Another weekend, another music adventure!

Lately, I am striving to be more active in the local music scene, which means attending gigs, gigs, gigs! It feels good to discover a thriving scene and immense support for local bands.

You can find numerous local music festivals throughout the year. There’s Fête de la Musique, Earth Day Jam, Jack Daniel’s Future Legends Indiefest, Art Beat Tagaytay…

The most recent one was Common Ground Music Fest in Bonifacio Global City. Presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey in collaboration with Red Ninja Production and Logiclub, there were four stages in four different venues.

There was a rock stage, a singer/songwriter stage, a DJ stage, and a Hip Hop x Electro stage. No matter what genre you’re into, there’s a stage for you.

The best part: it’s free!!

We Filipinos love free things, don’t we?

From the minute I found out about the music fest through Twitter, I knew I had to go!

Common Ground Music Fest

On that faithful Saturday, my good friend Kara and I made our way to the musical land of BGC. If you live in Manila, going out means strategise what time to leave and what roads to pass to avoid getting stuck in horrible traffic. I had a plan in my head, but execution-wise, err, I had to improvise. You see, twenty minutes into my drive, I realised I had gone off track. This was also the time I started sneezing like there’s no tomorrow.

I had passed a different route, one that I was not familiar with. “Oh, well!” I said. “We’ll find our way!” then asked Kara to check Waze (thank you 21st century technology!). It was a smooth drive until we reached Makati, and I missed a turn. Man, what one turn can do! We had to take a detour, but thankfully, I knew where to go.


So an hour and a half later, we arrived in BGC and managed to find parking near Frank & Dean. The only downside to BGC is that the parking is hella expensive!! We weren’t even there for six hours and we had to pay P90. At least the music fest was free!

Our first stop was the singer/songwriter stage we made it in time for Bea Lorenzo and The Benjamins (now called Ben&Ben)!

Frank & Dean’s was overflowing with people and there was still a line outside. We inched our way inside, but there were no more available tables. We stood at the back at first.

The Benjamins (Ben&Ben)

The Benjamins Common Ground Music Fest

After grabbing some grub, we headed off to the Rock Stage in Pablo’s. We trekked to High Street because we thought it was there.

By this time, what I thought was a just an allergy had developed into a cold. My nose was runny, my throat felt like it was on fire and my body a tad feverish. We were already in BGC, so I wasn’t going to wave the white flag.

It was just in High Street anyway, I told myself.

The Benjamins Common Ground Music Fest

It was not.

We ended up lost, roaming around BGC looking for Pablo’s. Apparently it was in The Forum, quite a distance from The Singer/Songwriter stage.

It would have been nicer if the venues were next to each other. Pablo’s was the furthest because the other three were practically in the same building. It felt like an adventure, nonetheless, getting lost in a city that I used to frequent.

I was so happy when we found Pablo’s and just in time for Runway Crimes! We thought we had missed them because they were scheduled to play at an earlier time slot.

Even in Pablo’s, it was a full house! For a while I thought we wouldn’t be able to get any photos because we were far from the band. Even if I maximised my arms’ length, I wouldn’t get the shots I’d envisioned.

I refused to give up, looking for whatever space there was to inch our way in. And slowly, we did. We were two rows away from crossing the threshold of people. And as if the waters had parted, there was this kind soul who moved aside to let us pass. She told me to go in front of her, so I could take photos. Bless your kind soul!

Runway Crimes

Runway Crimes Common Ground Music Fest

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And that is how we ended up with prime seats (on the floor) for Runway Crimes, FDOG13 and Tom’s Story!


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Tom’s Story

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I would have stayed on if I could, but between a previous commitment and my current state, I had to leave.

When I stepped out of Pablo’s, I saw how hard it was raining. Even though I was driving slow and carefully, I got into a minor accident because the car in front of me decided to swerve to the right lane and then back-up! Don’t worry, nobody got hurt. We made it to our destination safe.

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The next day, I was bedridden. My cold was full-blown: nonstop sneezing, a horrible sore throat, and fatigue.

I do not regret going to Common Ground Music Fest. It was hours of good company and great music! But if it’s one thing I learned: you have to listen to your body and rest or else, it catches up with you.

If you need help navigating the Philippine indie music scene, grab a copy of the Beginner’s Guide to the Philippine Indie Music Scene e-book. It lists down the bands you should know, ways to find gigs, as well as tips for when you explore the indie music scene. You can get a FREE preview of the e-book below:


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About the author

Izzy launched Days in Wonderland as an avenue for avid music fans and travel bugs to find inspiration. Days in Wonderland features concert photos and write-ups, song suggestions, interviews and travel guides.

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