During the seventh month of the Chinese calendar, or more commonly known as Hungry Ghost Festival, we often come across boisterous live stage performances under large tentages set up at open spaces, particularly in the heartlands. These performances are known as Getai, a direct translation from Mandarin as “song stage”.
The purpose of these performances is to entertain the restless spirits that are released when the Gates of Hell open during the Hungry Ghost Festival. As creepy as the idea of watching a performance in the presence of supernatural beings seems, these performances are largely entertaining and surprisingly modernised. Here are 5 reasons why you should catch at least 1 Getai performance before the end of the seventh month on 31 August 2016.
1. Experience Entertaining Performances In An Outdoor Setting
Never mind if Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese or any other Chinese dialect is not your common language. As the world modernises progressively, so has Getai performances! With brightly-painted wooden stages set up at open spaces near the heartlands, it creates the ideal outdoor setting for a live stage performance, complete with a live band and flashy strobe lights. Expect contemporary and upbeat performances, as the performers, whom are often decked out in colourful, glittery costumes, belt out familiar favourites. Be warned though, the best seats in the house start from the second row onwards as the first row seats are reserved for the “special guests”.
2. Don’t We All Love To Catch Free Performances?
Getai performances are free! Admit it now, don’t we all love to catch some free performances? The main idea behind Getai is to simply provide entertainment to the local residents in the heartlands, regardless of age and not forgetting our “special friends”. If you have nothing planned for the night, why not head to the nearest Getai for some fresh air and free entertainment? However, be wary of people going around collecting donations as this is strictly not allowed within the Getai premises.
3. Performances Right Within Your Neighbourhood
The best part about Getai performances is that you can simply head down to the nearest neighbourhood where they are performing to catch them, imagine that amount of convenience! Popular neighbourhoods in the West where Getai shows have been regularly held include Block 726 Clementi West Street 1 and Jurong West Street 51 and 52.
3. Get Up-close And Personal With (Local) Superstars
Do a quick online search for “Getai” and don’t be surprised if a few fan pages appear in your search results. With regular, exciting shows over the years, some Getai performers, young and old, have made quite a name for themselves in the various heartland neighbourhoods such as Jurong West and Telok Blangah.
It is common to see the occasional fans holding placards with lights spelling out the names of their popular Getai performers such as the current trending Getai stars, Sherraine Law, Hao Hao and several others. As the Getai setting is relatively compact, you can now enjoy a live (and free) performance up-close with actual local superstars!
5. Traditional Getai Is Evolving
In order to keep up with times and the changing expectations of its audience, Getai has been constantly evolving and becoming more modern. GE TAI – The Musical is a good case in point, which provided a refreshing take to Getai. So why not catch some Getai performances this year in its traditional art form before they are completely changed? With continuous efforts to modernize Getai and to make it even more engaging, you’ll never know if next year’s performances will be of a similar nature or if they might be completely phased out in the heartlands soon.
Do your part to support the local Getai scene and catch a performance before the end of the seventh month! Enjoy the dazzling sights and sounds and soak in the atmosphere at these heartland stages.