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Attention, rave-goers:  one of the biggest music festivals is coming up this February! Syzygy Music Festival (“SIZ” + “UH” + “JEE”, meaning the alignment of the stars) is one of the Philippine’s youngest music festivals which will be held on February 9 in Manila. With an Egyptian theme, this fun-packed event has got the great music vibes you’re looking for this coming pre-Valentine’s week.

Scroll down to know why it’s one of the biggest concerts yet, and why you should purchase a ticket now:

It’s headlined by acclaimed DJ duo: Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike

This much-awaited music fest is headlined by two of EDM’s best: DJ Duo Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. They are dubbed by international music fans as the Kings of Tomorrowland—the world’s largest music festival held in Boom, Belgium (which literally sells out in minutes!). Known for their EDM collaborations like “Tremor” and “Mammoth”, this duo is going to smash the concert grounds next week!

Some of the country’s biggest DJs will be playing

You won’t be bummed while waiting for the main act, the full lineup is just as solid! Some of the country’s top DJs will be playing such as Jason Dewey, Marc Marasigan, Ron Poe, Jennifer Lee, Everyday People, Callum David, Victor Pring, and Marga On The Mic. They’ll be spinning their hits from 6 p.m. until 3 in the morning, so boost that energy for 8 hours-worth of EDM!

Tickets come with lots of perks

Thinking of getting a VIP pass? Prepare to be treated like a “pharaoh”! Aside from being in the moshpit area, you can access the special deck located in the left and right side of the moshpit. You will also get freebies (cocktails and merch, come thru!), enjoy VIP lanes, common lounge, air-conditioned restrooms, and private bars.

Gold ticket holders, on the other hand, will have access to the following: moshpit, activity area, common lavatories and regular lanes.

You can buy tickets online (or even on some events!)

Tickets are available at SM Tickets, or you can purchase thru their pre-party series at different locations where tickets are discounted! Check out their Facebook page to know more updates.

Solid lineup + jampacked activities

You can take a few breaks from the rave party and enjoy the jam-packed activities inside the venue. Enjoy the fun perks like getting Egyptian nail art and make-up, Acrobats, Sticker tattoo, Good Luck and Attraction Spell, Protection Kandi, Fortune Telling Horus and Camera 360!

The venue is secured and totally accessible

This large music fest will be held at Mall of Asia Concert Grounds, and there will be security, portalets and first-aid. On top of that, the event will feature high quality video and sound system, epic stage design, and a huge fireworks display.

An estimated 20,000 people are expected to attend, and there will be water stations, bars, and food kiosks!

Everyone is encouraged to express themselves freely

The festival has one rule on dress code: be yourself! All attendees are encouraged to express themselves through fashion and accessories, so you’re free to wear what you want—whether you’ll go all-sequined or be a unicorn. No judgments!  

If you still haven’t decided on your #ootn, here are some ideas from the organizers that you can get inspirations from.

It’s an event with a cause

More than just a big rave, it’s also an event to raise funds for the Philippine Red Cross Paranaque City Branch. Your attendance will go a long way!

What makes you excited to attend this music fest? Share with us in the comments section below!

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We haven’t even recovered yet from the passing of one Pepe Smith, when the world at large was quickly rocked by the news that 66-year old R&B hitmaker James Ingram is no longer with us.

There’s a lot of reasons to miss him, and here are just 8 of them.

8. His Grammy Awards


Not every artist ever wins a Grammy during their career, let alone two, but that’s exactly what James Ingram got over his lengthy music career. With one of them being for “Find One Hundred Ways,” you just know that his gravitas as a performer will be sorely missed in the coming days.

7. His halfway attempt at an EGOT


An EGOT is a grand slam of winning an (E)mmy, a (G)rammy, an (O)scar, and a (T)ony. Well, Mr. Ingram did have two Grammys, and was twice nominated for an Oscar for his songs as well. That’s four nods from two prestigious bodies, and if he only did TV and theater, he’d probably have had nods from those, too. Not bad for someone who clearly wasn’t trying to pull the hat trick.

6. His storied humble beginnings


Before making it big, James Ingram played the keyboards for the equally legendary Ray Charles. Was it a shocker then, to see this man end up being one of the most revered names in R&B just a few years afterwards? Certainly not.

