Thousands of people attended a Free Tibet Concert (西藏自由音樂會) held in the Xinyi District of Taipei yesterday. When the concert began at 1:30pm under blue skies and a scorching hot sun the crowd was quite small. However, by the late afternoon the crowd swelled.
The line up of bands represented some of Taiwan’s finest indie music. From start to finish the bands were: KoOk, Enno Cheng (鄭宜農), Shoo Band (恕樂團), Chang Jui-chuan (張睿銓), Aphasia (阿飛西雅), Panai (巴奈), Dog G (大支), Fire Ex (滅火器), ChthoniC (閃靈) and LTK Commune (濁水溪公社).
Many young people attended the concert and Freddy Lim said in a speech that he wanted to show that the youth of Taiwan have ideas and a voice. Although the concert was about Tibet, a number of other important human rights issued were mentioned by performers. There were a few flags of East Turkestan (aka Xinjiang) in the crowd and the violence and oppression there was often mentioned.
Aphasia composed a song about Tibet titled “Hope” especially for the event (video available here).
Panai gave a very moving performance singing Kimbo Hu’s song “The Pacific Wind Blows” (太平洋的風). She interspersed her singing with a speech about human rights and the issue of the nuclear waste dump that is planned for Taidong. After Panai finished a recorded video message from the Dalai Lama was played.
Former Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) attended the concert and looked like he was really enjoying the music of Dog G. Although he didn’t go up on stage to make a speech the Taipei Times quoted him as saying, “This government’s unsupportive attitude toward Tibet and the Uighurs does not at all represent the people of Taiwan”.
The second last band to perform was ChthoniC. It was their first performance with their new style of make up and included songs from their new album “Mirror of Retribution” (十殿) which will be released next month. They performed an absolutely blistering set of their extreme metal.
LTK Commune were the last band to play and they got a rousing reception from the crowd. I couldn’t understand their lyrics as they are mostly in Hoklo Taiwanese. A friend told me they are also mostly dirty words. Their performance also included a Michael Jackson tribute which didn’t require translation. I think you had to be there to appreciate it though!
The Free Tibet Concert in the Xinyi District was a big event that attracted many people, but there was also another Free Tibet event going on at Freedom Square (自由廣場). The Free Tibet Music Festival (自由圖博音樂節) was held on Saturday and Sunday. Many bands from Taipei and Taichung played at this event to help raise funds for Tibetan refugees in Taiwan. Although Free Tibet concerts have been held in many countries around the world, I am sure Taipei is the first to have two in one weekend!
*More photos in the Free Tibet Concert set at flickr.