Good music, good food, and good vibes – this is the trinity of pleasure most of us can only hope to indulge in more frequently. Combine them together in a tempting little package and you get Gig Life Asia, a one-stop destination for gig and festival information that also furnishes you with an insider’s guide on where to stay and what to do in the city you’re visiting, in the form of its discerning travel packages. Think of it as the cool travel buddy you’ve been waiting for all this time. Founder, Priya Dewan, who also helms the progressive booking agency and music consulting service, Feedback Asia, takes us through its conceptualisation below.
Hey Priya, how did Gig Life Asia come together?
I realised through my network of friends here that there was not one spot that people could find out about all the events happening around the region, and because it was my job to know this, I thought I was best placed to share the information with everybody else.
One of the best features of the site is that you can pick accommodation according to budget and there’s information on where to eat. How important do you think all of that is to the experience of travelling for music?
I think it’s one of the most important things, nowadays. I always say this – festivals really need to distinguish themselves, now more than ever. They’re getting oversaturated, with similar lineups and all the same big names performing. What sets each festival apart is the experience you take away from them, and food is a big part of that experience.
The other distinctive feature of Gig Life Asia that separates it from any other event listing website is that traveller recommendations are suggestions made by locals. The places we feature on our site are above and beyond the places you’ll find on TripAdvisor or Agoda, which tend to be mostly travellers giving recommendations to other travellers. At Gig Life Asia we try to keep it local and personal, like an insider’s guide to these cities.
In terms of site design and layout, what inspired you?
I worked very closely with our designers at the Singapore-based firm, ONO CREATES. They were really helpful in guiding me through the process. I told them the messages and information I was trying to convey, and the target audience I was trying to reach. They helped me come up with a design that, I think, works really well. It stands out with its purple, pink and creams, which are fun and funky. I wanted to create something fresh, light, informative and different, something that I thought would appeal to people of various ages who are really interested in the same things as I am, which is travelling for entertainment.
“We hope to take the language barrier away to help facilitate the availability of information, and then to encourage people to attend these events through trouble-free packages.”
Are there any festivals you’re working with, as far as promotions and collaborations go, at the moment?
We’re currently working with Wonderfruit Festival, happening in Thailand, from February 16 to 19. We’ve got three different tiers of packages, from basic to lux, for every person’s budget and needs. We chose to work with Wonderfruit Festival because it’s a little out of the way. Slight inconvenience tends to be a barrier for a lot of people, so we’re trying to take that complication away by offering all-inclusive packages comprising flight and transfer tickets, accommodation, festival bands, and a pre-loaded $80 RFID wristband which gets you food and beverage from the moment you enter the festival.
We’re also in talks with several other companies and festivals, like Ultra Singapore, over organising accommodation, ticket packages, merchandise and other fun things. Actually, at any given moment, we feature at least 30 events on the site with information all across Asia, from India to Japan and everything in between, including two or three lesser-known festivals a month that are occurring in these markets.
Would Gig Life Asia be open to working with promoters on the ground?
Absolutely, 100 per cent. That’s what’s our next focus is. We’re going to go through the network of promoters we’ve built up through our booking agency, Feedback Asia, to see if they need help with expanding their marketing reach to other parts of Asia. I’ve found that a huge hindrance to people who want to attend events is the language barrier. It deters people from attending events even if their favourite artists are playing. Half the time, people aren’t even aware that some of these events are happening because the information is all in, say, Mandarin or Korean. So firstly, we hope to take that language barrier away to help facilitate the availability of information, and then to encourage people to attend these events through trouble-free packages.
Coming from a management and promotion background, what advice would you give to established and up-and-coming bands about working with companies like yours?
Start building your team. Start finding people around you who are supportive and in different areas of the music industry. But even before that, figure out what the music industry is. There’s a whole ecosystem around artists in the music industry and I feel like a lot of young artists aren’t aware of that when they should be. Learning more about the industry as a whole will better your opportunities to grow in it.
Valentine’s Day is coming up. Do you have any picks for couples looking to have a music-centric holiday together?
Honestly, I spent one Valentine’s Day buying cheap beers at 7-Eleven and sitting at the bridge of Clarke Quay watching couples walk by with my then-boyfriend. That was a beautiful experience. So for me, Valentine’s Day is less about where you’re going or what you’re doing, but who’re you’re spending your time with.
To stay up to date with gigs, festivals and relevant travel information, visit Gig Life Asia at https://www.giglifeasia.com/.
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