Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 15 News List

FTV wins the battle of the rock festivals

By Ron Brownlow  /  STAFF REPORTER

Festivals like Hohaiyan are big business and provide great publicity for their organizers, not to mention the officials who take credit, rightly or wrongly, for their success.

TCM received NT$22 million in support from corporate sponsors for this year's festival. The government tender, which FTV won this year, was worth NT$20 million. That's significantly more than the NT$2.5 million in government money TCM received for the first Hohaiyan festival.

When asked why the government chose a large media company to organize an event designed to promote indie music talent, Deputy Taipei County Commissioner Tsen Tsan-pao (曾參寶) said FTV was chosen by a panel of officials and independent experts because “it had a better plan.”

Tsen, who was interviewed after Tuesday's press conference, said FTV provided coverage of last year's Hohaiyan festival and could do a better job of managing the event and working with advertisers, he added. “It's only the organizer. The festival remains the same.”

A FTV spokesman, also interviewed after the press conference, said that his company planned to invest 20 percent of the profits from this year's festival in a rock ‘n’ roll museum for Fulong.

He shrugged off suggestions that the festival would lose its creative edge. “We will remain true to the spirit of the festival,” he said.

On Tuesday Chang said he was going ahead with his own festival because he had an obligation to the bands he signed up.

“I want to make this festival for the people, not the government,” he said. “Even if we lose money this year, we have to make this first step.”

He stressed repeatedly that he had no quarrel with Taipei County or Gongliao Township. However, he criticized the government-run bidding process, which selects an organizer only two months before Hohaiyan starts.

“You need to plan a year ahead to see that a festival like this is done properly,” he said. “If we go through the government tender process, we will always only have two months to prepare. This makes running the festival a business and distracts from its original spirit.”

A TCM spokesman said the record label would compete for the government bid to be the organizer of next year's festival.

The FTV festival next week will be free. Those who have purchased tickets for TCM's festival can apply for a refund at the point of purchase.

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