Taking Luvstock

Bands, fans and hordes of hippies will descend on The Refuge in Taichung this weekend for what’s being billed as the largest independent music event in Taiwan

By Rachel McPhail  /  Contributing reporter

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 - Page 12

From its humble beginnings barely a decade ago as a birthday party music jam in a front yard, Luvstock has grown over the years into a full-scale summertime festival complete with food vendors, fire spinners, tie-dye sellers, a drum-making workshop and two stages featuring DJs, bands, acoustic acts and spoken word performances. The three-day event, which drew over two thousand attendees last year, is held at popular Taichung venue The Refuge, located on the grounds of Dong Shan Paradise (東山樂園), an abandoned amusement park about 30 minutes outside the city.

According to head organizer (and original birthday boy) Paul Davies, Luvstock is one of the very few large arts events on the island that’s not backed by a corporate sponsor or government agency. The festival relies on a small army of volunteers for everything from sifting through band applications to weed-whacking acre upon acre of head-high marsh grass.

“There are almost 70 volunteers this year, but when all is said and done, there are many in The Refuge community who devote a lot of time and resources to making Luvstock happen,” Davies said.

Although much of the actual physical planning doesn’t start until March or April, organizers and volunteers are hard at work on Luvstock throughout the entire year. “Preparation is on-going,” said Davies who is better known around Taichung as Boston Paul. “We’re always looking for ... volunteers ... listening to new ideas, and scoping out up-and-coming bands.”

Bands are definitely a major draw at Luvstock, and many musicians enjoy playing the festival. “We’re really excited to be playing again this year,” said Andy Goode, front man for popular Taichung band Peaks. “Last year’s Luvstock had the best sound we’ve ever had as a band. The sound team do an excellent job, and the sound coming off the stage was immense. And this year we’re lucky to have a prime time slot, so we’re going to play our hearts out.”

Sentiments like that are exactly what have kept Davies and crew working so hard on Luvstock over the years. “We do it for the community,” said Davis. “Seeing all the happy faces at Luvstock makes it all worthwhile.”

As of press time, there is no word on whether Typhoon Soulik will affect the festival. Please check the LUVstock Facebook page for updates.