Spring Scream cofounder Jimi Moe’s greatest hope for the festival, now in its 18th year, is that music fans “come ready to play.”
“Bring costumes, your best freak clothes, cosplay, a hockey uniform,” he said. “This is not another day at the office or at home on your couch. Get into the skin of your alter ego.”
But he’d also like you to bring your own water bottle and a sense of environmental responsibility.
“Green is a funny thing,” said Moe in response to an interview question about the eco-friendly behavior the music festival is promoting this year. “It’s always good to try to live better and make wise choices — if everyone makes wise choices, then companies that make decisions will be encouraged to give us wise options.”
Spring Scream draws crowds of between 6,000 to 8,000 people to the south of Taiwan each year to hear about 200 bands perform. This year, performances start at noon on Wednesday and end at 9:30pm on Sunday, with a band and DJ stage set up in the campground during the week. Four more band stages and one more DJ stage will be added to the site in Oluanpi Lighthouse National Park (鵝鑾鼻燈塔公園) for the weekend.
Last year food stalls were banned from using plastic plates and bags, and “factory-consumer-produced items” (like drink boxes) to try to cut down on the amount of waste. The policy was expanded upon this year with the provision of “real ceramic plates to dine on and give back to someone else to wash,” said Moe. “[The aim is] to improve the campground dining experience, and get away from the ease of the disposable, so you feel like you are doing your part just by throwing garbage away.”
There is also a reusable food container and chopstick set engraved with the Spring Scream logo, which is available for sale on the festival’s Web site (www.springscream.com), and a food-scrap composting area.
Moe is wary of green-washing or trying to appear green by making surface changes.
“The real issue,” he said, “is trying to do better to remind people to do better with us collectively, in part by asking people [via the Web site] to make an effort to take public transport to the event or at least carpool.”
Festivalgoers are encouraged to reject handbills and flyers (or read them and give them back) and take advantage of the free on-site WiFi and 3G Internet connection to check band schedules online and reduce paper waste.
The showers at the campground are heated with solar panels, and the dining and Urban Nomad film-screening area was built out of found driftwood (see story on the upcoming Urban Nomad film festival in next Friday’s edition of Around Town).
The campground, a lovely grassy area encircled by trees, is also the entrance to the event, with most of the food stalls set up inside. Moe’s favorite part of the festival takes place after hours within the camping area when a mic is set up and people are encouraged to join a story-time spoken-word session.
“So much [of the festival] is high intensity,” he said. “So many bands to see and people to talk to. I enjoy the occasional slow times to see people, give a few hugs and have short conversations, hear about what I missed during the day or last year and see things through their eyes. My only hang-out time is after the music stops and in the early morning before the regime starts again.”
In past years, the live music festival (which ends nightly at 1am) has been lumped together in news stories with the all-night raves that have sprung up around Kenting.