REVIEW | Rock and hiphop peacefully coexist in more inclusive Rakrakan Festival

March 8, 2018 - 9:27 AM
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A female fan is hoisted above the throng during the Rakrakan Festival held at the Aseana City Concert Grounds. (Photo by Yummie Dingding/InterAksyon)

For the first time since it was first staged in 2013, the “Rakrakan Festival,” now regarded as the biggest annual showcase of Pinoy rock artists, included other genres in the mix.

This year, several hip-hop artists including big names like Gloc-9, Loonie and Ron Henley were among the headliners. In carrying the theme, “Pinoy Muna,” organizers made it clear that what “Rakrakan” wanted to celebrate this year was Original Pilipino Music or OPM as a whole.

“We were ready for all kinds of reactions when we decided to include hip hop acts in our lineup this year. We welcomed all feedbacks and took it positively. The good thing about it is that it opened a conversation between different fans. I hope this paves the way for everyone to be more open to the music, regardless of genre. That’s what we’re trying to pursue with the ‘Rakrakan Festival.’ We’re all Filipinos, everything falls under OPM so let’s celebrate the music together,” noted “Rakrakan” business development manager Chelsea Gloria.

The change was welcomed by around 25,000 attendees that flocked to the Aseana City Concert Grounds. Loonie and Ron Henley were early standouts at the Tropa Center Stage where most of the acts considered as A-listers performed. The two rappers set the mood for succeeding acts like Barbie Almalbis, Freestyle, Side A, Urbandub, Ely Buedia, and Gloc-9.

Gloc-9, who performed back-to-back with Ely Buendia, was a hit with the crowd. Ely’s set, which included Eraserheads classics, was excellent as expected, with most of the other featured musicians playing with him onstage. But Gloc-9 was quite a revelation.

A “Rakrakan” first timer, Gloc-9 kept the energy up for those who had been staying all day. Having collaborated with several rock artists, he had long gained the respect of the fans in both rap and rock communities. “Rakrakan” fans will definitely look forward to seeing him perform in the festival in the coming years from hereon.

The Move Stage was for all those who love to sing along with pop rock tunes with “hugot” lines. Among those who lined up were Moonstar88 (who had just celebrated their 19th anniversary), Gracenote, Soapdish, Hale, Maryzark, Join the Club, and Orange & Lemons.

Not to be outdone were the performers in the Indie Stage that included Autotelic, Brisom, Tom’s Story and IV of Spades, who stood out with their “wicked” tunes and funky outfits.

Those who were into reggae music had a grand time at the Groove stage where Sagip Adik Foundation kept the crowd in stitches with their hilarious set. Other notable performers included “The Voice Philippines” finalist Kokoi, Juan Gapang and crowd favorites Brownman Revival.

For those who loved punk and heavy metal music, Slam Stage’s lineup delivered with bands like Vie, Embercore, Run by Nine, Valley of Chrome and of course Skychurch providing headbanging pleasures all throughout the concert.

Ditto with another “Rakrakan” staple, the Mosh Stage, which featured headliners like Kjwan, Even Saydie, Wilabaliw, Franco and Slapshock. This year it was even more kickass with the addition of Wolfgang frontman Basti Artadi and Dicta License. Of course, no “Rakrakan” festival would be complete without the familiar sea of moshing crowd that only Slapshock could generate.