Artist Paradise Found at Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival
Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival 2013
March 1-3, 2013
Puerto Galera, Mindoro
One would be hard-pressed to attempt to describe the acid trip that is Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival. The three day feast for the senses is set in Mt. Malasimbo, a dominating figure over the beaches of Puerto Galera, Mindoro. Known as a great hiking trail because of its lush foot-hills and jaw-dropping landscape, it is also home to the biggest music festival in the Philippines—an annual event where people come to be with friends, meet new and interesting people, party and enjoy good music. The best part is you all hang out part time at the beach and at a grass terrace amphitheater on top of a mountain for the weekend. Sounds pretty cool doesn’t it?
Already on its third year, Malasimbo continues to raise its hype by gaining volume worth thousands of people and showcases both local and international artists. This year’s festival has been honored by the performances of three main highlights: the Philippine folk fusion experiment of the Bob Aves-Grace Nono group, Reggae’s rock and roll hall of famer, Jimmy Cliff, and soul princess, Joss Stone.
Saturday came, and with it, an explosive reggae night. Bands like Bambu Spliff and Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe led the night on with their original chill grooves and contemporary rhasta backbeats. Opening for the reggae royalty were The Flippin Soul Stompers who brought the funk out and got everyone pumped with infectious dancing via hardworking foot-stomping covers.
Vibes grew even more intense during the main event’s set, as Jimmy Cliff’s set was extended an hour—a gesture he rarely extends. The passionate Cliff engaged the crowd with his dancing and hurdling around the stage.
The crowd sang along to hits like “You Can Get It If You Really Want” and “I Can See Clearly Now” but what got the whole mountain singing was when he broke out “Hakuna Matata”.
Sunday was a different story with the mood set by the stylings of the ambient and soulful Yolanda Moon who lulled listeners with soothing rhythms. Nowadays one rarely hears about bands sharing the stage with DJ’s.
Glitch beat maker, SimilarObjects, who has performed at the festival since it began, formed a band to play over his beats to create a massive layer of musical textures. Opening for the main event was the soulful singer Quest who got everybody standing up during his spiritual performance.
After a long break with sound engineers making sure everything was perfect for the multi-award winning singer, the audience’s agitation quickly turned into excitement as a tall willowy blonde figure entered the stage: Joss Stone. Accompanying Stone was gospel chops drummer Tony Royster Jr. (Jay-Z, Joe Jonas) who brought musicians to their knees with his solid beats and technical solos.
Somewhere in the middle of “Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now”, Stone was suddenly faced with a surprise guest: a little green grasshopper. After an adorable struggle with the woodland creature, the singer gamely finished her set and added a quick word of self-motivation. Stone’s lovely performance was then ended with explosions of florals as she left the mountain while tossing pieces of a bouquet to a cheering audience.
Perhaps the key to Malasimbo’s success is this: whether you’ve come to live in the now, sit and chill out, or simply appreciate art and nature, there’s something for everybody, and that’s the simple beauty of it.
Writeup by Mari Pena
Photography by Carla Barretto
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