5.The songs he wrote for other people
Michael Jackson - P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) (Audio) - YouTube

From the Pointed Sisters to Ray Charles to George Benson to Shalamar to yes, Michael Jackson with “PYT” (Pretty Young Thing), all unfortunate implications aside, James ingram was a hitmaker not just for himself, but for so many of his contemporaries. It’s often the case that someone capable of accomplishing this feat is themselves very distinguished as a performer – Bruno Mars comes to mind – and yes, Mr. Ingram was no exception.

4. His duets
Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram - Somewhere Out There - YouTube

James Ingram is arguably best-known for his duets with the likes of Patti Austin for “Baby Come To Me” and “How Do You Keep The Music Playing,” and of course, Linda Rondstadt for “Somewhere Out There.” He’s collaborated with plenty of people, especially since he’s one of the artists who participated in USA for Africa’s “We Are the World.”

3. Controversy-Free R&B

There are no words to convey how much my ❤️ aches with the news of the passing of my baby brother, James Ingram. With that soulful, whisky sounding voice, James was simply magical. He was, & always will be, beyond compare. Rest In Peace my baby bro…You’ll be in my ❤️ forever pic.twitter.com/oZtA9h8uZR

— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) January 29, 2019

When you have problematic icons in R&B today like Drake and R. Kelly, it’s great to know that one of the all-time greats did not have nearly as much controversy attached to his name. Go ahead. Show us the time James Ingram did anything that resulted in people demanding he be canceldt, seeing as the internet wouldn’t have spared him if something ever came up.

We’ll wait.

2. Just Once

Bryan McKnight pays tribute to Ingram

A regular videoke favorite, Just Once is perhaps James Ingram’s greatest contribution to the world of music, despite having scored two #1 Billboard hits in “Baby Come To Me” and “I Don’t Have The Heart.” There’s no denying that James Ingram’s discography itself is often a favorite for videoke singers, and who can forget “There’s No Easy Way,” “I Don’t Have The Heart,” and “Where Did My Heart Go,” right?
If you’re a fan, offer up one of James Ingram’s songs to the videoke gods tonight. He’s more than earned it.

1. His live performances
James Ingram - "One Hundred Ways" / "I Don't Have The Heart" (1990) - YouTube

We won’t make this about the Philippines, but catching James Ingram live in concert was one of the simplest joys of our lives. After all, when he’s been here almost as often as Kevyn Lettau or David Pomeranz, you know here’s a guy who is very appreciated by the Filipino people.

And though he may no longer be with us, he will always remain appreciated, all the same. When Was The Last Time The Music Made You Cry? Sadly, for us who loved James Ingram, just this morning. It’s gonna take a while, but we’re gonna learn to smile. Again.

What’s your favorite James Ingram song? Share it with us below.

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Products that serve a dual-purpose are life-changers; they help us hit two birds with one stone, packing in twice the fun and function in a singular item. From cleaver cleaning tools to double-duty skincare products, count on these 8 time- and money-saving two-in-one products that will make your life much easier to handle!

A tinted lip balm

For days when you want to go for a natural look but don’t want to look pale, a tinted lip balm can bring that much-needed color and sheen to your lips while giving it that extra moisture that normal lipsticks can’t.

A water bottle with a built-in citrus juicer

When you need a little zing to quench your thirst, this water bottle can make it much easier to infuse any citrus fruits in your drink! Make healthy infused water or fresh lemonades on-the-go.

A battery phone case

These sleek phone cases with a built-in power bank help protect our phones and keep it fully charged all day long.

Multi-balm Makeup

Any beauty product that can help lighten our everyday makeup bags and simplify our makeup routine is a welcome addition to our collection. Multi-balm products are just an example of these multitasking beauty tools which can add color to our lips, our cheeks, and our eyes!

A sunscreen that also acts as a face primer

Via Makeup

Not only can it protect our face from the harsh UVA and UVB rays, but it also prepares and primes our face for makeup!

Microfiber Slippers

Via Ebay

Microfiber slippers are a cool way to walk around the house. Not only are they comfy to wear, but they also help dust the floors everywhere you go!

