So Happy: 50 Years Of Singapore Rock is a retrospective exhibition of the Singapore rock music community’s finest moments from the 1960s to the present day, that was held at The Substation Gallery from 8 to 26 Apr 2015. The exhibition’s title was inspired by the 1991 radio hit, So Happy, recorded by Singapore indie band The Oddfellows. It was conceived, organised, and curated by creative director Little Ong, with a team of over 80 photographers and writers contributing material for this exhibition.
At the heart of the “So Happy” exhibition is a timeline of 100 photographs showing prominent local rock bands from each decade. Accompanying the photographs are captions that tell a story about each band, written by individuals who are passionate about the local music industry. It also features artefacts—including flyers, vinyl records, cassettes, and ticket stubs—along with an interactive kiosk that contained a music selection and video interviews.
A total of 17 bands, wholly or consisting of various members, played at the opening and closing of the exhibition which included The Oddfellows, Riot !n Magenta, The Pinholes, Plainsunset, Rudra, LC93, Cashew Chemists, The Stoned Revivals, Hushhouse, Pleasantry, Livonia, Steel City Skies, The Lilac Saints, Caracal, Obedient Wives Club, The Boredphucks and Empra.
The project began with the launch of a Facebook Group in January 2015 where in 2 days, it had registered 2000 over members and continue to be active today. The group allowed the community to share their memories of the music scene through posts of articles, images and videos. It also allowed the team to share the photos of selected bands to evoke memories about them.
The marketing strategy involved the distribution of flyers that were stickers, which increased pickup rates and its usage extended the visibility of the exhibition. And 10 posters, designed from the lyrics of 10 popular rock songs, were distributed to schools, record stores, book stores and other visible places of interest. A catalogue was produced that included the featured photos and write-ups including a section where a number of writers shared their memories. Digital graphics were also designed to promote the opening and closing gigs.
The exhibition’s official website, sohappy.sg, was launched to not only provide information about the exhibition, but also includes a Singapore artiste/band directory and listings of music-related shops, services, and media. The website is intended as a public resource, and music lovers will be invited to contribute content on all matters relevant to local music.
So Happy: 50 Years Of Singapore Rock is supported by the Singapore Memory Project’s irememberSG Fund, The Substation, Antalis and Thunder Rock School, as part of the Singapore50 (SG50) Celebrations.