We’d take bets that anyone reading this has their fond memories of Urbanscapes. It being one of the first collectives (it says on their website they’re in their 16th year — whuuuuut) to bring the convergence of art, entertainment, ideas, music and the uniqueness of Kuala Lumpur’s character to the regular folk like us; the very name has become a mainstay in our psyches as the leading creative arts festival. And with that we always eagerly await the line-up announcement of their local and international acts, and what’s in store. *Rubbing hands GIF*
Casting back to one of the earliest memories we have of Urbanscapes (one of our first festival experiences here in Malaysia, innit), we remember trawling through the makeshift bazaar tents discovering local, small-time artisans who are the true champions of what the woke folk now call #SlowFashion. The upcycled bundle/vintage clothing, cute handmade accessories, art fit to place on your desk to brighten your daily life, and food galore. Then it was that rainy night we wore our galoshes and swayed to Sigur Rós, singing Sæglópur into the skies.
Over time, they evolved beyond the confines (or shackles? Strictures? Burdens? Limitations?) of just one weekend. For one, perhaps, they realised the regular Malaysian became a little bit more discerning, a little bit more involved, more engaged, and was a little bit more hungry for more. 2002 vs now — you can stream your favourite artist in a tap of a finger, right? We can talk to our fave celebrity on Instagram. So what gives? Why can’t we just have more? There’s so much out there, why can’t we do it all?
So last year they made it bigger. Better. And kinda meta — since Urbanscapes is about celebrating the city and what makes us Malaysians, they made it all about experiencing our capital city at the same time. A nod to Marshall McLuhan’s “the-medium-is-the-message”, they embedded their creative arts festival over locations within the city, to make you take that journey. Physically — and metaphysically. They said, “Come, visit us in Hang Kasturi, hang out in our heritage building, discover the back lanes of KL, revel in what the scene and the arts has to offer within the Malaysian context.” (Okay, this is not what they said but what we’d imagine happened. We like to think we’re right.)
Long story short — Urbanscapes is back again this November, and they look like they have some pretty amazing stuff lined up. The first of which is Khalid (the old us would’ve just appreciated Young, Dumb and Broke but after his album that is American Teen, and songs like Love Lies, OTW and Ocean we almost threw our phone in excitement knowing that Khalid would be gracing our shores. (It’s on the 4th of November, btw, and will be at KL Live. Get. Your. Tickets.)
Also in the line-up is none other than our other #WomanCrush Bil Musa who is also one of this year’s CLEO Hot Shots. And we can spy a few other super-interesting projects that include Biji-Biji Initiative and Our ArtProjects.
The full line-up is here and there are more to be announced soon. We suggest checking in on their Instagram to find out more and to always stay updated on what the complete line-up will me. Now we know, we need to count the days to November…