10 questions about Back to Live, Singapore’s largest live music show since circuit breaker with Collective Mind’s co-founder Zaran Vachha

10 questions about Back to Live, Singapore’s largest live music show since circuit breaker with Collective Mind’s co-founder Zaran Vachha

Live music is gaining more momentum this weekend, under the new normal. 

After a year-long concert drought, Back To Live, a two-night affair dubbed as Singapore’s “largest live music show since circuit breaker”, is here to reinvigorate the scene. 

Featuring the likes of Benjamin Kheng, Sezairi, Charlie Lim, and more, the event on 18 and 19 December will see up to 500 people filling up the Sands Theatre at the Marina Bay Sands, propelling into action as part of a pilot programme funded by the Ministry of Health. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Collective Minds (@collectivemindsasia)

While this signals the gradual resumption of physical concerts, and perhaps even a better year ahead, it’s hard to tune out the alarm bells at the mention of a large-scale show. Following the havoc the highly infectious coronavirus has wrought on humankind, many of us have learnt to adapt with elevated hygiene, keeping fit, and most importantly, by avoiding crowds – raising concerns, even amongst the biggest of concert-goers awaiting their next live show. 

Live concerts you can stream while on COVID-19 stay-home notice

Understanding the need for more information, we at Bandwagon consult Zaran Vachha, co-founder of Collective Minds. Working behind the scenes alongside AEG Presents and Marina Bay Sands to make sure everything falls in the right place, Zaran sheds light on seating plans, safe distancing at the venue, getting swabbed before the show, and more, to help you navigate the processes of buying tickets and attending the show. 

Here’s what we know, presented in a Q&A format:


How did the idea for Back to Live come about?

Wanting to reintroduce live music together with the government, as well as end the year on a positive note, Back to Live was planned after the halt in live performances following the announcement of circuit breaker. In a dynamic partnership, the event was crafted with the expertise of AEG Presents from managing venues, Marina Bay Sands from doing pilots for MICE events, and Collective Minds’ extensive history of producing concerts.

What was the public’s response like to Back to Live?

While some remain apprehensive, the majority of the public are excited and supportive about moving forward and the return of live music. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Collective Minds (@collectivemindsasia)

Safe Management Measures

What are some measures put in place to ensure health and safety?

As no vaccine is available at the moment, the aim is to achieve a level of tracing everybody is comfortable with. With funding from the Ministry of Health, Collective Minds – together with AEG Presents and Marina Bay Sands – have gone through every possible scenario, and checked through every single step including zoning, seating plans, and more to keep everyone separated. There are also COVID-19 tests to check everyone entering the venue.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Collective Minds (@collectivemindsasia)

Fun fact: This amounted to a 150-page health and safety document akin to planning for a festival.

What will the Back to Live experience be like?

Unfortunately, concert-goers will be told not to stand up and dance throughout the entirety of the concert. There will also be no F&B or alcohol sales. Instead, everyone will be given a bottle of water. As the show starts at 9PM, concert-goers are more than welcome to have drinks and dinner beforehand.

However, the performances have been assured to be in full and not scaled down. Charlie Lim, for one, will be doing three different performances, including a solo acoustic, jazz quartet, and a full band performance with the Mothership.


How was the lineup selected?

Acts to suit a seated concert were chosen, though a range of genres have been included regardless. Acknowledging the current selection as some of the most talented in Singapore, concert-goers can expect top notch performances from the likes of Charlie Lim, Sezairi, Benjamin Kheng, Aisyah Aziz, and more. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Marina Bay Sands (@marinabaysands)

Were there any challenges getting artists onboard?

No. The lineup were eager to be part of the first few to push out a live show and restart the scene, instead of only waiting for a vaccine. “We will make sure these concepts are happening as much as possible, because if no one does the pilot scheme, and no one does these kinds of shows, then we're just waiting,” Zaran says. 


How were ticket prices decided?

Ticket prices were kept as low as possible, at S$55 for one day, coming around to what someone would pay at 222 Arts Club or Kilo Lounge. Not expecting to profit, but to break even, this is to make sure that Back to Live will serve as the first milestone for the roadmap leading up to the vaccine. 

What are some things to take note of when buying tickets?

The process will be simple, like buying tickets for a movie. As it’s not free-seating, the best options will be presented to you, grouping you together with the people you are attending the concert with. This is a MOH-funded pilot, and as such, all guidelines will be in check, especially when it comes to seating. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Collective Minds (@collectivemindsasia)


How will the COVID-19 testing be done?

Everyone attending the event is required to take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART). All one-day ticket holders will need to book an appointment to undergo the ART at any one of the 22 designated clinics. Tests are recommended to be completed on the morning of the event day and no earlier than 23:00 hrs on the day prior to the event, while all two-day ticket holders will be tested on-site at Marina Bay Sands. These ticket holders will be required to complete the ART on both days from 5:30PM to 7:30PM.

If you are unable to do the test on-site, you can visit a designated clinic to take the test. A nasal swab will be carried out to obtain a sample from the lower part of the surfaces of both nostrils.

What if someone in the concert venue gets COVID-19?

As the test will be done 24 hours before, everyone would have been cleared of COVID-19 to attend Back to Live. While it’s intimidating to think 500 people will be in a single venue at once, every precaution has been taken – making the venue, in some ways, safer than a regular mall or a restaurant.

Back to Live is slated to happen this weekend on 18 and 19 December, starting at 9PM. Tickets are sold at S$59 for one day, and S$106 for two days, inclusive of booking fees. To purchase or get more information, click here.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Marina Bay Sands (@marinabaysands)

Moving forward, Collective Minds will be teaming up with more artists to reintroduce live shows in the region, as the world slowly recovers from the impacts of the coronavirus. International artists, on the other hand, have been predicted to return in the third or fourth quarter of 2021, with DJs likely to come back sooner, though unlikely in nightclub settings.

As the situation remains unpredictable, the gig industry will remain a “moving target”, especially for concert promoters who also require competition to thrive.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Collective Minds (@collectivemindsasia)

Stay tuned to Bandwagon for updates.

Bandwagon's Stories