2017 is shaping up to be a big year for Singapore. In addition to the city’s packed programme of annual events, sales and festivals, the Rugby Sevens will be hosted here in April. Take a peek at the lineup below, and start crafting your bespoke Singapore Stopover Holiday now…
Singapore Art Week, 11–22 January
Singapore Art Week – brought to you by the National Arts Council, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Singapore Economic Development Board – is five years old. The 12-day celebration of the visual arts takes over the city in January, with events, installations and exhibitions held in venues across Singapore. Visitors can expect a dizzying variety of distractions, spanning traditional, modern and contemporary practices. There will be art fairs, gallery openings, exhibitions, lifestyle events, public art walks, enriching discussions and more.
Chinese Festival of the Arts, 3–12 February
Huayi, the Chinese Festival of the Arts, will include performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land and dance extravaganza Cloud Gate 2; there will also be concerts, talks, workshops and events for little ones. Head down to Esplanade; you might be treated to a free show by the waterfront.
Singapore International Festival of Arts, August–September (dates TBA)
This month-long celebration of the arts spans public film screenings, street performances, workshops and talks. Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) is a gathering of local and international artists and performers, organised by the Arts House Limited, with acclaimed theatre director and Cultural Medallion-recipient Ong Keng Sen at its helm.
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, 21 January
St Jerome’s Laneway – aka Laneway – started life as a series of low-key weekly summer gigs held in, yup, a laneway in Melbourne, but it’s grown to become Asia-Pacific’s main indie music festival, gracing seven cities across Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. Laneway has also earned a reputation for showcasing Australia’s hottest new talent before it goes mainstream, so you’re likely to get a sneak preview of the big sounds of 2017 here. Singapore’s first Laneway was held in 2011 at Fort Canning Hill; these days, it takes over the Meadow at Gardens by the Bay. This year’s lineup includes home-grown talent Astreal, plus Clams Casino, Glass Animals, Nao, Sampa the Great – and more.
Ultra, 10-11 June 2017
Join the EDM-lovers and revellers at Ultra Park on Bayfront Avenue for Ultra dance music festival; last year’s headliners included Afrojack, Above & Beyond and Alesso. Ultra hails from Miami, where it kicks off each year, before heading to other cities around the world, including Singapore, Ibiza, Seoul, Tokyo, Hvar and Rio de Janeiro. The festival turns 19 this year; help it celebrate its birthday in style.
Great Singapore Sale, June–August (dates TBA)
Get your retail thrills – without enraging your bank manager – at this two-month sale, which gives shoppers the chance to go wild for discounted items from top-notch brands. Unsurprisingly, the beating heart of the action is arterial Orchard Road, which lures thousands of shoppers (there will also be spin-off sales in Little India, Chinatown and other neighbourhoods). Add Tanglin Mall, Orchard Central and 313@Somerset to your hot list, too. Bring an empty suitcase or two with you on your flight over.
FOOD AND DRINK
Singapore Cocktail Week, 12–17 March
This five-day fiesta raises a glass to the noble art of cocktail-making; you’ll soon see there’s a lot more to the city’s drinks list than its famous Singapore Sling. Expect at least 60 venues to deliver a boozy education: masterclasses, bar tours, mixology sessions and, of course, tastings, will all be on offer.
Singapore Food Festival, July (dates TBA)
Celebrate Singapore’s dizzyingly diverse food scene at Singapore Food Festival (SFF), a month-long celebration of the city’s exotic and varied flavours. Wander around STREAT, sampling dishes from street food stalls; take your tastebuds on an exotic journey at Little India or Chinatown; book into one of the city’s best restaurants and try one of the SFF special menus; gain some new skills (and recipes) by signing up for a cookery class.
Singapore Restaurant Week, October (dates TBA)
Feast in the city’s best restaurants at generously reduced prices throughout 2017’s Singapore Restaurant Week, the 14th edition of the annual food-fest. Last year’s theme was ‘Sugar, spice and all things nice’, with more than 100 restaurants signing up for the tasty extravaganza.
