The full-moon and a light drizzle framed the festivities at Sentosa Singapore on Dec 10, as about 27,000 partygoers swarmed the Sapphire Pavilion anticipating a long night of revelry – probably via the pre-drinking party followed by, well, the official drinking party.

Bartenders decked in the official ZoukOutwear – a cyan blue T-shirt bearing the logo – bustled around towers of booze, ready for the thirsty crowd. Bacardi and Heineken were the official spirits of the night, alongside brands the likes of Raybans, SwatchRipcurl, and official sponsor, SingTel, were thronged with enthusiastic ravers. The only catch? Zouk’s beloved signature sausage stand was missing in action.

Back for its 11th year, ZoukOut 2011 gave the Siloso Beach coastline a luminous psychedelic makeover. Sky balloons of different sizes hovered around, announcing the different sections of the festival at a distance. A $10 increase in ticket prices to $88 didn’t seem to deter the loyal Zouk-ers as a vast number of clubbers, almost half of which looked like out-of-towners, flocked to the dance music festival of the year.

Girls in a rainbow assortment of bikinis, cropped tops and beachwear, sported temporary tattoos that exhibited their support for the renowned DJs that graced the line-up. Likewise, their male counterparts were decked out in singlets and T-shirts – completely unnecessary as they were to come off anyway.

24-year-old DJ Ming, a newcomer to the festival, took the reins for the first set denoting nightfall at Arena B, the dance floor nearest the entrance, dropping drum and bass beats with his 3-deck addition techniques. Other resident DJs, Hong, Adrian Wee and Eclipse kicked off a night of house, trance, techno and hip-hop in each of the 3 segregated arenas with dance hits such as ‘Stereo Love’ and ‘Barbra Streisand’.

The first “live” act was Liverpool synthpop foursome Ladytron, minus keyboardist Mira Aroyo. Their debut in Singapore was, unfortunately, not held in much regard in the beginning but soon drew a crowd. Fadly, 21, who attended the party, said, “Ladytron’s music is an interesting choice for ZoukOut. It requires an acquired taste, but nonetheless, it’s really good.”

Of course, “really good” was not emphatic enough for fan Natasha Soh, who “came [to ZoukOut] especially for them”, and declared the set as simply “awesome”. Enthusiasts of the electro-pop band raved and partied for a good hour before Ladytron’s vocalist, Helen Marnie, bade goodbye to a contented crowd after performing hits such as ‘Mirage’, ‘White Gold’ and crowd pleaser ‘Seventeen’.

Somewhere else in the Localized arena, local DJs begun a mellower setlist. DJ Donn, Masterpiece and the virtuoso of Zouk’s early sounds, Jeremy Boon, mesmerized the small but avid group of dancers. Ladies’ Night charmer Mambo Jambo rocked the third arena for a good 4 hours, yet leaving the loud and riotous clubbers begging for more.

Sao Paolo techno heavyweight, Gui Boratto, put forth his distinct sounds through his genre, showcasing productions for his critically acclaimed album Chromophobia. UK maestro of deep house and club hits Simon Dunmore collaborated with percussionist Shovell from the same land and rocked their 2-hour set that bordered on midnight, when the party came to life.

As other international DJs Bob Sinclar, Roger Sanchez and Chuckie (who brought Wynton Gordon’s ‘Dirty Talk’ to life in his own rendition) took their turns in the scheduled line-up, 2 of the highly anticipated DJs were psyched up to greet the edgy danseurs – Swedish elite DJ Avichii, followed immediately by “World’s Most Popular DJ” Armin Van Buuren in the schedule.

The slightly weary but still pumped up ticket holders mobbed Arena A, and some groupies of the respective DJs have already been loitering around the sector. As the attractive 24-year-old Swedish DJ who had begun his journey into electronic sensation at a young 18 stepped up to the consoles, screams of elation got the mosh-pit feverish with exhilaration.


Kicking off with phenomenal hit ‘Fade Into Darkness’, he made the intoxicated crowd even more rapturous than they already were. Alesso remixes of ‘Pressure’ and ‘Titanium’ were mashed with tunes of ‘Seek Bromance’ and ‘Calling’, all these while never stopping for a breather either for the crowd or himself. ‘The Drowning’ signified an end to his set but this was easily forgotten by the beatific assembly that saw the impending appearance of Nederland’s pride and joy, DJ Armin Van Buuren at the wee hours of the coming sunrise. Joining DJ Mag’s #1 spot in the prestigious Top 100 Poll for 4 years were 2 names the masses would never forget – DJ Chuckie and Avichii. Of course, the intro by 3 of the world’s leading DJs was so mind-blowing that some of the ladies – and even men – were driven to tears. We aren’t kidding.

Student Alcinda Lee, 19, professed her love for Armin’s ‘Desiderium (207)’ and sighed that, “it was a ticket well spent”.

22-year-old Australian party animal Brandon Aprile’s first time at ZoukOut was deemed well worth the trip as he pledges his loyalty to the 8-time winner of the Best Nightspot Experience in the Singapore Experience Awards.


Photos courtesy of ZoukOut 2011 Singapore.

As the crowd slowly eased out at sunup, Resident DJ Aldrin ended off the night alongside with Kohesive Production’s founder Karizma, spinning hits of hip hop as the sun ascended the coastline of Siloso Beach. As predicted, ZoukOut 2011 ended on a great note, celebrating their soiree spirit of ‘One World, One Music, One Tribe, One Dance’.

As the king of trance, Armin Van Buuren, himself said, “It doesn’t get bigger than this.”