We’re living in the “Golden Age” of OPM (Original Pinoy Music), says Chito Miranda in a lengthy Facebook post. With P-pop on the rise, indie artists having their moment, bands and soloists getting the stages they deserve, and younger audiences embracing music of their own, I can’t help but agree.
The Philippine STAR’s Truth Festival 2023 held at the Quezon City Circle was a pure night of OPM acts of different kinds and genres. The artist lineup last Aug. 20 was stacked with local artists who let their music and artistic vision truly shine.
Back then, when one would hear of music festivals in the country, one would associate it with events that have international artists as headliners. When OPM was involved, it would typically be small stages that didn’t quite get the reception and feel of the former’s concerts.
But in recent years, the music scene has changed. OPM is at the forefront of Philippine pop culture, even gaining recognition outside of the country.
Kicking off the Truth Fest was none other than Taylor Sheesh, a Taylor Swift impersonator who gained recognition for her rendition of the Eras Tour (The “Errors Tour”) in mall shows. She performed Taylor's most popular songs, including Cruel Summer and Style from the highly-anticipated album 1989 (Taylor’s Version), which got the crowd moving and singing along.
The Truth Fest took a turn to spoken word performances from Maimai Cantillano and Jonel Revistual, who shared their “truth” and set the stage for the Truth Fest’s main advocacy. From their own heartbreaks to the country’s heartbreak on recent political issues such as police brutality, they gained cheers from audiences who related, shared their anguish, and rallied for change.
Fitz Shioda and Kobe Silvestre came afterwords with passionate acoustic performances (guitar solos included!). Fitz got us feeling all the emotions and lamenting our relationships as he performed singles such as Tingin from The Rain in España and his most recent release Lambing. Meanwhile, Kobe got everyone reminiscing through a cover of Sugarfree’s Burnout and shared the story of his life through his original song, Musika Ng Buhay Ko.
The long-awaited P-pop groups stormed onto the stage and brought up the energy of the crowd to a high. The cheers of their fans are unlike any other of how much excitement and passion they have for these groups.
Dione, G22, 1st.One, KAIA, Press Hit Play, Calista, and Alamat were all amazing performers that gave 110% of their energy through each song. I mean, seriously, watching these P-Pop groups do their thing was magical. They have so much stage presence and charisma that they swept me along into their fandoms!
From the high-energy vocals and moves of P-pop idols to a smooth-sailing rap performance, Abra cooly came onto the stage and brought with him a different energy than the prior performances. With a swag, you can’t miss out on and crowd control that’s unlike any other, the rap star spent his stage hyping up the crowd with his most popular hits Diwata, Ilusyon, and Gayuma, which got everyone singing along to the lyrics.
Finally, the Truth Fest closed off with the Music Festival from pop-rock stars that got us all putting our hands up in the air and swaying along to the music — the perfect ending to a fully-stacked music festival. Sunday Special, Similar Sky, Autotelic, Kean Cipriano, Cean Jr., Kenaniah, and This Band reminded everyone of the classic OPM sounds you might be familiar with.
As OPM has long been known for full-band arrangements and acoustic sounds, the rock bands reminded us all of that kind of turning-point sound brought abought by influential bands in the 90s. Capped together with sentimental lyrics and emotion-driven vocals, the music fest had such a painstaking “Pinoy” sound that served as the perfect finale for the event.
From singers, rappers to P-pop groups and rock bands, and even special spoken poetry and drag queen performances, the Trust Festival 2023 showed us the real truth of the matter: that Filipino artists have so much depth, talent, and creativity, and it’s about time they get the hype, respect, and stages they deserve! No matter the genre and vision, Filipino artists have so much more to give and show to the world.
So, can we say today is truly the “Golden Age of OPM,” and we’re living in a time that everyone is at their peak? It’s hard to say. But, I will say this: OPM is getting better and more recognized in every era. And as they say, “Mabuhay ang OPM!”