Music: All grown up

Mayday, Sodagreen and The Chairman are among the groups lined up to play at Ho-Hai-Yan, a five-day rock ‘n’ roll music festival that begins on Wednesday

By Enru Lin  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jul 06, 2013 - Page 12

Live video streaming is coming to the Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival (貢寮國際海洋音樂), a music event at New Taipei City’s (新北市) Fulong Beach (福隆海灘) that organizers say drew over 80,000 revelers in July of last year. This year, all performances will be streamed live, the highlights of which will be released the day after on YouTube.

The scheme might convince a few fans to stay home and out of the heat. And maybe that’s partially the point.

“We think the turnout will be enormous, and it’s posing a logistical challenge. We’re still trying to work out the details with the transportation bureau,” said Charles Chang (章世政), an official with the New Taipei City Government which has financed the festival since its inception.

Ho-Hai-Yan was launched in 2000 as a one-day affair with a juried competition and Hot Wave Open Stage for up-and-coming acts. Officials hoped that it would eventually become a machine that produces big, real-deal stars.

The main-stage closer is Sodagreen (蘇打綠), a popular indie band that played the Hot Wave Open Stage in 2003, and graduated to the Big Blue Major Stage in 2004 when it won the festival’s Grand Jury Award. Shortly after, Sodagreen signed with a music label and rose to mainstream popularity, becoming the first indie band to play at the Taipei Arena.

“In 2003 we were only thinking, Fulong is a pretty great beach — let’s go and sun a little, check out the other bands,” said bassist Claire Xie (謝馨儀).

The festival also sees sets by Silence (沉默之音), La Petit Nurse (小護士), nu-metal band Wavelight (波光折返) and other acts that got their first major exposure at Fulong Beach.

Successes like these could get easier and easier to replicate, according to Chang.

“In Taiwan — and even in China — Ho-Hai-Yan is known as a transformative competition. There’s the huge audience exposure. And it’s not like Million Star (超級星光大道), where contestants perform covers. Here the bands make original music. A band’s originality is what could make them a success,” he said.

“Today Taiwan has this platform, and others, for aspiring rockers. There’s a good system in place,” he said.

The 2013 Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival sees international acts and Taiwan’s Mayday on Wednesday; local rock ‘n’ roll outfits like The Chairman (董事長樂團) on Thursday; all-women bands from the Asia-Pacific region on Friday; local indie bands in competition on Saturday; and returning festival performers on Sunday.