Fri, Oct 03, 2008 - Page 14 News List

Rockin’ responsibly at Earthfest

By David Chen

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The organizers of Peacefest, the annual anti-war music festival in Taoyuan County started by a group of expats, are shifting their attention to the environment.

Held in collaboration with local activists, Earthfest is a weekend of live music in the scenic forest area of Kunlun Herb Gardens in Taoyuan County, which starts next Friday. More than 40 bands and DJs, both expat and Taiwanese, will be performing, and proceeds will go to several of the country’s non-profit environmental groups.

Given the locale and people involved, the event will likely feel a lot like Peacefest, but the theme has a more practical bent. “Peacefest is more about ‘why,’ and Earthfest is the ‘how’ … how to actually do something positive for the environment,” says Sean Wratt, one of the organizers.

The festival aims to put green ideals into practice. All stage equipment and lighting for the music will be powered by bio-diesel fuel made from recycled cooking oil. Organizers are trying to arrange workshops on solar-powered cooking, organic farming and composting. The roving art fair and market Campo will sell environmentally friendly products at the event.

The organizers have also applied the concept of sustainability to financing the festival. Earthfest operates as a non-profit organization that pays its workers, whereas Peacefest relies solely on volunteers.

But Earthfest workers get paid only if the festival turns a profit; if the festival loses money, the workers have to fork out themselves. And to ensure that charities receive a robust share of the revenues, there is a limit on how much they can earn.

This system aims to create a “sense of financial responsibility” among workers while ensuring “their hearts are in the right place,” according to a document posted on Earthfest’s Web site.

FESTIVAL NOTES

WHAT: Earthfest 2008 (地球藝術節)

WHERE: Kunlun Herb Plant Tourism Garden (崑崙藥用植物園), 8-2, 1st Neighborhood, Kaoping Village, Lungtan Township, Taoyuan County (桃園縣龍潭鄉高平村1鄰8-2號)

WHEN: From Oct. 10, 4pm, to Oct. 12, 6pm

ON THE NET: www.earthfest.tw

TICKETS: NT$700, NT$600 with flyer (available in Taipei City at The Wall, VU Live House, Witch House and Underworld; in Kaohsiung City at ATT; and in Taichung City at Emerge Live House, 89K and the Pigpen)

GETTING THERE:If you are driving, take the National Highway No. 3 to the Lungtan Interchange and follow the brown signs to Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) for 7km. Turn right where Provincial Highway 4 meets Provincial Highway 3, and follow the signs to Kunlun Herb Gardens.

There are buses to Lungtan (NT$65) from the Guokuang (國光) bus depot near Taipei Main Station; the Yalan (亞聯) bus stops on Renai Road (仁愛路), Xinsheng South Road (新生南路) and in front of Gongguan MRT station (NT$90); the Tailien (台聯) bus can be caught at Sungshan Airport and the Zhonggxiao-Dunhua MRT station. From Lungtan you can get taxis up to the garden


The event is a good opportunity to bring like-minded people together, says Calvin Wen (溫炳原) of the Taiwan Friends of the Global Greens (全球綠人台灣之友), a Taipei-based environmental advocacy group that helped organize the festival.

Wen’s group will run a booth at Earthfest to publicize its work, which includes organizing local rallies for this year’s Global Day of Action on Dec. 6, scheduled to coincide with the UN’s annual meeting on climate change.

Other NGOs aim to raise public awareness of local issues including nuclear waste and the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and the conservation of the Chinese White Dolphin along Taiwan’s west coast.

Bands appearing at Earthfest include a long list of crowd-pleasers and Peacefest regulars: Mister Green and Highway 9; Militant Hippi; and the Money Shot Horns.

Prominent Taiwanese acts include punk-garage rockers 88 Balaz (八十八顆芭樂籽), traditional Taiwanese hip-hop outfit Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤), and nu-metal funk rockers Coach. On the electronic music front, S.U.N. Project and DJ Marco Menichelli will be visiting from Germany.

Both camping accommodations and onsite hotel rooms are available. Visit the Earthfest Web site for details.

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