Fri, Jul 27, 2012 - Page 11 News List

The Vinyl Word

By Queen Bee  /  Contributing reporter

There is always plenty of installation art at Earthfest.

photo Courtesy of Doong Azul

As there have been fewer and fewer promoters throwing outdoor parties in recent years, it’s a blessing that we can still come across an event that’s totally non-commercial and organized by music-loving people who are committed to underground culture, and best of all, taking place in natural surroundings. That’s the reason why we give much credit to the hard work by Blaine and Monica, the scientist/artist couple who have been the brains of Earthfest, a three-day electronic dance music and art festival at Kunlun Herb Gardens.

“The First Earthfest was in 2008, though the first outdoor party we did was Space-Dance, the first ever party to be held at Kunlun in 2002,” Blaine recalls. Rather than throwing the kind of parties with big advertising campaigns and “Top100” international DJ lineup to draw bigger crowds and get a totally different vibe, Blaine and his team has insisted on upholding their mission of promoting a non-commercial party culture, where the music and vibe come first, and ‘breaking even’ is a bonus.

“I wanted to get the young people outdoors and in a commercial free environment,” explains Blaine. “I’d been the guy underwriting all the financial costs of putting on Peacefest and my wife and I were doing most of the organizing for it. When the costs and therefore risks started to escalate, I found that none of the other original Peacefest crew were willing to share the financial risks. So I decided to see if we could create an event which was completely free of sponsorship and non-profit making, concentrating purely on the music and art, and keeping the vibe as friendly as possible.”

The venue — Kunlun Herb Gardens — is like no other in Taiwan. It is located on a beautiful secluded hill in the countryside of Taoyuan County, and for most people, getting there requires quite a bit of traveling. But because of the inconveniency, those who’ve made it to the parties there have always been real hard-core underground music supporters. Over the years Kunlun has made a name for itself as being a sanctuary for the ravers/party-goers who believe that a “music festival should be a journey” and adhere to PLUR principles. However, there’s been a buzz about this being the last Earthfest there and Blaine confirms that it’s true. “The owner of Kunlun has been trying to sell it for the past few years and he has now leased it out,” he says.

“This time we will have two stages (each with its own proper sound system), with one dedicated to psytrance and the other to all our other favorite genres,” Blaine told Taipei Times. “We will be giving our festival’s beautiful home for the past few years a send-off that will live long in the memories of all who join us. We’ll be putting all our decor plans for the year into this one finale. There will be lasers and projectors, fire dancers and jugglers, and lots and lots of installation art.” And on top of everything, a total of 55 DJ’s will be spinning over 20 different kinds of underground dance music non-stop over 41 hours to ensure that everyone can dance until they drop!

The festival will start at 7pm this evening (Friday, the 27th) and go on till Sunday 1pm.

Kunlun Herb Gardens (崑崙藥用植物園) is at: 8-2, Neighborhood 1, Kaopin Village, Longtan Township, Taoyuan (桃園縣龍潭鄉高平村一鄰8-2號)

Tickets (3-day pass): NT$1,100 NT

Accommodation: There’s free camping at the site and there are motels within a NT$200NT taxi-ride.

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