Reusable Food Storage Bags

These ecofriendly food bags have a ton of uses that will pretty much change any home cook’s life. It can stash both wet and dry snacks, hold food for freezing, store liquids without threat of leakage, and even use them to cook things sous-vide. They can even be a much more sanitary way to carry around makeup, small toys, and other things while traveling.

A clay mask that also acts as a face cleanser

While we do love ending our day with our 10-step skincare routine, it can become tedious and too time-consuming. Make cleansing time much more fun and easier with a two-in-one product that can cleanse your face and remove all deep-seeded impurities, like the Pond’s Mineral Clay Facial Foam!

Pond’s Mineral Clay Facial Foam is formulated with 100% natural origin Moroccan clay that removes dirt four times better than any other cleanser, enriching your skin with bio-minerals for a super bouncy glow.

Pamper your skin without the extra steps! Get yours at any health and beauty store near you!

Which of these do you want to own ASAP? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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The world’s biggest book sale will be returning to Manila for its second consecutive year this February.

Big Bad Wolf Books (BBW Books) is a trademark event that started in Malaysia founded by BookXcess founders Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng. It has been to cities in Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, and more recently, the Philippines.

While we know all you bookworms must be quaking in excitement just about now, preparation is still key to making the most out of the experience. Here are 8 things to know, watch out for, and do if you’re planning to visit this year’s Big Bad Wolf Book Sale in Manila.

BBW Books will be held from February 22 to March 4, 2019

That’s 11 days of the grandest book sale you ever saw! It will be held at the World Trade Center in Pasay and like always, the sale will be open for 24 hours with free entrance.

Have trouble sleeping? Drop by the BBW Book Sale!

Expect over 2 million books up for grabs


This year, founder Jacqueline Ng shared that she will be bringing newer books the Manila crowd hasn’t seen last year. Exciting titles across different genres will comprise the 2 million books with 20,000 titles, of which 50% are children’s books.

Discounts are at 50% to 90%

Jacqueline founded BBW Books for her advocacy on reading. During the press launch of BBW Books, she mentioned that books have the power to create dreams for little children and so she makes it a point to provide books at low prices to be more accessible to the public.

Gawad Kalinga is once again partners with BBW

Luis Oquiñena, Executive Director of Gawad Kalinga and Jacqueline Ng, founder of Big Bad Wolf Books

Last year BBW Books donated PHP 5 million to Gawad Kalinga to support their initiatives in building homes to end poverty. The donation was used to build and refurbish libraries in many communities. Hand in hand, these two institutions inspire the hearts and minds of the next generation so they would learn to value education.

BBW Books and Gawad Kalinga are creating plans to build more libraries in Visayas and Mindanao.

BBW Book Sale will be expanding to more communities in the Philippines

Jacqueline Ng, founder of Big Bad Wolf Books

It’s not just about affordable books, it’s about giving people the opportunity and access to reading materials that they can’t otherwise have access to.

Last year BBW Books ventured to Cebu and Davao where they were met with such enthusiasm. This year they’re looking into expanding their reach to more communities in the Philippines deprived of books. They are currently working with Gawad Kalinga to determine which other cities they could visit.

This year gives Manileños access to technology + books
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Big Bad Wolf Books (@bigbadwolfbooks) on Dec 4, 2018 at 5:34pm PST

Cebu and Davao were introduced to Augmented Reality books (AR books) last year, this year Manila will also be introduced to 12 titles of AR books. By simply downloading the Little Hippo app for free on Play Store or Apple Store, you can make learning fun for children by bringing the stories to life. Simply open the book, point your phone camera and watch the book come to life!

Be sure to bring a huge bag!

One does not simply go to Big Bad Wolf Book Sale unprepared, so bring a huge bag with you because we guarantee you won’t be dropping by for 30 minutes nor be buying just a single book.

Make sure to eat beforehand so nothing can stop you from shopping. But if you get hungry anyway, there are concessionaires selling refreshments and meals.

Score preview tickets and be the first to the sale before the crowds!

There will be a preview sale happening on February 21, 2019, where VIP ticket holders can get first dibs on books before the official start of the sale. For a chance to win VIP Pass to the preview sale, participate in the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale’s social media contests. Also stay tuned for updates on their official Facebook page and Instagram.

Which titles are you going to snag at the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale? Share it with us below!

