Pressing the Reset Button with Mosaic Music Festival

Originally set up in 2005 as a festival featuring world music and jazz, Mosaic Music Festival has come a long way since. It soon expanded to include in the repertoire, prominent names in the genres of folk, rock, indie, and beyond. Through the years, we've seen the Esplanade turn into a bustling playground for live music during the 10 days of Mosaic, with shows sprawled from over Outdoor Theatre, the Mosaic Studio, and the Esplanade Concert Hall. We have seen the likes of popular acts like Grizzly Bear, St. Vincent, Tortoise, Broken Social Scene, The Roots, The Cinematic Orchestra, Vashti Bunyan, Imogen Heap, toe, Grimes, and much, much more alongside local and regional acts. 

We spoke to Clarence Yap, Assistant Director in Programming about the Mosaic Music Festival and other matters. It's been known that now at it's 10th year, Mosaic announce that it will be their last. But do not fret, it has been stated that Mosaic will continue to live on, presenting gigs under the name in the future, throughout the year. 

Tell us about your Mosaic memories, we'd love to hear them!

How has preparing for Mosaic 2014 been so far?

The preparations are moving along fine and the team is very excited to put up the festival come March.

There never really is a particular start date for each festival since some artist discussions go on for years. But if I had to put a date, then I'd say the planning starts the day after the last festival. 

It isn't easy curating for Mosaic because we've set the bar pretty high. We look for artists who can give audiences a great live experience - guided by our approach of bringing together a diverse range of sounds around the central idea: A World of Music. This is a lot more challenging than say, trying to bring in the most popular names, which is not what we are about.

After being around for ten years, how much has the Singapore festival landscape changed?

When Mosaic Music Festival began in 2005, Singapore’s music scene was vastly different – it was nowhere as vibrant. Mosaic was the first to bring in such a large and diverse range of performers and genres into Singapore, and we have contributed to developing music audiences here.

Today, there are more festivals and concerts for different audiences, and they are spoilt for choice when it comes to live music performances.

A lot of people are asking: why end Mosaic after ten years?

I should clarify that we are not going to "end" Mosaic. While we won't be presenting it in this 10-day multi-genre festival format, we will continue to engage audiences with music, and look to do something different and meaningful for the music scene.

With audiences well served, it is a good time to step back, and think about what we can do that will be special and meaningful for the music scene here.  

Biggest take-away from 10 years of Mosaic?

Music fans are a very vocal lot. And that is a good thing.

"I think it’s very bittersweet. People have to understand the reason why Mosaic started in the first place, and I know that the Esplanade have achieved what they’ve originally set out to do, so huge congrats to them. It has always been about the music and setting up a proper local infrastructure for acts to play. Now that there are heaps of platforms for both local and international artists in Singapore, I’m sure the programming team will come up with something that will raise the bar even higher." 
Charlie Lim

What are some good memories from Mosaic through all these years?

Everyone we speak to has a different Mosaic memory that they can't forget. For some it is encountering a prodigious talent like the pianist Hiromi for the first time, for others the high-octane ska mad atmosphere of Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and for some, discovering the unknown in the Mosaic Studio was an eye-opening experience. For some artists too, there are special memories, like Stacey Kent who connected with Paula Morelenbaum backstage. They have been keeping in touch ever since. These are just examples of so many special and priceless memories we treasure.

Message to everyone who has been involved in Mosaic the past ten years, especially all those who have attended:

There are just so many special memories that we hold for Mosaic and we felt it was good to share these with everyone. Thus we are curating an exhibition called 10 Years of Mosaic Moments at Esplanade during the festival. We hope that everyone will come down to view this and it will help everyone connect with their memories.