When people from Metro Manila want to escape the heat, the lowest hanging fruit is Tagaytay, which lends itself as a cool, accessible vacation spot over the Taal Volcano. While it’s recently been dotted with al frescos and all-day breakfast diners, the holiday town south of Manila has also been transformed into a haven for music and art enthusiasts.
That’s all thanks to Docdef Productions, which mounts Tagaytay Art Beat: an annual 12-hour music and arts festival featuring local musicians and visual artists. After two successful concerts in 2015 and 2017, Docdef Productions and Museo Orlina produced yet another heart-stopping show this year with 25 bands bannered by Hale, Mayonnaise, Munimuni, Reese Lansangan, Ben&Ben, Autotelic, Tom’s Story, and Clara Benin alongside 20 muralists and exhibitors.
Complementing the overwhelming lineup of artists is Tagaytay Art Beat’s permanent home: an indoor-outdoor museum with an amphitheater parading the glass sculptures of National Artist Ramon Orlina, Museo Orlina.
“We’ve been producing shows since 2012. It’s really a dream for us to have a bigger stage for the bands simply because we know they deserve it. Art Beat is a dream come true for all of us in the team,” said JB Balaquit, founder of Docdef Productions.
Even on its third year, Art Beat still continues to fulfill its promise: bringing fresh ideas and introducing new acts to pull off a one-of-a-kind event.
When Balaquit envisioned re-creating a Malasimbo-like festival, luck was on his side as Orlina was also interested in producing a show at the museum.
“For the first year, we targeted the locals of Tagaytay. The ticket was only P250 and we had 20 bands. To our surprise, most of the listeners and fans of the bands from Manila travelled to Tagaytay. This gave us a new perspective of what we’re selling,” Balaquit shared.
From P250, the ticket price for Art Beat 2 ballooned to P1,000 apiece while the recently concluded festival had a P2,000 door charge. With the increase, Balaquit’s team was able to invest in inviting more acts and better production equipment.
There might have been negative feedback on the price, but Balaquit embraces the value and purpose of producing the show.
“Dito sa Art Beat, ‘yung mga front acts lang sa ibang concerts, sila ‘yung bida. We want people to see that our local independent bands can also do it too, that they can be headliners at an out-of-town festival,” Balaquit quipped.
According to Balaquit, an added value to Art Beat is the experience outside the festival, “It’s a location gig. You do this with your barkada to get away from the city; you get to have a road trip. In a way, memories are being created even before they set foot in the Museo.”
While various productions are currently curating events in Manila, Balaquit and his team are now focused on sharing the experience in other places.
“We will have Tagaytay Art Beat 4 again next year and hopefully produce more shows in different cities. Today, that’s the dream,” he said.