Backstage at Muzika

I'd say my first real involvement with Muzika Musim Luruh began two weeks before the event in the basic radio studios of 3ZZZ in Fitzroy. I was butting in on the Malay program that night, and the committtee members turned up to promote the event.

They brought along with them free tickets to give away, and once announced, the studio phones were never hotter.

An auspicious start, it seemed, for the final stage of a project four months in the making.

It's half past six on event day at the Prince Bandroom in St Kilda, and emotions run high. We're half an hour late for the first act, and there's already a crowd out there. Commands are barked out,the first act's late, and the already constricting schedule grows tighter.

Muzika Musim Luruh was primarily a competition. Students joined with gusto, spending time, energy and precious money to compete in the band and acoustic categories. There were 10 contestants in total, 4 bands and 6 acoustic acts, competing for trophies and cash prizes. On that account alone, Muzika was a big event to manage. [Disclaimer: I was a contestant in the acoustic competition. Yes I'm an attention seeker.]

The winning band: Super Metronome

But there's more. Muzika Musim Luruh was also host to a number of Malaysian guest artistes, whom together with the competing bands amounted to 17 acts for the entire night. A massive event, which hung massively on the necks of the crew members who didn't have a single quiet moment ,literally, for the entirety of the event.

All the tensions and frustrations were worth it. A broad spectrum of genres was on display in the competition, making it an interesting competition to watch. Some acts were complicated, some acts were simple, some poignant, some loud, and some just fun to watch. Melburnian students turned up in full force to show their support for their friends on stag and be more than passive spectators, dancing, cheering and singing the night away.

Of course, that was all before the big guns came out. Indie darlings Hujan came on stage, and the crowd turned to a storm. The boys made sure Liyana Fizi felt welcome in Melbourne. Bo had the girls eating out of his hand. Melbourne homeboys Brokenscar rawked as usual. The Pilgrims were just surreal.

Hujan during their soundcheck

So did it work?

It was a lengthy affair, not only for the crew involved but also for the audience. The sheer number meant that it was going to take a long time were there no technical mishaps, and once they happened it only grew longer.

It was not a perfect event. There were issues that affected the running of the program here and there, some bigger than others, some more critical, but at the end of the day, manageable. . Despite this, it probably didn't take much away from the event and I would say it was a successful show considering the non-professional nature of many of the core crew.

More importantly, to me at least, is the fact that this event represents another step up for the Malaysian student community. Being able to pull off an event of this scale brings a much needed confidence boost to our student activists, so long hamstrung by the scarcity of funds and support.

So four and a half gold stars to the Muzika crew, and good luck to whoever's organising the next one!

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