Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Live Wire: Is this the end of Roxy 99?

By David Frazier  /  Contributing reporter

Back to The Wall, briefly. Orbis Fu became manager of The Wall live house eight years ago, before rising to become CEO of The Wall Music. Under his tenure, business has expanded to include two of Taiwan’s largest music festivals (Formoz and Megaport), branch venues in Greater Kaohsiung and Yilan, an arm for artist management, a promotional division that brings a steady lineup of major international acts, and government contracts for the Taiwan showcase at SXSW and other events. He also instituted a Japanese-style pay-to-play system, which some local bands resent, viewing The Wall as a sort of landlord over Taipei’s indie scene to which they have to pay unjustifiably high rent.

Two weeks ago, Fu, who is also a shareholder in The Wall, announced on Facebook that he had been “fired” and would be leaving. The problem, said several sources at The Wall, resulted from major differences over financial management. Negotiations with other shareholders followed, and in the end, Fu stays while the three original founders take an exit.

A popular rumor among the band scene is that the internal disagreement came to a head on account of financial losses incurred by the Formoz Festival, but investors, both remaining and departing, say this is incorrect.

“It was not because Formoz lost money. Formoz did lose money, but not a lot. The difference of opinion was more about the long-term view of where The Wall is heading,” said Gary Chiang (江季剛), one of the remaining shareholders. (Note: This new information contradicts an earlier statement by Fu, who told the Taipei Times he expected the Formoz Festival to break even.)

“All the shareholders were very happy with Formoz. We were just too busy with the festival to have the shareholders’ meeting until it was over,” said Chiang.

As for the differing visions, Fu is looking to grow the business aggressively, possibly more than some felt prudent. That has already been the case for some time now and, though the recent changes could be considered a shakeup, the real result is that business at The Wall will hardly change.

The Park grand opening with guests 88 Balaz (八十八顆芭樂籽), Skaraoke, Destroyers (擊沈女孩), P!SCO and IGU Band (那我懂你意思了); tonight from 7:30pm to 11pm at B1, 27, Fuxing S Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市復興南路二段27號B1). Free entry.

Roxy 99 new location grand opening, Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, B2, 27, Fuxing S Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市復興南路二段27號B2). NT$400 includes one drink, or free with invitation.

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