Arts & Culture

Music For A Cause: Singapore's Altruistic Music Festival

Music for social impact.
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Music for a Cause, Singapore’s one and only altruistic music festival that encourages giving and volunteerism through music, is returning for its fourth edition from 3-4 August 2019 at OCBC Arena Park, and is held as part of the YOUTHx weekend.

B-Side speaks to the Founder of MFAC, Joe Tan, to find out more.

Why did you start Music for a Cause, and how has this passion changed over the years?

I started Music for a Cause because I wanted to find a casual yet impactful way to generate awareness of social causes/issues to the public.

I wanted to change the landscape of giving from one that generally measures fundraising targets to event success, into one that measures success through awareness generation and volunteers sign up.

More importantly, I wanted to use Music for a Cause to rally fellow Singaporeans to come onboard to give, which is why over the years, we are grateful to have local musicians, entrepreneurs, sports organisations, and this year arts and creative agencies onboard to build MFAC into a bigger and more inclusive space.

Personally, I feel that my passion has not waned, but rather grew in the form of my desire to strive to grow MFAC year on year. In our first year, we only featured local musicians and F&B entrepreneurs. In the second year, we added products and services entrepreneurs in the mix and in the third year, we added sporting organisations and bodies, and this year, we are adding an arts element to it.

What drives me is how I feel MFAC is able to call on Singaporeans from various walks of life into one single space, for one purpose, generate social impact. That's probably why I’ve continued to be passionate about MFAC. I guess finding means to grow MFAC is what i feel the change in me year on year.

You place much emphasis on the importance of raising awareness, as opposed to raising funds, for social causes, why is this important for you?

Having been in the giving scene for the past 5 years. I feel that there are many Singaporeans who genuinely want to give, but are unaware on how to do it.

One of the biggest problems I see is that the relationship between donors and social causes are mostly transactional and the biggest worry that I have, was how this form of giving is being translated to our future generations.

I don’t want our future generation to think that giving through money is the best way to give back to the society.

That was when I decided to conceive MFAC, and also through my work at Love Action Project try to promote the idea of awareness generation as opposed to donations /fundraising.

The central idea was that it is through awareness that an individual can then be exposed to a social causes, and thereafter understand and build relationship/connection to them. The purpose of this would mean that an individual would be able to really understand what the social cause is doing, before committing to support be it through actions or funding.

In that way, we offer everyone a chance to really understand social causes, to build a more legitimate relationship so as to generate the right social impact for change, before using dollars and cents to measure social giving success.

What's your elevator pitch to corporate and institutional partners?

Music for a Cause is Singapore’s first and only music festival that brings together everyday Singaporeans, musicians, entrepreneurs and even creative people into one space to promote the understanding and awareness of social causes in Singapore.

We make the idea of giving casual and cool, but at the same time, focus on generating the right social impact for Singapore. Actions through understanding, beyond fundraising.

What can we look forward to at this year's MFAC?

This year, MFAC19 will be held from 3-4 Aug 19, at the OCBC Arena Park, we will be featured as the Main Festive Village as part of YOUTHx Festival. This is a huge jump for us to be featured on the National Level. We are also excited to be introducing an arts element to MFAC19.

Beyond that, we will have 13 Artistes (Headlined by Joanna Dong on 3 Aug, and Charlie Lim x YEO on 4 Aug), 16 social causes (twice the featured amount from last year), and 20 Entrepreneurs.

In addition, we will have two sporting activities running on both days, with 3 Aug being Team Rumble Cross Fit for a Cause event run by Ops Broken Wing, and on 4 Aug, we have a first time collaboration between Cheryl Tan (The Breathe Movement) and Cheryl Lin (Eat Train Love) who will be coming together to jointly hold a 2 hours yoga session for a cause.

All proceeds will be given to the social causes they support. It's gonna be a massive party, and we are really looking forward to it!

What are your future plans for MFAC?

We are already planning talks to bring the MFAC franchise to the ASEAN region.

Our plan is to make MFAC the Live Aid of ASEAN (and hopefully in Asia).

The whole idea is to bring a collective picture on how everyone from ASEAN can come together to give collectively to support the growth of the region, and most importantly highlight how unity, and understanding is and will be the backbone for social impact, which will then translate to prosperity and economic stability in our region. We have already started conversations with the ministries in Thailand, and we are hopeful to make Bangkok our first stop hopefully next year!

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