Fri, Jun 29, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Live Wire

By David Chen  /  Staff reporter

Indie pop band Echo plays tomorrow at A Rockable Day, an all-day rock fest at a tea farm outside of Taipei.

Courtesy of A Rockable Day

Taipei’s indie rock scene is flocking to the mountains tomorrow for A Rockable Day, a day-long festival featuring around 30 performers on five different stages.

It ain’t exactly Fuji Rock, but Rockable’s scenic nature locale sounds novel for a music festival — it takes place at Wenshan Farms (文山農場), a tea farm near Xindian (新店).

The line-up is loaded with a who’s who of Taiwanese indie bands. Echo (回聲樂團) and 1976 will surely draw their respective fans, while post-rockers Aphasia (阿飛西雅), garage rock favorites 88 Balaz (88顆芭樂籽), jazz-pop artist Paige Su (蘇珮卿) and Aboriginal singer-songwriter Panai (巴奈) round out a relatively diverse roster of performers. There will be a stage devoted to ukulele enthusiasts, with free classes throughout the day for those interested in learning the instrument.

Rockable is a DIY venture run by Cookie Chang (張嘉桁) and Wei Jun (魏駿) of the Taipei alt-rock band Bearbabes (熊寶貝樂團, which also enjoys a loyal following of its own).

Chang and Wei are valiantly taking on the challenge of holding a rock festival with limited resources. They have no sponsorship, but the two sound like they’re well-organized, and are backed by a sizable team of over 50 volunteers. Wei says the performers have generously agreed to play knowing that most of the ticket costs will go to covering the venue rental.

For Chang, the main appeal of A Rockable Day is simple: bands and their fans can get out of the city and have a “relaxing” time in the seclusion of nature.

“When you walk around, you feel like you’re so far from Taipei,” she told Live Wire in an interview earlier this week. And more importantly, getting there isn’t hard: the farm is a 15 to 20-minute bus ride from Xindian MRT Station (新店捷運站).

Unfortunately for those hoping to make a weekend out of it, camping won’t be allowed as the organizers only have use of the venue from morning to evening. The event is also a test of sorts for Wenshan Farms, which is more accustomed to holding tea-picking and tasting tours for tea aficionados than hosting a bunch of indie rock bands.

Chang and Wei are naturally hoping Rockable goes smoothly to ensure future opportunities for the festival at Wenshan Farms. To this end, they’re encouraging festival-goers to bring their own mugs and cups to minimize trash, not to mention to be mindful of and “cherish” the natural surroundings.

In addition to the music on five stages, there will be booths selling food and goods. The staff from Witch House (女巫店) will be selling beverages and barbecue and Kafka on The Shore (海邊的卡夫卡) will run an on-site cafe, while a few independent vendors will offer standard night market fare such as fried chicken and sausages. The performing bands will also run their own booths, where they can sell merchandise and hang out with fans. And Taiwanese tea enthusiasts are in luck: festival-goers will also be able to take free tours of the tea farms and can learn to how to pick tea leaves.

This being the great outdoors in Taiwan, attendees should make sure to bring mosquito spray and a good attitude if it rains. Rockable’s Web site also requests that festival-goers bring rain jackets instead of umbrellas, to avoid accidentally poking fellow audience members when watching the bands.

More details on the festival are available at rockable.com.tw, which is in Chinese only. See the side box for a roster of bands. Free shuttle buses run to the site (see below for details).

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