Every October, the Lion City transforms into the artistic hub and lifestyle centre of Southeast Asia during a 10-day festival that brings to the city state top-calibre celebrities from the fields of music, visual arts, literature, film, wine, cuisine and wellness.
Marking its fourth year, the Singapore Sun Festival attracts lovers of the humanities and epicures with discriminating palates to congregate in multiple venues across the city and bask in an eclectic mix of cultural and culinary activities.
Much like the Formula 1 Night Race which, in recent years, has become a fixture in the city’s social calendar, companies in and outside Singapore are timing their big hospitality events for the Sun Festival to give their functions more lustre and oomph.
“We wish to provide our guests with a unique and memorable experience from the diverse artistic and lifestyle offerings available at this world-class event,” says Peter Kok, regional market manager, UBS Wealth Management Singapore.
The global financial company is this year’s presenting sponsor for the Sun Festival. A strong supporter of the arts, it has been a long-term partner of the festival organiser, IMG Artists, both in Singapore and abroad. UBS Singapore had previously participated in Sun Festival during its freshman and sophomore year.
“We presented the piano recital of virtuoso Lang Lang in 2007 and brought the UBS Verbier Festival Chamber Performance in 2008,” Kok recalls. “We have seen the growth of the Sun Festival over the past four years. It is a natural progression for UBS to take on a bigger role this year as the presenting sponsor, as Sun Festival evolves into the leading multi-arts and lifestyle festival in the region.”
Being principal sponsor gave UBS’ clients and employees access to the more than 100 programmes running over the course of the festival.
What’s more, UBS hosted a series of corporate hospitality events for top-tier clients, many of them flown in from other parts of Asia-Pacific.
It kicked off on the first evening of the festival with an exclusive fund-raising dinner at the Fullerton Hotel for the David Foster Foundation for 60 guests. The Grammy-winning composer and some of his artist friends were on hand to present the musical interlude.
There were also networking luncheons and dinners with international celebrities, a community outreach event with up-and-coming teen singing sensation Charice, and privileged seats for some of the best acts in town.
According to Hannah Greedy, senior marketing and business development manager at IMG Artists Asia-Pacific, UBS also hosted pre- and post-performance cocktails every single night at the Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay where the concerts were being staged and performed.
For its employees, UBS organised two receptions – one at the Esplanade during the concert by The Creole Choir of Cuba on November 5 and the other at the Singapore Botanic Gardens for an open-air screening of Singin’ in the Rain on November 7.
For event organiser IMG Artists, making each festival fresh and exciting is a very challenging endeavour. It takes a lot of thought and attention to details.
“There are many factors involved in programming the line-up, including artist and celebrity availability and, of course, budget,” says Mindy Coppin, executive producer of the festival and senior vice-president and director of IMG Artists Asia-Pacific.
“We started planning for the festival at least 12 to 18 months in advance – talking to artists and talents early to explore all the best programming options available to us.”
Meticulous preparation assures the festival a line-up that continues to grow from year to year.
For the 2010 event, guest celebrities included tenor José Carreras, singers Peter Cetera and Natalie Cole, author Li Cunxin whose novel Mao’s Last Dancer has been made into a film, celebrated chefs Carlo Cracco and Curtis Stone and wine expert James Suckling.
Golden Globe-winning actress Sharon Stone was also booked for an on-stage interview on her life and career. She also graced the gala dinner and fundraising brunch for Action for AIDS.
Top artists also participated in an exhibition of light art sculptures at the Marina Bay.
“We have more big star names this year than in previous years. We listen to our audiences and our sponsors, responding to their feedback to ensure we are providing them with what they want to see and hear,” Coppin adds.
Having worked previously with the Sun Festival and IMG Artists, Kok says UBS was confident that programmes for this year were all class acts.
“UBS has always supported diversity and creative impression, whether in the art, music or sports. As a leading financial institution, we believe that open minds open markets,” he adds.