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A new format, a new Barbs, and a new director couldn’t stop the force of nature that is Barbs Cordero, herein pitted between two lovers, society’s continuing homophobia, and bigger responsibilities. Picking up after the events of Die Beautiful, this sequel, which was originally a Cignal miniseries (the first five episodes have been reformatted into this movie and the succeeding episodes to air on Cignal) finds Barbs the full-time head makeup artist at Happy Endings Funeral Parlor. Although Die Beautiful is undeniably the superior film, the charm and relevance of this one is undeniable. Fair warning, ang susunod na rebyu ay Rated Fiji!

WAG MO ‘KONG MA-TRISHA TRISHA

Trisha (Paolo Ballesteros) presents herself to Barbs (Martin del Rosario) as apparitions, once as herself, and another as (spoiler alert!) the Virgin Mary. Whereas Barbs used to counsel Trisha in the first film, it’s Trisha’s time to return the favor, especially since Barbs’ life is spiraling out of control. We really can’t get enough of the Mama Mary scene, since Paolo Ballesteros is a makeup transformation genius.

CONVERT PA MORE

As Barbs begins to question her identity, she goes to a treatment facility that uses conversion therapy to turn queer people straight. As with the recently-released The Miseducation of Cameron Post, conversion therapy turns out to be a sham (as if we didn’t already know), and the people behind it turn out to be wretched freaks. We only wish that the story spent more time on the treatment center angle, as it is ripe for many discussions regarding homophobia and patriarchy.

MAY NANALO NA

Barbs proves to be the loveliest flower in town, as two men vie for her love and attention— tricycle driver Greg (Kiko Matos) and cab driver Michaelangelo (Akihiro Blanco), the latter Trisha’s former flame. Both men are flawed, but as a criticism of polyamory, or a consensual intimate relationship with more than one partner, the film pits the woman in the middle, instead of the traditional man, as is the case with Ishmael Bernal’s Ikaw ay Akin. The film posits that if men do it, why can’t women? The film does not necessarily espouse the practice, but treats it as a natural occurrence, and in the context of a transgender heroine, the issue is elevated into a higher discussion.

BAD ROMANCE BA KAMO?

Toxic masculinity is well, toxic. Die Beautiful has explored it, with Trisha’s macho father (Joel Torre), and here, Greg is portrayed as a violent man, unable to handle rejection and the lack of attention. We’re just quite alarmed that Barbs would still give Greg another chance, but hey, who are we to judge? If Greg goes back to his old ways in the series though, Barbs needs to dump his ass faster than you can say “thank you very much for that wonderful question!”

MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN

Lou Veloso returns as the fabulous and sharp-tongued funeral home owner Mama Flora, and for that alone, the film is worth the price of admission. The filmmakers seemed to have given the best lines to Mama Flora, and for good measure (magchu**** na lang tayo! lol). Mama Flora also serves as the film’s other conscience (aside from Trisha), so her presence is invaluable. We want more Mama Flora in the series.

MOTHER BARBS

Mirroring Trisha’s journey in Die Beautiful, Barbs gets the surprise of her life (again, spoiler alert) when a prostitute (Chai Fonacier) arrives and claims Barbs, who was then Bobby, has impregnated her. The scene where Barbs tries to discredit the pregnancy seems a bit didactic, but the film’s heart makes up for it. What kind of parent would Barbs become? Will her kid inherit her makeup skills? We’ll have to wait for the series.

YOUR FACE SOUNDS FAMILIAR

We’ve enjoyed Trisha as she became Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie, and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman in the first film. Born Beautiful preserves the makeup transformations, including a sendup of Lady Gaga and one other musician whom we won’t reveal anymore (clue: she likes cheap thrills and chandeliers). The Lady Gaga bit (shown in the trailer) is utterly hilarious.

HAVEY

While still centered on death (but not as morbid as the first film), Born Beautiful also celebrates life, in all its eccentricity. Now that Trisha is dead, a huge responsibility has been placed on Barbs’ shoulders as the representative of the transgender community. We hope the series pushes boundaries further on LGBTQ+ issues, and to reiterate, more Mama Flora.

What did you think of the movie? Tell us below!

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2019 is the Year of the Pig in Chinese calendars, and will start on Feb 5 this year.

