High-octane entertainment: Imagine Dragons and Queen headline multitude of star acts at Grand Prix
Away from the roar of racing car engines, Singapore’s Marina Bay Street Circuit this year hosts crowd-pulling names such as Kylie Minogue, Bastille and Halsey, and numerous theatrical productions and visual showcases
When the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix flags off in September, the roar of the engines will not be the only sound to reverberate around the Marina Bay
Expect to hear thumping tunes, soothing melodies and rhythmic pounding off the track, as some of the biggest names in global music gather for the annual fiesta.
The line-up this year will be headlined by alternative rock band Imagine Dragons, best known for its stadium-ready anthems. But, as in previous years, the off-track entertainment in the Singapore Grand Prix is never limited to just one crowd-pulling act.
Other stars to head to Singapore this year include rock legends Queen, fronted by Adam Lambert, Australian pop icon Kylie Minogue, English indie rock band Bastille, American a cappella group Pentatonix, electro-pop singer-songwriter Halsey and retro pop-funk act KC and The Sunshine Band.This is in addition to a wide range of theatrical productions, visual showcases and roving artistes which will charm many fans who come for more than just the motor racing.
“We have been raising the bar every year and will most certainly not rest on our laurels,” says Michael Roche, executive director, Singapore GP.
In fact, the allure of the race’s off-track entertainment has been so strong over the years that the announcement of its annual headliners is usually the most eagerly anticipated news before the event.
The organisers rarely disappoint. Previous major acts to have performed during the Grand Prix have included Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams, Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5, John Legend, Pet Shop Boys and Ziggy Marley, among many others.
Asian acts have also been regulars. Past headliners included Taiwan’s Jay Chou, Mayday, South Korea’s BIGBANG and Singapore’s The Sam Willows.
These crowd-pullers draw up to 50,000 spectators a night, as multiple stages across the circuit create a carnival buzz amid the ferocity of motor sports.
One such spectator is Evan Woon, who has watched Maroon 5 and The Killers in previous years. “I’m quite excited about Halsey this year and I’m hoping to catch her concert,” says the 24-year-old university student.
“I look forward to the Formula One concerts every year because [there] is usually a diverse line-up. And the atmosphere is always lively, with a festival feel to it. It has good vibes and you can see people generally having fun.”
The Grand Prix caters to motor racing and entertainment fans. Tickets to see the Formula One race can also be used to watch the concerts.
The interests of both sets of fans are equally taken care of. This year, for instance, concertgoers can expect to get closer to the singers as the main stage has been relocated. Instead of being tucked at one end of the Padang – Singapore’s historic field in the middle of the city and the race circuit – it will be moved to the heart of the field. This allows greater visibility for the patrons.
“The front of the house that controls spotlights and audio towers will be tucked in front of the heritage trees at Connaught Drive, so we don’t lose valuable viewing space behind the towers,” Roche says.
“Overall, the patrons furthest from stage will be much closer than in past years. We will also install superscreens on the far right and left of the stage to give a wider viewing opportunity for races and concerts which will take the concert experience all the way into the Esplanade Park,” he adds.
But beyond the global acts, the Singapore Grand Prix also showcases aspiring musicians.
This year’s event will feature an emerging act, the winner of the Music Matters Live festival, Asia’s premier independent music festival.