Get ready to "Scream." Or should we say "squeal"?
The Spring Scream Double Pig 2007 (春天吶喊豬豬年) music festival, which starts this Thursday, attracts musicians and fans from around the world to the Kenting area for three days of sun, fun and rock 'n' roll. Taiwan has no shortage of outdoor music festivals, but for purists this is the most eagerly anticipated.
Spring Scream is always a party, even though Taiwan's music industry has had little to sing about in recent years. In 2006, overall album sales volumes were down 34 percent year on year, and industry employment has fallen 30 percent since 1999, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
But Spring Scream has been going strong. As many as 230 bands, including some 40 groups from overseas, have signed up to participate in this year's event. Organizers are expecting daily attendance figures of 5,000 or more.
Drawing on Spring Scream's cache but run by a variety of different and non-related organizers is a slew of electronic dance music and hip-hop parties running simultaneously in the Kenting area. For coverage of these events, see today's article on the hip-hop oriented Spring Wave events and a rundown of the electronic dance music parties in the Vinyl Word on page 15.
Although the latter events are not connected with Spring Scream, Chinese-language media tend to lump them together. The distinction is important, however, as in recent years the dance parties have attracted heavy police attention and raids netting arrests of drug users and dealers, while Spring Scream has remained free of such trouble.
Some estimates say the total migration to what is collectively known as Kenting Spring Weekend could be as high as 100,000 or even 200,000 people.
It's the same, but different
This year Spring Scream has undertaken a major expansion, leaving its longstanding base at Liufu Ranch (六福山莊) and moving to two separate locations more than 20km apart, at Kentington (小墾丁) in Manjchou Township (滿州鄉) and Erluanpi National Park (鵝鑾鼻公園). (For useful information, including band bios and links to their music, log on at www.springscream.com).
The new format looks complicated, but it isn't. Think of Spring Scream Double Pig as two separate events with two different crowds: Manchou is where most of the bands — especially the expat and foreign groups — will play, while more established Taiwanese acts like the Brit-pop oriented 1976 and indie songstress Deserts Chang (張懸) have been booked for Erluanpi. A few bands, notably Austin, Texas-based World Music ensemble Atash, will play both venues.
"We're experimenting with bigger Taiwanese acts over [in Erluanpi] to get the crowd off the Kenting streets," said Spring Scream cofounder Wade Davis. "Manchou is where you go to see your local [Taiwanese] indie group." It's also where the Japanese bands will be playing, as well as foreign indie acts like California hipster muses Mates of State and instrumental space dance quartet The Octopus Project out of Austin, Texas.
In other words, if you liked the old Spring Scream — or at least the way things have been developing over the past few years — you will go to the Manchou venue and probably not leave. There, you will find six stages for live music, food vendors, campsites and cabins for rent. But make reservations now, as spots for cabins and campsites are limited and filling up fast. (See the fact box on Page 14 for more information.)