Pinoys are very familiar with Chinese New Year celebrations. Some of the practices and traditions have been assimilated into our own culture. Here are some things that might seem familiar to you as we begin to prepare for the Spring Festival:

8. Prepare the red envelopes

Popularly known as ampaw (actually, hóng bāo), these red envelopes mean one thing—money! Traditionally given by parents to their kids, giving out red envelopes has since been a symbol of spreading goodwill and fortune to others.

7. Ibalik ang swerte

Before celebrating CNY, make sure you do the sweeping and cleaning before the date itself. It is considered bad luck to sweep during Chinese New Year, so do the cleaning well ahead of February 5.

6. Bring on the oranges

Kumquats, or what we call kyatkyat are the traditional symbol for wealth and fortune because of its color. Over time, we would also use oranges, ponkans, and other round fruits to symbolize prosperity.

5. Fight off monsters with firecrackers

Safety first! It’s a Chinese tradition to welcome the New Year with firecrackers, believing that doing so would ward off evil spirits.

4. Paint the town red

Along with firecrackers, the color red is also believed to be effective in warding off evil spirits or bad luck. This is why we traditionally see red clothes and red ornaments in houses during CNY celebrations.

3. Eat long noodles

You know the drill: do not bite, cut, nor chew. The longer the noodles, the better. Here’s to long life!

2. Roll the dumplings

Dumplings are the ultimate symbols for the coming of the New Year. The Chinese words for these tasty food means ‘exchange at midnight.’ Eat away!

1. Glutinous rice

via GIPHY

What would Chinese New Year be without the beloved tikoy! In Chinese culture, glutinous rice are believed to be one of the key in ensuring a strong family bond. It is usually taken as a dessert, but there are regions in the world where it is considered a savory dish. However way you take it, it definitely isn’t a proper CNY without this “New Year cake.”

Now you can enjoy glutinous goodness anytime, anywhere with Regent’s Mochi Assorted! Pick your favorite color and bite on that gelatinous shell to savor that glorious mung bean filling! Now available at retail stores and supermarkets near you!

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Whenever the New Year comes around,we usually realise we badly need a wardrobe update, and thanks to Netflix’s latest hit Tyding Up With Marie Kondo updating your wardrobe essentials for this year wouldn’t be a hassle! Shop only the clothes that spark joy. Also, the predicted fashion trends for the year (You know you will).

“Living Coral”


Leading the pack of this year’s trends is Pantone’s Color of the Year. Living Coral will surely dominate stores worldwide thanks to its “vibrant yet mellow” aura, making it the perfect color to start a trend.

Tie-Dye


Remember when tie-dyed shirts were a thing in the early 2000’s? Well now it’s making yet another comeback! Recent collections shown during Fashion Week prove that tie-dyes are very much in and are wearable not just during the summer season, but all year round. Peace!

Square Toes


You might think that square-toed shoes are reserved for titas only, but for 2019 even titas-at-heart would be comfortable wearing this! The square toe is a classic design that transcends all fashion fads, making it a timeless piece all its own.

Puffed Shoulders


Did someone say 80’s? This trend was the staple of every woman’s wardrobe a few decades ago, and it seems like it’s having a comeback. In recent years, hubadera outfits have dominated the fashion trend, with the flaunting-your-shoulder-look leading the pack. But for 2019, covered and big puffy shoulders are in.

Neon


This trend is kind of hard (and scary) to pull off when you don’t know how to wear it properly. Take the risk and be bolder by following this trend. Trust us; the end results will be amazing!

Bike Shorts


Who says you can’t wear athleisure clothes outside the gym? While it’s not the most aesthetically-pleasing trend out of the bunch, biker shorts are pretty much a thing. Reality TV Queen Kim Kardashian led the pack, thanks to her husband’s (Kanye West, btdubs) Yeezy clothing line. The trend went to a new level when it was featured in Chanel’s SS 19 show, making it a legit game-changer in the fashion world. Axl Rose is happy!

Bucket Hats


One of fashion’s biggest comebacks in 2018 was the bucket hat, and it looks like they are here to stay. The rise of the streetwear style paved the way for this beloved 90’s trend’s comeback, with many streetwear brands incorporating the piece on their lines.

