Fri, Aug 05, 2005 - Page 13 News List

Rain stops play at Ho-Hai-Yan

The annual rock festival at Fulong in Taipei County was canceled two weeks ago because of a typhoon and it looks like happening again

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

Beach babes were heading home from Fulong after the rains started.

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES

First it was going to happen, and then it wasn't going to happen until later, then it did happen for a bit, and now it's canceled -- but only for now. The annual Ho-Hai-Yan beachside brouhaha (海洋音樂祭2005) got off to a start at Fulong (福隆) on Wednesday, two weeks after the original scheduled date and despite a host of problems, the last of which was a thundershower, the precursor of another typhoon.

Organizers were forced to cancel performances for last night and tonight. And as of press time last night, the official word was "wait and see" about shows scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday.

At least a fortunate few made it out on Wednesday for some five hours of live music that was originally supposed to last five days. A late afternoon rainstorm threatened to have the modest crowd head for home, but by 6pm, the rain had subsided, the bands had plugged in and the beach was booming.

The beach itself figured prominently in the proceedings even before the party began. Long Taipei County's most popular beach, Fulong has in recent years been the site of substantial development built to accommodate weekend crowds. The scene here changed last year when the beach disappeared as a result of tidal changes caused by the construction of a wharf to service the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

When organizers began planning this year's Fulong festival, there wasn't much of a beach on which to put it. Indeed, the bridge that is the site's centerpiece led out to open water only weeks ago, according to organizers.

But any thought Wednesday night's partygoers might have had of wading out to the man-made peninsula was cut short at the tape lining the water's edge and by the guards standing sentry to prevent any would-be wading.

One concertgoer said that police were being overzealous and mentioned another beach party she attended at Baishawan two weeks ago, where police had also cordoned off the water.

"I don't understand the point of having [concerts and parties] at the beach if the police won't let you even get your feet wet," she said.

Later a voice announced that MC Hotdog was about to play and partygoers stopped messing about in the sand and sidled up to the front of the Big Blue stage.

Anyone who wasn't on their feet for his first number was for his second, I Love Taiwanese Girls (我愛台妹). Later, he got substantial help from cohort Da Zhi (大支), who got the crowd going with his first number, a Taiwanese rap title with a bumping bass line.

"Why isn't Da Zhi more popular than MC Hotdog?" was one comment overheard. "He's so cool."

"He's so song!" was her friend's answer. Maybe a bit too "crude."

That's never stopped a hip-hop artist before.

Back on the main beach, a laundry list of smaller-name bands did their best to battle against the cacophony of sound coming from the main stage. With only their friends and family to block the noise, it was a losing battle.

Despite the first typhoon that postponed the festival, most of the international headliners were still able to play on the new dates. Only Canadian rapper Peaches had to bow out. Organizers made no mention of again rescheduling international acts, including Vincent Gallo, Melissa auf der Maur, Japan's Boom Boom Satellites, Baseball from Australia and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club from the US.

Visit http://hohaiyan.com/2005.htm for the latest on cancellations and rescheduling.

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