Fri, Apr 29, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Tainan prepares to jam, unless it rains

STAFF WRITER

Organizers of the Tainan May Jam (台南五月音樂季) are hoping the weather won't rain on its parade this weekend when the annual grassroots musical get-together sets up shop for one final bash at the Choumao Park (秋茂園) in the city's historical Anping District.

Since its inception in 1999 the event has been plagued by weather related misfortune and gained a reputation as the most rained-on outdoor music festival in Taiwan. Inclement weather has forced organizers to change the name of the festival three times over the past five years. What was initially known as the "July Jam," then became known as the "June Jam" and in 2003 the event was renamed for a third and final time and became the "May Jam."

"Originally we didn't want to hold the event so close to Spring Scream. We planned for it to be a mid-summer music festival, but every year the weather kept causing us problems," said event founder Axel Schunn. "Since we rescheduled the event for May we've had no problems with rain or typhoons, though, and last year we had our best ever turnout."

The Tainan May Jam will once again be offering audiences a smorgasbord of musical genres to enjoy over the two-day period. From heavy rock to jazz, from blues to punk and from wedding music and Bossa Nova, organizers have booked a wide range of bands with very contrasting sounds.

In all 29 acts are set to take the stage in Tainan this weekend and while the list is far too extensive to go into in any great detail some of the highlights will include performances by Tainan's long serving blues/rock combo Charlie Swiggs, the improvisational jazz/rock four-piece, the Jetlaggers, the acid-jazz artist Chekov, Brit-pop styled guitar rock combo Tsunami, the nu-metal band Jindowin and dance act Orenda.

Along with the bands, the Tainan May Jam will be showcasing the talents of a local all female cheerleading squad, which will be going through its highflying paces and, no doubt, causing a few heads to turn in the process. The event will also feature several more classically oriented musical acts as well a performance by a local theatrical troupe.

"There are no parameters to what types of performances can be staged at the Jam," said Schunn. "Some of it is professional and some of it is bad, but it really doesn't matter, as it's the variety of acts that is important."

Although the festival site is not an officially designated campsite those who do wish to pitch a tent and stay at the site overnight are, according to organizers, more than welcome. Would-be campers should be warned, however, that sanitation facilities are sparse.

Organizers are keeping their fingers crossed that this year's event will beat the odds and prove to be a sun-drenched success, but regardless of the outcome this is the last time the event will be free and staged at the remote and amenity sparse Choumao Park. According to Schunn, from next year the Tainan May Jam will be held in a seaside resort north of Tainan.

If rain does force organizers to cancel this weekend's event, then the Tainan Jam will take place on Sunday, May 8. For a full band schedule, further information and any last minute rescheduling due to inclement weather checkout the May Jam website at: www2.eecs.stut.edu.tw/~charlie.

Performance notes:

What: Tainan May Jam (台南五月音樂季)

Where: Tainan City, Anping District, Choumao Yuan.

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