Mega Port Festival rocks Kaohsiung

Mega Port Festival in Kaohsiung

The Mega Port Festival (大港開場) was held over the weekend of 5-6 March in Kaohsiung. The festival featured a few bands from Japan and the UK and some big name Taiwanese stars in Wu Bai and Jeannie Hsieh. However, it was largely a showcase of Taiwan’s best contemporary indie bands.

Mega Port by the harbour in Kaohsiung

Bands played on three stages spread out along the side of the harbour in the Pier 2 Arts District (駁二藝術特區). The close proximity to the Love River and the harbour gave the festival a unique maritime feel. Continue reading

Exclaim! TV reports on Taiwan’s indie music scene

Exclaim! TV from Canada visited Taiwan in April this year to report on Taiwan’s burgeoning indie music scene. They attended Spring Scream (春天吶喊) and also checked out live venues in Taipei. A five-part series of videos documenting Taiwan’s music scene is now available for viewing online. Part One is embedded above and links to all five videos can be found at the end of this post.

I contacted  Exclaim! TV’s Sam Sutherland by e-mail and asked him about his impressions of his time in Taiwan. He was surprised that at Spring Scream not many people were drinking. Sam said, “At any music festival in North America, the beer tent is as crowded as the main stage. But it seemed like James and I were the only people bothering to buy beers in a crowd of thousands.” Continue reading

Summer of rock in Taiwan

Taiwan’s summer music festivals were supposed to kick off this weekend with the Wan Bay Music Festival (灣島音樂祭) at Jiupeng (九棚) in Pingtung. However, as a result of an injunction from Pingtung County authorities the event has been cancelled. Apparently police were concerned the event would be used for selling illegal drugs. I have some more details on my Posterous blog. If you have made plans to head to Pingtung this weekend there will still be some musicians playing “unplugged” on the beach.

Hohaiyan (海洋音樂祭) is one of Taiwan’s longest running music festivals. This year it’s on again at Fulong Beach in Taipei County from 9-11 July. Entry is free. It kicks off on Friday 9 July with a great line up including Sodagreen (蘇打綠), 88 Balaz (88顆芭樂籽), Totem (圖騰樂團) and Tizzy Bac.  They are all past winners of the Hohaiyan competition that have gone on to bigger things. On Saturday 10 July bands will compete for Hohaiyan’s big prize. Then last year’s winners Matzka and DeHot will close the night with their rocking reggae tunes. On Sunday 11 July don’t miss Kimbo Hu (胡德夫).

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Justice For All Concert in Pingtung

The 2010 Justice For All Concert (正義無敵音樂會) was held in Pingtung yesterday. I arrived at the venue in the mid-afternoon while the bands were still doing their sound checks. The venue was a park in the Pingdong Sugar Factory — a big grassy area surrounded by palm trees with a banyan tree providing some nice shade.

In the late afternoon the crowd began to build as the first band Windmill (風籟坊) took to the stage. Windmill’s Hoklo rock was followed by the Hakka folk of Lin Sheng-xiang (林生祥). Sheng-xiang is well known as a protest singer and lives in Meinong, not far from Pingtung. Continue reading

Free Tibet concerts in Taipei

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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).

free-tibet-concert-crowd

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. Continue reading

Summer of music

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Aphasia at The Wall on 14 June 2009

Summer has well and truly arrived and it brings with it an awesome line up of summer music events. Music festivals and other special events will see several major international acts perform as well as a huge number of Taiwanese bands. The events are not just limited to Taipei either, there are also festivals in Yilan, Kaohsiung and Miaoli. I have listed the events in chronological order.

The Grass Festival (第三屆草地音樂節) is on 4-5 July at the  Daxi Elementary School in Yilan County. It has an awesome line up of Taiwan indie bands over the two days including Aphasia (阿飛西雅), LTK Commune (濁水溪公社), 88 Balaz (八十八顆芭樂籽) and Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤).

u-loud-2009The U-Loud Music Festival (有料音樂祭) has events in both Kaohsiung and Taipei. On 4 July it’s on at Pier 2 Arts District in Kaohsiung (高雄駁二藝術特區). The line up includes three Kaohsiung bands KoOk, Shy Kick Apple (害羞踢蘋果) and Fire Ex (滅火器) along with Clione-Index from Japan, Silverbus, Chang Jui-chuan, Orangegrass (橙草) and Sugar Plum Ferry (甜梅號).
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Rock for rights

A Music for Human Rights concert was held at The Wall in Taipei on Saturday night. It was the last event in Amnesty International’s Small Places Tour. The tour to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights included hundreds of concerts around the world. The tour focused on small events in a variety of venues rather than stadiums. This was in order to reach out to a wider range of people and emphasize a grass roots approach to human rights activism. Continue reading