Leopard Print


It seems like minimalism is so last year, thanks to the rise of the leopard print trend. The unexpected comeback of the trend had its peak moment thanks to Anne Hathaway’s Golden Globe look earlier this year, which basically marks the start of this trend for 2019. Whitesnake would be proud!

What are your fashion predictions this year? Tell us below!

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Their music was first heard at a local talent show in Ireland, and now their songs have been featured in soundtracks of some of the top TV series and major films. When you hear the name Kodaline, you know you’re in for a feels trip. You best ready those emotions as this UK-platinum selling band is coming to Manila this February!

Their concert is a few weeks away, so we’ve curated a Kodaline playlist to help you prep your emotions. Warning: ready your tissues.

When you’re feeling the butterflies in your stomach: Love Like This
Kodaline - Love Like This - YouTube

What does being “in love” really mean? This song describes that feeling of wanting someone so much that it almost feels unreal. It’s the song to listen to while with your special someone, as the lyrics go: “I know that a love like this won’t last forever. But I, I don’t really mind, I don’t really mind at all.”

Whenever you feel alone: Love Will Set You Free
Kodaline - Love Will Set You Free (Official Video) - YouTube

“Love Will Set You Free” is Kodaline’s first collaboration song, and they co-wrote it with Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol. It’s the last song on their album The One and according to vocalist Steve Garrigan, “it’s a song that really speaks to people.” Trivia: the song’s music video was directed by Friends star Courteney Cox.

When you want to express your passionate love to someone: Raging
Kygo - Raging ft. Kodaline - YouTube

If this song sounds familiar to you, that’s because it was featured in the soundtrack of EA Sports video game, FIFA 17. This song about a fiery relationship was written in collaboration with EDM artist Kygo, and it’s a bit different from the usual sound of Kodaline.  James Bay was one of the song writers.

Whenever you feel like comforting your sibling: Brother
Kodaline - Brother (Official Video) - YouTube

There’s no love like family love, and this song will remind you that. Play this on a quiet Sunday afternoon and you’ll want to give your brother a hug.

When you remember the one that got away: Follow Your Fire
Kodaline - Follow Your Fire (Acoustic) - YouTube

We all have those random moments when we suddenly remember the person who used to be special to us but have parted ways with. Cue Kodaline’s “Follow Your Fire” as you remember all those memories. Then, of course, comes the what-ifs. Ugh. We hate you, Kodaline.

When you’re feeling down and you want to be reminded that there’s still hope: High Hopes
Kodaline - High Hopes (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Once you play this song, you know there’s going to be a cry fest. “High Hopes” will make you drown in loneliness at first, but will eventually save you in the end. “The world keeps spinning,” says the lyrics, and you’d want to post it on your desk.

When you’re trying to get over a heartbreak: All I Want
Kodaline - All I Want (Part 1) - YouTube

A sad breakup turns into meaningful music, and that’s what”All I Want”—one of Kodaline’s most streamed songs—is all about. The band’s vocalist, Steve Garrigan, was in the attic of his parents’ home when he wrote this, inspired by his recent breakup. This song has heart-wrenching lyrics that it has become a sad anthem, and was played on different dramaramas like Grey’s Anatomy and The Fault In Our Stars.

When you finally found the one: The One
Kodaline - The One (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Kodaline not only makes us cry with their breakup songs—their love songs are also tearjerkers. “The One”, their song about deep love, has lyrics with a sincere confession that hits straight to the heart. Once you hear the lines, “You make my heart feel like its summer when the rain is pouring down”, you know it’s going to play on your wedding on day.

Hear these songs live at Kodaline’s Politics of Living Tour in Manila this February 26. The show will be held at the New Frontier Theater (formerly Kia Theater), presented by MMI Live. Buy your tickets here.

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What could possibly go wrong when a first-time festival organizer holds a high-end event for thousands of people on a tropical island without the benefits of time, experience, or infrastructure?

In a word: Everything.

When it was announced that Netflix would be releasing Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, a documentary about the ill-fated Fyre Festival, social media couldn’t help but wring its fingers with glee; 2017 wasn’t that long ago, and images of stranded socialites, trust fund fratboys, and over -entitled influencers eating cheese sandwiches at an abandoned construction site were still fresh in the mind.

