A rehearsal and performance venue opened on Saturday by the Taipei Youth Department Office to nurture musical talent was criticized for its exorbitant rental fees.
The venue is perfect for student clubs to create musical pieces, practice songs and perform, Taipei Department of Education Acting Commissioner Tseng Tsan-chin (曾燦金) said.
The facility, in the Y17 Taipei Youth Activity Center, has three rehearsal rooms, two practice rooms for drummers, and two rooms for guitarists, bassists and keyboardists, as well as two classrooms, office Facility Operations Section director Chou Tsung-yi (周宗毅) said.
The smallest rehearsal room, of 18m2, and one of the practice rooms are free of charge to students or Taipei residents aged between 12 and 24 on weekdays, he said.
The largest rehearsal room, of 104m2, can be rented for a minimum of four hours and costs NT$3,000 per use, while the second and third-largest rooms cost NT$2,500 and NT$2,000 for every four hours respectively.
The fees are more expensive than those charged by musical instrument stores or music institutes, where rehearsal rooms are usually available.
A private music institute near the MRT’s Taipei Main Station charges NT$200 and NT$250 an hour for its small and large rehearsal rooms respectively, while the most expensive rehearsal room at a music institute in the Ximending (西門町) commercial district costs NT$350 an hour for small bands and NT$600 an hour for student clubs booking the room for large rehearsals.
Asked about the large price gap between the office’s rehearsal rooms and private ones, Chou said the prices were set after factoring in personnel, equipment and utility costs.
The fees came into effect this month after they were approved by the Taipei City Council’s Education Committee, he said.
The expensive fees defeat the purpose of a public facility, which is aimed as providing the public with affordable services, Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) said.
The rates are especially unreasonable considering that the facility’s target customers are young people, Hsu said.
“The expensive fees could discourage people and turn the venue into a mausoleum,” she said.
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