Updated: Sep 13
We love going to festivals and events, and sometimes the bigger the better. While event organisers work hard to provide a safe and fun experience, for large scale events (especially outdoors) it's worthwhile to spend some time planning how to enjoy the weekend ahead and minimise any potential problems. In the post-pandemic era this is the case for grown adults, teenagers or those in their early 20s who haven’t yet had the chance to enjoy a festival experience.
This article provides tips to help you enjoy any large scale event. If you want to skip straight to the Singapore Grand Prix, scroll down for specific race weekend advice.
I have a personal connection to the Singapore race and Circuit Park. In 2007 I was part of the original event team designing and planning the inaugural 2008 event and subsequent races. We created the event from the ground up and evolved the experience as the city changed around it.
Before You Go
Update yourself about the Event. Before arriving at the event check out the website for event day information, tips and maps. Not just schedules relating to the main attraction or performance but for information that the organiser wants to share with you. Any event organiser who has delivered an event in the past knows what are the key problems and issues encountered by the patrons. They will try to make your day a better and safer experience by providing relevant and actionable information in advance.
Eat. Make sure that you have eaten properly before you head to the event. It may or may not be possible to access food at a festival: queues may be long; you might not feel hungry due to the excitement of the event or the heat.
Dress for the Weather. Do you need a hat, or a jacket? Are your shoes right for the event? What if it rains? Some events provide ponchos, others not. In summer months or tropical climates the sun and heat can be a real issue.
Charge your Phone. And if you are going to take photos, video and be online, bring some extra power. Especially useful if you need to communicate with friends or family at the event.
Bring Cash and Cards. You never know when there might be a comms outage, the mobile network may be patchy or go down. What if your phone / e-wallet runs out of power, what will you do?
At the Event
Security and Bag-Checks. Take what you need and no more. Check what are the restrictions on items before you leave home. These may change year to year even at the same event.
Event Day Updates. Sometimes event timings might change, announcements need to be made. Does the organiser provide event day updates on social media? Follow their social media accounts. Check if the event has an online app.
Hydration. In warmer climates or during the summer, heat related injuries ranging from mild dehydration to heatstroke can occur within a few hours. Does the event provide free water, can you bring your own empty water bottle? Watch your alcohol intake.
First Aid. Common first aid issues at events include: blisters on the feet (inappropriate footwear or simply being on your feet for longer than usual), headaches from dehydration, sunburn, insect bites, minor bumps and scrapes. These are mainly avoidable - by You - with a little forethought and planning. If you feel that you need first aid, make use of a First Aid booth. If you need medication, e.g. asthma inhaler, aspirin etc bring your own as first aid staff cannot provide medication.
Find a Chill-Out Area. Large crowds and long days can take a physical and mental toll. Does the event have planned chill-out areas or are there a quiet places away from the stage or track where you can find a seat?
If you see a problem report it to event staff. Perhaps someone needs assistance, perhaps equipment is broken and might hurt someone. Let a staff member know so that they can take care of it.
Children. Festivals and events are important and enjoyable shared life experiences, especially for families. These experiences are fun but can also be stressful for children, especially in large mobile crowds. Sometimes children can be overwhelmed or exhausted, be prepared to leave the event early if you have to. Does your child have ID, can the event organiser contact you if your child becomes separated and found by event staff? Tip: give them a medical wristband (where your contacts can be written) or attach a laminate to their event lanyard.
Plan your Exit Patrons often plan on how to arrive but not how to leave. Leaving the event ground is often the most stressful part of the event. It is when you might experience the highest level of crowding as patrons are channeled through gates.
Is your Exit Point the same as your Entry Point? This isn't always the case and might affect all your best made plans for immediately after the event.
What to do if you get separated from friends? Outside the event area it might be difficult to find your friends. Local public transport points (bus stops / stations) might be very busy or unsuitable as a meeting place.
When you are traveling home at night how will you travel? Is public transport running? Singapore is super safe - one of the safest countries in the world and the subway / underground remains open late on race weekend.
