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MUSIC ON THE MOVE

ROCKING: Passengers soak in the music performance on the bus. TNP PHOTO: FOO JIE YING

JAMMING: Bandwagon founder Clarence Chan wants to offer live music on flights headed to overseas music events. BT FILE PHOTO

He came up with the idea of having musicians play live acoustic sets for music fans travelling to music festivals on a bus.

But Mr Clarence Chan, 28, hopes to take this idea to greater heights - having live performances on a plane.

"It sounds fantastic, right? I'm in talks with an Indonesian airline about the possibilities," the founder of online music and gig finder Bandwagon said.

On Saturday, more than 100 passengers spread across four Bandwagon buses were kept entertained on board with a mini music festival of sorts during their six-hour journey to Genting Highlands to catch arts festival Urbanscapes.

They were also treated to more live music on the journey home yesterday.

The on-board entertainment was part of a package deal that includes tickets to Urbanscapes and a one-night stay in Resorts World Genting.

In a phone interview with The New Paper, Mr Chan said the idea of a festival bus took two years to materialise.

With music festivals like Laneway Festival and Hostess Club Weekender gaining popularity here, Mr Chan wanted to enhance the experience for Singaporeans.

"The idea (of the Bandwagon bus) is something that is novel and really speaks for our name," he said.

In the 19th century, a bandwagon was used to carry a band in a parade, political event or circus, he explained.

The musical aspect was a breeze - Mr Chan was familiar with the faces in the music scene - but the logistics were a nightmare.

"We rang up about 10 bus companies, some of which were in Malaysia. I didn't know how to speak Malay and had to get help to translate certain words.

"But everyone said it's not possible," he said.

NOVEL IDEA

By a stroke of luck, someone later connected him to Tourism Malaysia. That was when the entrepreneur pitched the idea of "a bus that doesn't drive around aimlessly, but takes them to music".

"They found the idea novel and were willing to give it a try," Mr Chan said.

The planning started in September, including making sure the buses were suitable for live performances.

"We realised each bus had a different configuration when it came to the entertainment system. We wanted a consistent experience, something that would make people feel good when they listen to the music," Mr Chan explained.

The team settled on retrofitting the buses with sound systems.

The front seats of the bus were also reserved for musicians so they could be safely seated "in case the buses have to brake suddenly", Mr Chan said.

Despite the kinks that had to be ironed out throughout the three months of planning, Mr Chan was never once daunted by the scale of the project.

"That never really crossed my mind. Maybe that's why I'm an entrepreneur!" he said with a laugh.

"We're not afraid to do the hard stuff, even if it's challenging."