80,000 spectators recorded in Lubao balloon fest 2017

By Albert B. Lacanlale LUBAO, Pampanga–The annual Lubao International Balloon and Music Festival (LIBMF) here is consistently gaining popularity. This was gleaned in the huge gate attendance recorded for the four-day festival held from April 6-9 at the Pradera Verde in Barangay Prado Siongco here.

Tally for the four days reached 80,000-strong, according to organizers. The biggest crowd drawer was Day 3 when close to 25,000 individuals watched the morning flight of some 37 hot air balloons, enjoyed the day events and partied the evening away with balloon night glows and performances from DJ Ace Ramos and local artists Moonstar 88, Yeng Constantino and Bamboo.

It was the biggest installation so far for the LIBMF that is recognized as the “biggest hot air ballooning event in Southeast Asia.” This year, organizers lined-up more artists to perform each night to included YouTube sensation Alex Aiono and internationally-acclaimed singer Red Foo and the Party Rock Crew.

During the first two nights, local bands like Sponge Cola and Parokya ni Edgar, rapper Gloc9 and Filipino magicians added entertainment to spectators that have come from as far as Davao City. Ticket prices were pegged at only P300 a piece and buyers can already get to watch the balloon flight and the evening concerts. Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab said the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, provincial governments of Pampanga and Bataan, local government units of Lubao and Hermosa in Bataan provided assistance for quick emergency response and to maintain peace and order. Moreover, weather during the four-day festival was favorable for both balloon flight and the nightly open-air concerts. The organizers made sure the public was not short-changed with their ticket purchase as almost all the participating balloons had been flown daily during the entire festival.

Netizens have rated this year’s festival as “excellent” with barely any negative comment among those who witnessed the LIBMF. Even local showbiz personalities were present to experience the festival first-hand. Celebrity couples Janno Gibbs and Bing Loyzaga, Kate Lapuz, Sheena Halili, Ara Mina, Enchong Dee and Erich Gonzales, Vice Ganda, Gelli De Belen, James Reed and Nadine Lustre, and professional basketball player Arwind Santos were among those sighted at the Festival.

Forthinker Inc., the event’s overall organizer, has done the preparations early this year. Ticket prices remained notably affordable though more performing artists have been included in the shows. “This year’s response from the public was overwhelming and we want to reciprocate this with much bigger shows and more exciting events in the coming years,” the organizers said.

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