ☼☼☼

Winner: Flea & Easy. It’s a close fight in terms of variety and price point, but Flea & Easy gets an extra mark for its one-off charity editions (held annually) where portions of rental fees are donated to charities.

The Art Farts

This is the original flea mart that focuses on original products created by local and locally-based artists and creatives. Spanning a spacious 700 sq. m. inside the Red Dot Design Museum building as well as another 120 sq. m. outside along the sidewalk, it also boasts a convivial atmosphere with DJs spinning trendy dance music and displays of ad campaigns, posters and product designs by local design and advertising agencies. Goods wise, this is the perfect place if you are looking for small gift ideas—there are lots of one-off notebooks, accessories like earrings, temporary tattoos and hand-painted ceramics available for sale.

Quality: ☺☺☺ 
Variety: √√
Frequency: Once a month (held either on the first or second friday of the month)
Number of stalls: 60
Price point: $ to $$$
Payment mode: Cash only
Ambiance: ☼☼☼☼

Sunday Artists Market
One of the coolest new entries in town. Co-organizer Sharmaine Khoo handpicks all the emerging local artists found here, which has already grown from just 12 at its inaugural edition in November last year to its current 25. The eclectic range of products and services found here is inspiring: get some henna artwork and a haircut done (courtesy of the Hounds of the Baskervilles and Feist Heist teams) while you shop for original works by up-and-comers The Jungle (Pop Art merchandise), Carte Postale (funky prints on T-shirts), Koom (customized shoes), Forest Child (handmade leather products) and HMLM (crochet works).

Quality: ☺☺☺☺  
Variety: √√√
Frequency: Bi-monthly (held on the first Sunday of every alternate month)
Number of stalls: 25
Price point: $ to $$$ 
Payment mode: Cash only
Ambiance: ☼☼☼☼☼

Winner: Sunday Artist Market. Not only is the atmosphere great and in the presence of like-minded individuals, this is the new place to be for rare, one-off buys. Plus, you’re supporting local artists.


The High Enders

What started out as a smallish, carefully-curated high-end shopping fair at Fort Canning Park is now the go-to place to check out creations by local and locally-based independent designers. Held twice yearly in May and November to coincide with Spring/Summer and Christmas, Boutiques is where you can find well-made, fashionable resort wear by local designer brands Simone Irani and Vama, clutch and shoulder bags by Atalier Cheetham, choice accessories from online stores Jooix (www. and homeware from HOME. This is an eclectic yet superior weekend bazaar where the vibe is easy-going yet luxurious—shame that we don’t see it more often.

Quality: ☺☺☺☺  
Variety: √√√√   
Frequency: Twice a year
Number of stalls: 70
Price point: $ to $$$ 
Payment mode: Cash and credit cards
Ambiance: ☼☼☼☼

Robe Raiders
Created by fashion editor and fashion designer Sarah Tan, fashion designer Resham Melwani and business development manager Claudia Sondakh, expect only pre-loved designer womenswear and accessories at this notable but very ad-hoc weekend bazaar. How they work: the trio call for submissions of off-season designer brands at their website and blogspot periodically, which result in some of the most fabulous designer finds at any bazaar here. In previous editions held in venues like Kha and Palais Renaissance, used Louis Vuitton pants, Chanel and Balenciaga dresses and Proenza Schouler bags were sold at nearly 80 percent off their original prices. Oh, and some of the pieces were raided from the fashionable trio’s personal wardrobes, so rest assured you only get the premium stuff here.

Quality: ☺☺☺☺  
Variety: √√√  
Frequency: Ad-hoc
Number of stalls: 5-10
Price point: $$ to $$$$  
Payment mode: Cash and credit cards
Ambiance: ☼☼☼☼

Winner: Boutiques. It’s more organized and the range is certainly more diverse, even if you can score some unexpected great buys at Robe Raiders.


Hoarder's Grounds

Thieves Market
Daily, 1-7pm at Larut Road

This is the original flea market, having been around since the '30s, where local collectors and general hoarders gather to earn a few easy bucks over the weekend. Just a couple of years ago, shoppers could still manage to score an old pair of Levi’s, vinyls and collectible books here—but not any more. Ever since the majority of the area has been hoarded up for the construction of the upcoming Sungei Road MRT Station, some of the peddlers selling collectibles have gone over to the China Square Central Weekend Bazaar (see right), and what’s left are old clothes, shoes, toys and gadgets that may or may not work.

Quality: ☺
Variety: √√ 
Frequency: Every Sat-Sun
Number of stalls: 50
Price point: $ to $$
Payment mode: Cash only
Ambiance: ☼☼

China Square Central Weekend Bazaar
This weekly flea market is one of the most reliable grounds to score all sorts of antiques and collectibles. Expect to find a wide variety of rare finds here: books, CDs, vinyls, vintage toys, China ware, stamps, comics, old photographs, watches—but at a price. An old Rolex watch can go up to $5,000, but if you’re lucky, you can score hard-to-find movie posters and CDs for as low as $4. As it happens weekly, you won’t have to worry about missing out, plus the same sellers are there almost every week.

Quality: ☺☺☺☺  
Variety: √√√√ 
Frequency: Every Sunday
Number of stalls: 90
Price point: $ to $$$$   
Payment mode: Cash only
Ambiance: ☼☼☼☼

Winner: China Square Central Weekend Bazaar. It’s hard to leave here without buying anything, and to shop amongst like-minded collectors and sellers is a real treat.


Flea & Easy vs Sunday Artists Market: A tough fight this one. Both are similar in terms of vibe and atmosphere, but this new kid on the block is certainly fresher with its art-focused offerings. And you get to meet lots of budding young artists you’ve previously never heard of.

Winner: Sunday Artists Market

Boutiques vs China Square Central Weekend Bazaar: Depends on what you’re looking for, really. While we love Boutiques for its precious curation of designs by up-and-comers, the selection may be too niche for those looking to do some general shopping. China Square Central Weekend Bazaar is that much more accessible.

Winner: China Square Central Weekend Bazaar


Sunday Artists Market vs China Square Central Weekend Bazaar: You can’t go to one without going to the other. The fact that they’re located within a minute’s walk from one another is serendipitous; go to both for the best in arts and rarities, old and new.

Winner: Tie

Upcoming sales and fairs in Singapore


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Editor's Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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Opening Date: 
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