This year’s Spring Scream (春天吶喊) music festival in Kenting (墾丁) may be less crowded than usual, as hundreds of ticket holders sought refunds for their event passes, as they would rather `stay in Taipei for the Sunflower movement against the cross-strait service trade pact.
Over the past two weeks, dozens of people refunded advanced tickets to the popular event, many of them students in northern Taiwan who say they prefer to devote their energy to the movement, rather than to attending the festival, which is to start today and set to wrap up on Sunday.
Held at several venues across Kenting, Spring Scream is one of the most popular, well-known music festivals in the country, attracting legions of domestic and international visitors.
An official at www.hotkt.com, the online agency handling ticket sales for the music festival this year, said that the ongoing protest movement in Taipei is having an impact on sales.
The official said that since March 19 — the day after students laid siege to the Legislative Yuan in Taipei in a bid to block the pact’s passage — the agency has processed an average of 150 requests a day from young people seeking to return their tickets.
“The number of those seeking refunds accounts for about 10 percent of the total advanced tickets sold and most of them are students,” the official said.
An associated event, the Spring Wave Music Festival (春浪音樂節), is also being impacted by the protest movement.
Officials from event organizer Friendly Dog Entertainment Co said they are also receiving ticket refund requests, but said that “it is not a very serious situation.”
The ninth edition of the Spring Wave Music Festival starts tomorrow and runs through Saturday, and will be headlined by bands Mayday (五月天) and S.H.E.
Jimi Moe, who founded the original Spring Scream with Wade Davis in 1995, said their ticket sales are being handled by 7-Eleven’s iBon electronics kiosk system and so he was not sure about the refunds , but appeared to be concerned about the situation when he asked journalists if there are still many students participating in Sunflower protests in the capital.
Spring Scream’s seven events will be held at five main concert venues at Oluanpi Park, while the Spring Wave Music Festival and its affiliated Spring Wave Electronic Music Party (春浪電音派對) will take place at Kenting’s Wuliting Airport (五里亭機場).
In addition to the two festivals, the southern city will also this week host the “Moonlight Party” at Nanwan Beach, “Foam Party” at the Howard Beach Resort Kenting, “Free the Beach” event at Chateau Beach Resort Kenting and the “Spring Electro Party” (春電混樂) at a reggae bar in the Dajianshan (大尖山) area.
Spring Scream was the first concert festival in Kenting and, now into its 20th year, will feature about 200 music groups and indie bands from Taiwan, Asia, Europe, North America this year.
According to the ticket agency, nearly all of the city’s lodgings are booked up, but some rooms are still available in the nearby town of Hengchun (恆春).
An agency spokesperson said more visitors from Hong Kong and Macau are expected to attend the festivals this year than last year, adding that to get around, foreigners can rent electric vehicles at Hengchun’s bus station, even if they do not hold an international driver’s license.