Which made it all the more incredible when Hulu –without any warning– released their own documentary, Fyre Fraud, three whole days before Netflix’s was scheduled to drop. All of a sudden, gawkers had two outlets for their fill of social media schadenfreude, begging the question, “which one should I watch?”

THE PROMISE(S)
Announcing Fyre Festival - YouTube

A now-infamous online announcement video starring the world’s top supermodels said it all: Fyre Festival was going to be the single most exclusive event of 2017, headlined by top artists performing on a private island in the Bahamas where guests could party in the lap of luxury.

Despite the video’s text reading somewhere between pretentious manifesto and half-finished inspirational quote, thousands bought into the visuals of beautiful people being beautiful in beautiful surroundings. Clicking through to the official website revealed exorbitantly-priced ticket packages that included yachts, villas, and glamping – Fyre Festival would be the Instagram-ready lovechild of Coachella and a six-star ultra luxury resort.

Naturally, the tickets sold out.

COUNTDOWN TO DISASTER


While the documentaries differ in their respective approaches, both highlight how Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland and his collaborators either shrugged off or severely underestimated the logistical concerns that went with mounting an event of this scale. Basic requirements of food, safety and infrastructure were complicated by the requirement to provide them on what amounted to a deserted island – all in addition to actually booking musical acts to perform!

In reality, McFarland was swimming in debt, having burned through his investors’ cash (and good will) to pay off his debts from a previous failed venture, all the while maintaining his own extravagant, celebrity-inspired lifestyle.

With less than six months from initial announcement to actual event dates, nothing less than divine intervention would enable Fyre Festival to live up to the ridiculously high expectations set by its own publicity.

LIAR, LIAR (PANTS ON FYRE)


Via NME

Despite having full knowledge of the on-ground difficulties, a dedicated social team from Jerry Media chugged away on official Fyre Festival accounts to keep the pre-event buzz going. These days, official Jerry Media statements stress that they were only one of six agencies working on the project, claiming to have been misled by McFarland the entire time they were (innocently) deleting negative comments and posting glamorous, misleading photos for the target audience to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on non-existent “experiences” and amenities.

To many, the first inkling that something was wrong came on the day before the event, when Blink 182 tweeted that they were cancelling their scheduled Fyre Festival performance. As the world would soon find out, none of the announced acts –which included Major Lazer and performers from Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music label– would set foot in the Bahamas, as none of them had received their contractual payments.

THE SH*TSHOW

The dinner that @fyrefestival promised us was catered by Steven Starr is literally bread, cheese, and salad with dressing. #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/I8d0UlSNbd

— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017

McFarland’s refusal to cancel the event or even acknowledge the disparity between what was promised and what was awaiting festival-goers would prove to be Fyre’s downfall, as attendees were greeted with the ultimate IRL case of Expectations VS Reality.

Instead of luxury villas or glamping facilities on a pristine beach, partygoers were greeted with disaster relief tents and disgruntled, unpaid workers on a barely-lit construction site. Luggage was delivered from the airport in the back of an 18-wheeler truck, and tossed out to the crowd without care. As frustrated rich kids navigated stacks of rain-soaked mattresses, demanding to know what was going on, organizers hurriedly cancelled the flights of those yet to arrive.

By the time the sun went down on the first day, the situation had devolved into a cross between Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games, as McFarland, in a stunning lapse of judgment, encouraged attendees to just scramble for the first available tent they saw. At the same time, attendees who’d decided to give up and fly home found themselves stranded from the lack of transportation from the concert grounds, a shortage of flights, and/or being outright locked in the airport when the staff called it a night.

As McFarland and his partners scrambled to cover their asses and get out of the country in one piece, it would take an intervention from the Bahamian government to return all the Fyre Festival attendees to the United States over the next several days.

THE MASTERMIND


“Before we had the worst luck, we had the best luck,” says McFarland in Fyre Fraud, exhibiting a clear case of self-delusion being the best delusion. “So many things had to go right to make Fyre this big of a failure.”

From his earliest ventures in grade school to a scam carried out while on bail before his trial, both documentaries devote time to MacFarland’s uncanny ability to convince investors to hand over their money while producing next to nothing for them in return.

