EOY Cosplay Festival is the largest free annual cosplay and youth community event in Singapore, offering an avenue for J-pop and anime lovers to congregate and parade their passion through self-made performances, cosplay, illustrations, photography and more. The layman onlooker will undoubtedly find this a highly fascinating and eye-opening experience.
The very first EOY was held in 1999, and it was one of the very rare cosplay conventions in Singapore back then during a time when cosplay was not as widely embraced as it is now.
Growing up, EOY has always been my favourite cosplay event in Singapore, and I’ve been attending it since 2006. I met many like-minded friends through this annual event. Some of my friends, including myself, participated actively as booth owners during the earlier EOYs, where we sold our own creations or exercised our entrepreneurial spirit.
When the previous organisers of EOY announced that they were giving up the event, it was an extremely sad news for the entire cosplay community, because EOY had great sentimental value for us.
I’ve always loved sound, stage design, anime and cosplay. I thought that if the organizers don’t want to continue EOY, why don’t we, the fans of EOY, take matters into our own hands and organize it instead?
I contacted the previous organizer to request permission to take over the name of EOY, and continue to run it as a yearly event. To my surprise, they said yes, but they also told me that we would be on our own. They would not assist us in any way. In fact, the organizers did not have unanimous support for my decision. Some objected to the change after we announced publicly our decision to take over the reins. But of course, statements made public cannot be withdrawn easily, and much as we appreciated the team for bringing EOY to us, we weren’t going to give up our passion so easily.
We started EOY from scratch, as the previous organizers simply wanted nothing to do with it. We had to source for new sponsors, vendors and contacts. Within one year, we had to get EOY up and running as per normal, while ensuring that it lived up to the standards of previous EOYs. The team spent a lot of time and effort running around to secure assistance, support and sponsorships to make our first EOY – EOY 2009, a success. None of the team members are paid, and everyone was running on a tight schedule, despite having our own jobs, school work and families to take care of. We came to empathise with the previous organisers’ difficulties. Running a non-profit event is hard work, especially when starting from ground zero. The saying “10 years of work for every 1 minute of stage” really comes to mind. EOY is but a one day per year affair. Yet it involves months of preparations!
We triumphed over the odds, and EOY has been blossoming under our care. In the past years, EOY has been held at the Drama Centre and the Republic Cultural Centre. We met several accomplished Japanese artistes, whose popularity among the local fans grew thanks to the exposure from EOY. We witnessed many local performers and cosplayers shines brighter on our stage year after year.
No one on the team is on payroll; all of us are volunteering out of love and passion for J-pop. We simply believe in bringing quality Japanese pop culture entertainment to you at affordable prices. Despite the lack of a salary, EOY is a manifestation of our dreams coming true. Many of the team members got to meet their favourite idols up-close because of EOY, and many of us are also able to work on something that we love, which our regular jobs would not allow us to enjoy. Perhaps one day, we will be able to make EOY a part of our career, just like how many of our local talents who have performed or sold their artworks at EOY have the potential to make a career out of performing and art.
We’re a non-profit organization that seeks to promote arts and the development of talents in young people. I believe that we can all pursue our dreams, live life to the fullest, and be rewarded in the areas of our strengths, passions and interests.
We only have one lifetime, and a pretty long one in fact. Why make it boring and unpredictable when it can be so much fun?
Producer, EOY 2009-2017
Yu Bin, Ang
Assistant Art Director
Artiste Development Manager
Shi Hai, Chan
Jing Jie, Ng