Tugatog Filipino Music Festival: Inside the Biggest PPop Celebration We Never Knew We Needed

Pinoy pop, more fondly known as PPop, as we know it today, has created a space for new artists who are not just good in vocals but also extraordinary in synchronized dances and explosive performances. A few groups have paved the way years back but it is at this time of the pandemic, when the world is caught in a standstill, when fans and supporters found themselves going leaps and bounds to cheer for their favorite groups but unable to go out and show support.

In place of coliseums and event venues, as the world was compelled to do, the younger generation of supporters has found a home in the digital sphere to let their voices be heard in support of the new breed of Filipino idols. But now, over two years since the world was forced to be cooped up at home and with restrictions due to the pandemic slowly easing up, the opportunity to experience and feel the vocal powers and outstanding performances of the new generation P-Pop artists altogether in one place is once again in the horizon. Thus the birth of Tugatog Filipino Music Festival 2022.

Bringing some of the most talented and celebrated Filipino music acts in one celebratory stage, Ant Savvy Creatives and Entertainment Inc. takes on the immense challenge of mounting one of the biggest, if not, the biggest festival PPop fans have seen with a diverse roster of talents not limited to idol groups we have come to know and associate the “genre” with.

In an exclusive, Sarah Ruth Matias, Chief Executive Officer and Angelica Heruela, Executive Director for Communications and Strategies tells Rank Magazine on the birth of the festival, “Most of Ant Savvy’s creatives come from diverse backgrounds and are artists at heart from theater kids, musicians, visual artists, dancers, photographers, and are avid music fans. There was always a shared vision of bringing all of our passions on a live stage. When Ant Savvy was just beginning, we told ourselves that someday we’ll be producing our very own music festival. During conceptualization, we thought that ‘if we were going to put up a show that we and audiences would enjoy, what would that be?’ And because we have a high regard for Filipino artists, it had to be a show that artists would both enjoy and be proud of. Hence, Tugatog was born. “

In, and of itself, the goal of the festival is to display and highlight Filipino talent and be one with the mission of elevating the music scene and amplifying it on a more global scale. “Tugatog is a place at the peak of music where we can all come together to promote and support our Filipino artists and where fans can come to share their love not only for their idols, but to all the groups involved. Through music, we are able to create more genuine human connections.”

The journey into the creation of Tugatog is not an easy road but their vision of bringing passion on a live stage and aiming to produce a music festival remained uncompromised. “The first question we had in mind was how this music festival was going to be different, the questions on logistics took center stage. How do we fit them all into one space? Will we shoot them on location? What would be the set design? What about the shooting schedules? And most importantly, for any show, how do we end on a strong note?”

With the government starting to ease restrictions to the general public, the group behind the festival landed on the concept of doing the show live but the venues were abruptly filled up due to fast reservations for other events. Following finalizing venue and dates, the creative team then designed a special stage that can accommodate a grand production and that can be big enough to pull all seventeen (17) artist groups in one space. 

“The main challenge with the artists was more on securing their schedules. Just imagine coordinating 17 calendars and finding sweet spots when they can rehearse the songs together and do their choreographies.”

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Just like any other festivals and events, or any ambitious undertaking for that matter, Tugatog faced challenges that seemed insurmountable before it came to fruition especially with the threat of pandemic still present.  “It was a bumpy ride in the sense that there is still an air of uncertainty looming above everyone’s heads due to the pandemic. Every now and then there are recalibrations needed to ensure everyone’s safety in the process.”

True, it’s not an easy job producing an event as huge as Tugatog on a normal day let alone during a pandemic, but it is in the creative team’s expertise and experiences being in the events field for the past ten years that grounded the execution of the whole festival to be as smooth as possible. “Experience also taught us that staging an event is not just about the actual show itself, it is also about ensuring the welfare of the people we work with behind the scenes. So, being aware of these considerations helped us navigate the conditions of mounting an event during a pandemic better.”

But more than the logistics and the legwork, the festival seeks to reshape expectations set by earlier conventions and concerts that may have come before them and build a spectacle and an overall experience unlike any other. The duo reiterates, “We demolished the perceived boundaries among artist groups. More often than not, artist groups interactions would be limited to those who share the same management. But with Tugatog, we made groups collaborate with each other, sharing the stage together and learning each other’s choreography and lyrics”.

With this, the public can expect collaborative performances of the groups that will highlight the music festival.

“Each of the artist groups were created with a certain vision in mind so we had 17 different unique brands to work with—different sounds, different numbers. Our primary task was to find the common ground on what songs would work together. But it’s also not just the musicality of the songs, these songs also have to weave together a story. And we’re just at the backend part of the process.”

“The different coaches of the artist groups also helped us in preparing the artists with these performances—studying and learning the new arrangement that’s just for the Tugatog stage. And with what we saw during the rehearsals, we’d take this bumpy road all over again.”

Tugatog tapped Nikko Rivera as their musical director who will be the key person in ensuring that the musical arrangements for the group collaboration songs would fit well. By doing this, there will be new arrangements of the groups’ well-loved hits and a chance for the participating artists to discover more of and themselves by working with other artists. 

Bridging the gap from when we were locked in our houses for years, and our connections with people were limited through our devices’ screens, Tugatog Filipino Music Festival has opened a door to a perfect time to come together and be part of an aural experience unlike any other.

“Tugatog was conceptualized as an avenue for fans and artists to have that shared experience together—whether it is of fans with their idols, or fans with other fans, or artists with other artists. A lot of the younger generation today have not been given the opportunity to create shared experiences with their peers the same way that older generations have, add to that the past two years really restricted all of us to our own small bubbles due to the pandemic.”

Live on July 15 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Tugatog Filipino Music Festival will be bringing together seventeen budding and distinguished Filipino artists in one stage including BGYO, BINI, MNL48, Alamat, PPOP Generation, Litz, 1st.one, VXON, Press Hit Play, Dione, Calista, G22, Yara, Daydream, The Juans and Zack Tabudlo.

With additional text by Leo Balante

Tickets are still available at smtickets.com as well as over-the-counter at any SM Tickets outlet. Head over to Tugatog’s official social media sites @tugatogph for more updates.

Tugatog Filipino Music Festival 2022 is produced by Ant Savvy Creatives and Entertainment Inc. and co-presented by kumu and Realme. Rank Magazine is an official media partner of the Tugatog Filipino Music Festival.