The Fyre Festival had originally been conceived as a promotional affair for McFarland’s Fyre app, a tool for booking artists such as Ja Rule (who would later come onboard as a partner) for private events. There is no shortage of footage showing McFarland and Ja Rule living it up with supermodels and celebrities, as per Billy’s mantra to, “Live like a movie star, party like a rock star, and f*ck like a porn star”.

After posting bail following his arrest for fraud in the aftermath of Fyre Festival, McFarland was caught for initiating a new scam, NYC VIP Access, trying to sell non-existent tickets to events such as the Met Gala and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

If nothing else, he’s consistent.

NETFLIX’S FYRE: THE GREATEST PARTY THAT NEVER HAPPENED
FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix - YouTube

For sheer visceral glee, Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happpened nails it with a reality-show confessional approach that recounts the story as told by the people who worked on it. Viewers are treated to exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of McFarland and his then-partners living the high life while their events, marketing, and social media teams stressed over how to actually make the promised Festival happen.

Boasting juicy footage paired with the interviewees’ collective willingness to throw their former boss under the proverbial bus, Fyre is a fascinating, compulsively watchable piece that demands your attention while effectively building a case against McFarland – honestly, for all the onscreen handwashing that goes on, Fyre stops just short of accusing the guy of witchcraft to keep his collaborators working on the project for as long as they did.

Funnily enough, the reason for this approach becomes adamantly clear if you pay attention to the credits, but don’t worry, the Hulu documentary happily goes out of its way to spell it out for you.

HULU’S FYRE FRAUD
FYRE FRAUD (Official Trailer) • A Hulu Original Documentary - YouTube

Of the two, Hulu’s is the slicker production, featuring speakers such as The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino – who contextualizes the Fyre debacle through explanations of “curated experiences” and FOMO as they pertain to influencer culture and social media as a whole – and former Jerry Media employee Oren Aks, who, at one point, tells his former masters what they can do with themselves.

From editing to overall treatment, Hulu attempts to invoke a more “journalistic” feel, despite having already lost credibility when they decided to pay Billy McFarland for their exclusive interview. Sadly, the guy doesn’t really have anything interesting to say or contribute, save from one entertaining instance when his “little boy lost” facade cracks upon being forced to account for his lies.

SHOTS FIRED


Perhaps the most enjoyable part of Hulu’s Fyre Fraud isn’t even part of the main documentary: Before the credits roll, the film casts shade on Netflix with an epic rug pull, stating via onscreen text that, “Jerry Media and Vice produced their own documentary about the Fyre Festival.”

While Jerry Media’s involvement in the Netflix production won’t be news to anyone paying attention to Fyre’s credits, the streaming giant saw fit to issue the following statement: “We were happy to work with Jerry Media and a number of others on the film. At no time did they, or any others we worked with, request favorable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics.”

As of this writing, McFarland has been sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of fraud, and still faces multiple lawsuits from various investors and Fyre Festival attendees. Other people whose names popped up in the suits included Ja Rule and, yes, the good folks of Jerry Media.

 

THE SH*TSHOW CONTINUES

Ja Rule trying to defend #FyreFestival pic.twitter.com/muTl5qGoGL

— storme (@stormelaw) January 23, 2019

For the full effect, start with the Netflix documentary to get a sense of what was going down in the months leading up to and during the eponymous garbage fire. With those chaotic images and testimonials fresh in mind, you can better appreciate Hulu’s take on how and why the event was able to enter the zeitgeist in such a specific way at such a specific time.

Where Hulu bends over backwards to contextualize the event through commentary and analysis of social media behavior, Netflix goes all in to show us how it went down on the ground, and who (they say) we should blame for it. While they both paint a bullseye on McFarland, Netflix goes out of its way to portray his collaborators as victims, and actual victims as saints.

When all is said and done, despite breaches in journalistic ethics on both Netflix and Hulu’s parts, their final output, taken together, succeeds in painting a somewhat coherent picture of Fyre Festival (even if we never actually got a proper Billy McFarland interview out of either of them).

In any case, one doubts that the final word has been written on Fyre, and, as Ja Rule’s recent rant fest on Twitter shows (he wants to be counted as a victim), there’s going to be plenty more to say before this sh*tshow ends.

Which one did you catch? Tell us what you think of the shows below!

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