By the time you read this, Oluanpi Lighthouse National Park (鵝鑾鼻燈塔公園) near Kenting will be echoing with the sound of clanging metal as the finishing touches are put on stages and vendors set up their stands.
Two-hundred acts will play seven stages over the next four days at Spring Scream. Now in its 17th year, the music fest is a party of the people, by the people, for the people.
Spring Scream launched an online voting system to pick the festival’s lineup in 2009.
“I love giving the fans a voice — we’re the only show I can think of where the people coming get to choose who can play,” said cofounder Jimi Moe in an interview last week. “It’s exciting how well the application system is working.”
It was reaffirming for him and partner Wade Davis (who plays in three bands that perform this weekend) to find the online voting meshed with their own preferences, he said.
In the beginning, it was easy to choose the performers — 15 bands were invited to play (basically everyone the organizers knew) — and 200 people showed up. A decade ago the crowd had grown to 1,000, with 70 bands, again all by invite. After that, an application process was instituted and organizers spent hours listening to demos one by one. Five years ago the organizers received 400 CDs and whittled the applications down to 150 bands for the 2,000 festivalgoers that attended. Last year, 5,000 showed up.
Moe said the quality of the music at this year’s festival comes from the number of demos received — more than 580, almost 80 more than last year.
Groups have adapted to the submission process, and are more comfortable uploading MP3s to Indievox than mailing in a demo. “The industry is shifting away [from CDs],” Moe said. “Everything is online, YouTube-based, Internet friendly.”
This year, expect a variety of genres on each stage, instead of the divisions of previous years. There will be alternating expat, international and Taiwanese acts, with diverse styles including rock and rap, hip-hop and bebop, punk and funk, emo and hard-core, pop and alternative, electro and a cappella. Check the Spring Scream Web site (www.springscream.com) for a full schedule.
The stages will be concentrated at the southernmost part of the park, with the DJ stage in the center, a setup that garnered widespread approval and support last year as it made it possible to jump from stage to stage to catch all the bands. There will also be a stage in the campground featuring softer music during the day, and Urban Nomad will have a screening area set up for short films and documentaries.
The camping area will be extended to provide more room than last year, with food and drink vendors situated along the seaside edge. Although electricity will not be provided, areas to charge electronic devices will be set up.
Environmental concerns rank high this year, and a special Spring Scream smartphone app is available to provide festival information and schedules to reduce paper waste. The organizers have worked on making this a “green Scream” with an interactive art project that is intended to encourage people to use recycled materials to make art.
To deal with waste, they’re trying an experimental composting center, and the water for the campground showers will be heated using solar power. Free water refills will be available at the information booth, alongside donation boxes for various causes, with the proceeds going to the victims of Japan’s recent natural disasters, Worldbike.org and local coral reef protection efforts, among others. “I want people to feel good about [donating], not guilted into it,” said Moe. “They can use their pocket change and learn a bit about the causes.”
Various new activities are planned, including forums where people can ask Spring Scream staff questions.
After the bands finish and people head back to the campground, Moe plans to hold a story-time hour during which people can share their tales. “In this world of the Internet … it’s nice to have something personal,” he said.
Moe said he has always been a big fan of the late night Spring Scream campground scene: “You get so many people having a great day, then they sit around talking about it, laughing, sharing — there’s nothing like an after-party after a great party.”