This week's blog entry comes courtesy of guest blogger Gina Song Lopez, who was with us at Spring Scream. She wrote a piece in Spanish (Read here )about the event and kindly translated to English for this blog entry. Thanks Gina!
Spring Scream is one of the major music and alternative culture festivals in Taiwan. It takes place in Kenting and its organized every year in early April. Since its humble beginnings in 1995, the Spring Scream is already running for its 19th year.
In the year of the Sneaky Snake, the Spring Scream was from the 3rd to the 7th of April, it featured 6 stages, 2 DJ dance floors, and performances from more than 250 national and international artists. An excellent sample of the alternative scene in the region, and an event to attend to if you around this side of the world.
Up next, a brief review of the event. Due to meteorological circumstances (heavy rains fell upon us), this article only covers April 5th.
For the last few years, the Spring Scream its organized around the Erluanbi Lighthouse inside the Kenting National Park area. In order to reach the festival and the different stages divided into two main sectors, it is necessary to take a few strolls through forest paths. Quite the boy scout experience and definitely something that added to the event’s environment. Relaxed, friendly, and surrounded by nature. What is more, due to the limited camping space, only bands, staff and vendors were allowed to camp in site. Thus creating a sort of isolated artistic community for the length of the event.
In regards to the music, the Spring Scream featured quite an eclectic mix of styles. From Indie Pop to Heavy Metal. In short, something for all tastes and sectors of urban culture. This was something I was quite happy about since it allowed me to know more local bands, which is something that I have been trying to do since I got to Taiwan.
Among the bands that played on April 5th we could find: Taiwanese bands such as Trash, Skaraoke, X.O.X.O, Gonzo and 88 Guava Seedz (88 Balaz). Expat lead bands such as Liger Attack, Acid Blind Date and Kid Millionaire. And, regional/international bands such as Ken South Rock from U.S./Japan. From these, it is worth to highlight: TRASH, because they gave a really good show and their music is quite melodic yet strident. GONZO, an all girl band that definitely know how to rock and well. 100% Grrrl aproved. LIGER ATTACK, that with the energy of their music and the way they perform theirs shows could power a whole city. They are already getting local press attention. Finally, 88 Balaz that are veterans in the scene for a reason. This was their 17th year at the Spring Scream.
On sound and technical aspects, the bands that I got to watch perform sounded well. The stage size and the relaxed environment aided the interaction between performers and the public. There was quite a lot of crowd surfing, and band give aways like shirts or even socks. In addition to the musical acts, there was online streaming from bands outside Taiwan through Skype, artcrafts fair, merchandise and art. There was also some side shows or improvised acts, fire dancers that seemed out of Avatar, and story telling session later at night.
On the other hand, while the wide musical variety is welcomed, 6 stages + 2 DJs playing at the same time did not turn out too well. For the bands whose set clashed, this created a competitive environment, and honestly, the DJs were an overkill. The event organisation also presented a few issues. The relatively isolated location and the ticket price disencouraged many from attending the festival. The chip wrist-band payment system bothered both the public and sellers, and the fact that the webpage was incomplete by the time of the festival is something to note. In spite of all of these details, the Spring Scream was aquite a unique experiece.
Finally, when we think about the music scene in East Asia, what probably comes to mind is Gangnam Style, super dance-pop groups or JRock (thanks to anime openings). Taiwan, with its small size, complex international status and overall preference for mainstream-pop does not figure much in the world of Rock. This is why the Spring Scream is a small jewel from the regional scene and a great opportunity to know more artists that are not a product of autotune.
88 Guava Seedz
Ken South Rock
Acid Blind Date
To see more of my photos of events in Taiwan, please visit http://imagesbykenny.com/