Savour, November (dates TBA)
In 2016, Savour hosted three food-and-drink festivals in Singapore; the lineup and events for 2017 haven’t been announced yet, but Savour’s philosophy remains the same: ‘celebrate the delicious’. Its varied and exciting programme of events champions Singapore’s best artisan producers, growers, chefs, mixologists and more; stay tuned for tasty updates.
Singapore Rugby Sevens, 15–16 April
The HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens – the eighth tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Series – will take over the National Stadium on 15 and 16 April, having kicked off in Dubai in December 2016. At each leg of the Series, 16 international teams will play 45 matches over two days (pre-sale tickets for Singapore’s games are available now). The theme for 2017 is ‘show your colours’: turn up with your allegiances clearly on display via face paint, props, team shirts and other creative flourishes that will prove your loyalty and love of the game.
Singapore Grand Prix, 15–17 September
Early Bird Tickets are on sale now for the Singapore Grand Prix, so don’t miss out on savings of up to 28% on your tickets. The event’s tenth edition will take place from 15-17 September 2017 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is a big fan of the Singapore leg, saying: ‘This race is always a highlight of the season: a great city, which looks really spectacular under the lights with the tricky street circuit below – my favourite kind of track to drive.’ Of course, there’ll also be A-list musical entertainment, amazing food and drink and plenty more racy events throughout September.
Pongal, 14 January
Pongal is a Hindu harvest festival in which worshippers give thanks for the blessings of the past year and pay tribute to the Sun God. The festival originates from South India and is celebrated for four days; it marks the beginning of the auspicious month of Thai. In Singapore, celebrations take over Little India, with dance performances and music, special food stalls and other vibrant pop-ups.
Chinese New Year, 28–29 January
The biggest event on the Chinese calendar is celebrated in style in Singapore, with the city warming up for its biggest party at least three weeks before the big event. Food and feasting is at the heart of the celebrations; try love letters (rolled egg biscuits), kueh bangkit (crumbly coconut-and-tapioca cookies), spicy shrimp rolls, bakkwa (spicy-sweet pork jerky), zingy pineapple tarts and prune lapis (spiced cake). Don’t miss the River Hongbao celebrations at Marina Bay’s iconic Floating Platform (26 January–4 February), with calligraphy demonstrations, giant lanterns, dancing, song and music, street art and delicious food a-go-go.
Singapore Dragon Boat Festival, July (dates TBA)
If you’re a fan of dumplings and drumbeats, you’ll love Singapore’s Dragon Boat Festival, in which dragon boats race neck to neck at the Bedok Reservoir to the beat and thump of drums, while spectators whoop for their favourite teams (and gorge on dumplings). Try as many zhang – glutinous rice dumplings – as you can; bak zhang, stuffed with mushrooms, pork and water chestnuts are a favourite, along with Peranakan nonya, filled with braised pork and candied winter melon, seasoned with five-spice powder. There’s also a sweet version, kee zhang, which is dipped in sugar or syrup.
National Day, 9 August
Don’t miss Singapore’s annual celebration of its independence, gained in 1965 against all odds. The national narrative is retold each year with dazzling firework displays by the Marina Waterfront, stirring military parades, song and dance and gravity-defying feats by aerial artists. Spectators are even treated to a practical ‘funpack’ – a National Day Parade-themed goodiebag, filled with treats, snacks and festival memorabilia.
Deepavali, 18 October
Prepare to blink in admiration over and over again at Deepavali, a colour-packed Hindu festival that champions the allegorical triumph of light over darkness. Little oil lamps are lit in Hindu homes across Singapore, giving the city a golden glow; gifts and food are shared and Little India is transformed into a dazzling golden hub for celebrations. Elaborate floral garlands bedeck stalls, shops and streets and incense perfumes the air; al fresco performances, street food and concerts add extra buzz.