Haw Par Villa comes alive over the Halloween weekend with an arts fest

Haw Par Villa comes alive over the Halloween weekend with an arts fest

Channel NewsAsia·2017-10-27 22:55

The first Noise Invasion Festival, which features art, food and music, will be held on the night of Oct 28. It’s one of the main events during a two-day long programme celebrating the theme park’s 80th anniversary.

See Haw Par Villa in a different light (and with some art, music and food at Noise Invasion Festival 2017). (Photo: Invasion Singapore)

SINGAPORE: Still undecided on where to go this Halloween weekend? Here’s a suggestion: Haw Par Villa.

The iconic kitschy theme park of your childhood nightmares is celebrating its 80th anniversary with a two-day event that includes guided tours, a carnival, an interactive horror play at the eerie 10 Courts Of Hell, among others.

Explore Haw Par Villa at night during the Noise Invasion Festival on Oct 28. (Photo: Invasion Singapore)

But to experience another side of Haw Par Villa, you might want to check it out on the night of Oct 28, when the place comes alive with art, food and music, courtesy of the inaugural Noise Invasion Festival.

A collaboration between social enterprise Invasion Singapore and Noise Singapore – the National Arts Council’s youth engagement platform – the event runs from 6pm to 10.30pm and carries the theme #GetWeird.

The night’s programme includes live performances by musicians such as Sam Rui, Wicked Aura and Amateur Takes Control, while dancers from Recognize! Studios will be performing a site-specific piece at the theme park’s Signature Pond.

The Guan Yin statue at Haw Par Villa. (Photo: Invasion Singapore)

Street artists Slac Satu and Freaky Fir will also be working on a 7m-long mural, and visitors are invited to join in.

The festival also includes a treasure hunt, a food street, an arts and lifestyle market, and various workshops. Come dressed up and stand a chance to win a hotel staycation.

Dancers from the Recognize! Studio will be performing in and around Haw Par Villa's Signature Pond. (Photo: Invasion Singapore)

“We thought Haw Par Villa would be a great place to hold the festival. It’s been forgotten over the years and people think of it as a place that’s very scary, but it’s actually full of culture and history,” said Audrey Ong, creative and business strategist at Invasion Singapore.

Recalling her own experiences visiting the place in the 1990s, she added: “A lot of Singaporeans have memories of the place, be it fond or not. I grew up moving between Singapore and Hong Kong, which has a place that’s similar. And when I’m back here, we would visit Haw Par Villa. It’s quite different now. There used to be more statues and a really big dragon at the entrance.”

Up-and-coming contemporary R&B artist Sam Rui will be among the performers at Noise Invasion Festival 2017. (Photo: Invasion Singapore)

With so many lifestyle-themed events taking place, she pointed out that sometimes good food and good music are not enough for the younger set. “It has to be experiential as well, so the place itself plays a big part. And it’s also a chance to see Haw Par Villa at night because it usually closes at 7pm.”

Built in 1937, the theme park created by brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par was originally called Tiger Balm Gardens. It has since gone through various changes, including a Disney-like theme park, and was a hit among visitors during the 1970s and 80s.

Wicked Aura will make some (unearthly) noise at the Noise Invasion Festival 2017. (Photo: Invasion Singapore)

Recently, there are plans to revitalise the place. Its owners, Singapore Tourism Board, has appointed tour operator Journeys to manage the theme park, with plans for refurbishment and the addition of dining outlets in the works.

More details on Haw Par Villa’s 80th anniversary events can be found here. Details on Noise Invasion Festival 2017 can be found here. 

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