After the Event
Give the event organiser your feedback. Legitimate complaints aside, let the organiser know what you enjoyed, what you didn't and why. They take feedback, both negative and positive, seriously. This is how you can make the event improve, grow and be worth coming back to year after year.
Enjoy the Singapore Circuit Park
Come rain or shine enjoy the biggest event - car race and music festival - of the year! So... What are my key tips for the Singapore Grand Prix?
The Singapore race fan group on Facebook is very active and a massive resource both for the race and race weekend in general.
Friday night at the Circuit Park is a fun night, dominated by petrol heads and partiers. Fewer crowds than Saturday and Sunday and a taste of things to come.
Arrival Timing Gates get busy from 5pm onwards, once it cools down.
Consider arriving earlier to beat the queues and stake you claim inside where the fun is happening. It's a great vibe at that time inside the park, to enjoy: the cars, music and F&B.
If you are arriving first thing, bring a sun hat. Even when it is cloudy the UV can be strong.
Download a Circuit Park Map and take a physical copy from an Info Booth at the event. This also makes a nice souvenir.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
The Circuit Park is extensive and you'll be on your feet all day. Be sure to explore the Circuit Park, there's a lot to enjoy from trackside views to waterfront spots to put your feet up.
If you end the night on the Padang for a concert, and it has been raining, it is likely to be a mud bath. Repeat MUD BATH. You and your footwear have been warned.
Speaking of feet... Blisters are the #1 issue dealt with at First Aid Booths. Bring a plaster or two in your purse or wallet. A packet of 'wet wipes' can also be a game changer for personal comfort and hygiene.
Explore and enjoy the Circuit Park. There are a surprising number of hidden corners in the Circuit Park. Explore each Zone, enjoy different views of the track and the city. Check out the stages and performances when the cars are off-track.
Be nice to the event staff. Don't get shouty or entitled, take a breath and work through the problem. The person that you are likely dealing with wasn't part of the organising team. Perhaps the teenager or 'uncle' didn't get the full briefing, their English might not be as good as yours. They will however try to help you to make the most of your day.
Go for a ride on the Singapore Flyer, the giant ferris wheel. If you have access to Zones 1 and 2 enjoy an unparalleled view of the Circuit Park from an airconditioned cabin!
Use the 'Short Cut' from Zone 1 to Zone 4
Don't feel like walking from the Pit Straight to The Padang? Take the MRT (subway) from Nicoll Highway MRT Station (Circle Line) to Esplanade MRT Station. See the Singapore GP website for full details.
WCs. The event organisers have gone to great lengths to provision toilet blocks and portaloos throughout the Circuit Park. However, if you want to use 'proper' facilities, the Singapore Flyer (Zone 2) and Esplanade Theatres have proper WCs in the buildings.
Food and Beverage. There is a wide range of F&B around the circuit park. Yes, it is expensive but compared to bars and restaurants (not hawker centres) in Singapore the prices are – dare I say it - generally reasonable. Both Zone 4's Esplanade Theatres and Zone 2's Singapore Flyer have restaurants, bars, WCs and permanent facilities to enjoy.
Eat a proper meal before coming into the Circuit Park and have a fantastic local kopi - coffee, hot or iced.
Water. As part of its commitment to sustainability, bring your own water bottle to enjoy free drinking water supplied by the race organiser.
Plan your Exit: Entry Point vs. Exit Point
If you enjoyed your day and the racing in Zones 1 and 2 (at the Paddock Club, a Suite, the Pit Straight or Turns 1-3 Grandstands or on the bleachers) you might end your day in Zone 4 enjoying a concert on The Padang.
This means that after the concert you will leave from Zone 4, a slightly different part of the downtown area, likely not where you entered.
Were you lucky to be dropped off by a shuttle bus at Gate 1 or the Paddock Club? Is your car parked in another part of town? How will you get there?
Leaving Zone 4 after the concert, it will take a while to get through the gates with everyone else, be patient.
Cancel all Monday all morning activities.
And finally, Lewis Hamilton for the Win!
Ps. Don't miss out on our local kopi - to power through the race weekend!
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