Kinmen's Zhaishan Tunnel waterway to host music fest

SPECIAL CONCERT:The festival will be held on a floating stage under the earth, as part of the island’s transformation from war zone to tourist attraction

Staff Writer, with CNA

Sat, Aug 07, 2010 - Page 2

A special music festival will be held later this year on a floating stage that will follow an A-shaped waterway in the Zhaishan Tunnel (翟山坑道) on the outlying island of Kinmen.

The 101m-long Zhaishan Tunnel, a war relic that is now a tourist attraction, boasts a 357m A-shaped waterway where five noted Taiwanese musicians staged a concert in October to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Kuningtou (古寧頭戰役).

“As the unprecedented waterway concert drew an enthusiastic response, we decide to hold a music festival at the same venue this year,” said Tseng Wei-hung (曾偉宏), director of the Kinmen National Park Administration.

The festival, scheduled for Oct. 16-17, will present a total of six concerts that will feature the performance of romantic classics by famous Taiwanese musicians such as cellist Chang Cheng-chieh (張正傑), flutist Wu Chung-hsien (吳宗憲), harpist Hung Chi-mei (洪綺鎂) and violinist Liang Chien-wen (梁茜雯), Tseng said at a news conference.

Chang, who took the initiative to stage a concert in the Zhaishan Tunnel last year, has been named artistic director of this year’s festival, Tseng said.

Chang said he was amazed by the acoustics at the venue during last year’s concert, describing them as “much, much better” than he had expected.

“I have only one word to describe my first-ever concert in the waterway — terrific,” he said.

Online registration for this year’s Zhaishan festival will begin on Sept. 1. Each concert will last 40 minutes, with an audience of 300 packed onto the walkway surrounding the waterway.

Located in the southwestern part of Kinmen Island, the underground Zhaishan Tunnel — 101m long, 6m wide and 3.5m high — opens into the Taiwan Strait. Its A-shaped waterway has a pier that can dock up to 42 small boats.

With the improvement of cross-strait relations, the number of Taiwanese troops stationed in Kinmen has been reduced and the island is being gradually transformed into a tourist destination, with war sites as the main attraction.