Ten years since its inception, the Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival (台北縣貢寮國際海洋音樂祭), which starts tomorrow, looks as big as ever.
What began as a modest gathering of a handful of local indie bands has grown into a mammoth annual outdoor event at Taipei County’s Fulong Beach (福隆海灘).
The free three-day festival is known these days as a summer mecca for Taiwanese teenagers and college students celebrating the beginning of the school holidays.
And the crowds keep growing. The number of visitors to Ho-Hai-Yan has increased every year, according to the Taipei County Government, the festival sponsor. A spokesperson said attendance is expected to reach 600,000 people over three days, building on last year’s record number of 510,000.
Needless to say, the event will be anything but a quiet beach escape, with an imposing, stadium-grade stage plopped along the oceanside, hundreds of stalls selling food and beverages, and beach games.
This year’s Ho-Hai-Yan, the theme of which is “The Rock Age,” boasts its most high-profile mainstream acts ever, with R ’n’ B and hip-hop artist Stanley Huang (黃立行) performing tomorrow night and pop diva A-mei (阿妹) closing the festival on Sunday night as her alter-ego, A-mit (阿密特).
It would have been difficult to imagine such headliners several years ago, when festival founder Taiwan Colors Music (TCM,角頭音樂), a long-running indie label, was co-organizing the event. Handling this year’s event is Transworld TV Production Co (映畫製作).
TCM, which failed to win this year’s open-bid contract to organize and run the festival, has organized nearly all of the past Ho-Hai-Yan festivals, and helped book performers like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in 2004 and Chinese rock legend Cui Jian (崔健) in 2007.
What: Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival (福隆海灘)
When: Tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday
Where: Fulong Beach, Taipei County
On the Net: www.hohaiyan.tw
Main stage schedule
4:20pm Wonfu (旺福)
5pm Soler (Macao)
5:55pm Estranged (Malaysia)
6:50pm The Super VC (果味VC, China)
7:45pm Electrico (Singapore)
8:40pm My Little Airport (Hong Kong)
9:35pm Stanley Huang (黃立行)
Saturday (Taiwan Indie Music Awards Competition)
3:10pm Buyi (布衣樂團, China
3:40pm Daximen (大囍門)
4:40pm Miss Dessy
5:10pm Soundboss (騷包)
6:10pm PB33 (陪伴珊珊, China,
6:40pm Miaoji Gongdehui (喵濟功德會)
7:10pm La Petit Nurse (小護士)
7:40pm Iron Banana (鐵香蕉)
8:40pm Matzka and DeHot
9:15pm The White Eyes (白目樂團, last year’s
9:45pm Announcement of winners
10pm Encore performance from winner
Taiwan Indie Music Awards competitors: Neon, Full House, Matzka and DeHot, Iron Banana (鐵香蕉), Daximen (大囍門), La Petit Nurse (小護士), Miss Dessy, Overdose, and Soundboss (騷包) and Miaoji Gongdehui (喵濟功德會)
4:30pm Zenkwun (神棍樂團)
5:10pm Pa Pun (怕胖樂團)
5:55pm VHS or Beta (US)
6:45pm Fumido (風味堂, Japan)
7:30pm Tahiti 80 (France)
8:20pm Classiquai (酷賴之味, South Korea)
9:10pm Amit (阿密特, Taiwan)
For a list of the bands on the smaller stage, visit the festival Web site at www.hohaiyan.tw
But the label still played a small role in this year’s event. It worked on behalf of the Taipei County Government to bring several bands from China, chosen in a battle of the bands competition in Beijing.
Two winners from the competition take
to the stage on Saturday: PB33 (陪伴珊珊)
mixes punk and electronica, and Buyi Band (布衣樂隊) is a rock group that uses Chinese
Ho-Hai-Yan is keeping the spotlight on up-and-coming groups with its battle of the bands competition on Saturday. Ten out of 30 Taiwan-based bands qualified in tryouts last month, and perform Saturday for a panel of judges on the main stage. The winner receives a check for NT$200,000, while second and third-place bands each receive NT$50,000. Winners of past competitions include popular indie groups Tizzy Bac, 88 Balaz (88顆芭樂籽) and Sodagreen (蘇打綠).
Sunday’s lineup features the festival’s A-list performers. One standout is VHS or Beta, a band from Louisville, Kentucky, that combines disco, new wave and rock.
The other groups also complement the beachside setting: France’s Tahiti 80 plays upbeat neo-60s pop; Japan’s Fumida plays J-pop mixed with rock and soul; South Korea’s Clazziquai are an acid-jazz and soul group not unlike their namesake, Jamiroquai.
Of course, many are going to Ho-Hai-Yan just for the beach party atmosphere, which Taipei County appears to be trying to tone down. There was a minor media hullabaloo last week as rumors swirled that alcohol and C-strings, a type of thong bikini, were going to be banned.
But at a press conference, Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) said authorities would “not bug people” about