Last year’s closure of an estimated 150 to 200 bars, restaurants and live music establishments in Taichung, including 89K, Fubar and Retro Cafe, left many indie musicians with limited options for venues to play at. But the city’s cultural scene will welcome a new addition this weekend, albeit a temporary one. The Compass Taichung International Food and Music Festival takes place there tomorrow and Sunday.
“Basically since a few official government stooges ruined Taichung’s nightlife, The Food Fest is one of few sporadic oases in an otherwise crying town that has had its heart and soul replaced by doggy day cares and hair salons,” said Taichung-based musician Erin King, who will be performing with his psych rock group Moss at the event. “It’s outdoors, which is always nice, centrally located, so it’s pretty much a no-brainer regarding how you’re going to spend your Saturday and Sunday.”
It is the ninth annual event for Compass, a bilingual monthly magazine that covers cultural events in central Taiwan. The first festival, in 2004, marked the magazine’s 10-year anniversary.
Expect this year to be bigger than ever as a second event, the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) Festival, organized by the iSee Taiwan Foundation and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, will be held in conjunction with the Compass festival to promote Central Taiwan’s dining and arts scene and cultural attractions.
The combined festival includes more than 100 vendor booths offering a range of international and local foods and handicrafts.
There will be two stages; the Compass one will host 16 bands and artists while the LOHAS stage will focus on performances of jazz, traditional Chinese music, Japanese drumming and Aboriginal dancing.
WHAT: Compass Taichung International Food and Music Festival
WHEN: Tomorrow and Sunday from 1pm to 9:30pm
WHERE: Art Museum Parkway, Greater Taichung (台中市美術綠園道), between Wucyuan West 3rd Street (五權西三街) and Wucyuan West 4th Street (五權西四街) and Wucyuan 5th Street (五權五街) and Wucyuan 7th Street (五權七街)
ON THE NET: www.taiwanfun.com
The Compass lineup has several acts returning from last year’s festival playing live music between 1pm and 9pm each day, including the Refuge’s collective of artists, Native Space, Nick Fothergill, Moss, live hip-hop and funk outfit Dr Reniculous Lipz and the Skallyunz and rock-a-billy-esque band The Ever So Friendlies.
Also playing this year is popular Taipei-based reggae band High Tide, and Aurora, whose lineup includes two of Taichung’s best expat musicians — Pete Holmes and Spring Scream cofounder Wade Davis, who is also in Dr Reniculous Lipz and the Skallyunz, on drums and bass, respectively, and Sean Luo on electric banjo.
Rounding out the roster is new band Hell Bent Angels, which plays country-folk rock.
The Animal Friends parade begins at 2pm on Sunday. Pet owners are encouraged to meet behind the Compass stage at 1:30pm and make a circuit of the parkway back to the stage where prizes will be awarded to the most creatively costumed owners and pets.