By Trista di Genova
The Wild East
Meeting under banyan trees in ShiDa Rd. park, organizers of this year’s Hoping for Hoping “Peacefest” gathered for the first of weekly discussions, on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Peacefest fans may be pleasantly surprised with the decision to hold this year’s music festival on mild Nov. 6-8, rather than in June, when record-breaking scorchers, and drizzles, have been likely to occur.
Another major, exciting change is the venue. The past site of Kunlun Herb Gardens in Taoyuan County served as a stunningly beautiful haven for performers as well as peacesters, but posed a few logistical snags difficult to overcome, namely, no water.
This year, organizers have forged an exciting cooperation with the aboriginal village of Sanjhan (pop. circa 1,000), located near the paradise that is known as Hualien, in eastern Taiwan.
From the nearby river, “you can watch the bands from an inner tube,” quipped Christian Kohli, a Canuck who scouted out the village while trekking down the East Coast. He spent two months writing a book in a converted chicken house on its outskirts, and says the Golden Grotto area with its caves and waterfall is “the most beautiful” he’s seen in Taiwan, offering excellent opportunities for hiking and other outdoor activities.
Chad Ordoyne (of Perpetual Motion, a production crew) was present during discussion to cover lighting and sound for the 60-amp extravaganza. There will be a second stage this year, too, organizers said, for “unplugged,” accoustic performances and jams after 2 a.m. The festival’s peace circle will be held with Ami tribespeople on Saturday; aboriginal singing legend Kimbo has also confirmed for a Saturday spot. Throughout the weekend, there will be the now-traditional myriad of workshops, arts activities and food and craft vendors (For vending applications, see http://www.hopingforhoping.com/vendor09.shtml).
The town is contributing to Peacefest’s endeavor, expecting the event to infuse the local economy, and is building an additional performance area. This year’s event is expected to draw much more publicity and exposure in Taiwan’s media, due to its geographical location.
Peacefest organizers are currently dealing with the “nuts and bolts” behind the scenes of a musicfest with the latent potential of drawing thousands, although “big isn’t necessarily better,” pointed out Peace Dave, another icon in this affair.
Other questions they are bandying about the round table: What is the most efficient, eco-friendly method of disposing of human waste? How can alcohol be served, without people getting dangerously drunken; or worse, violent? How can people’s desire for immediate, benevolent action be harnassed at the Peacefest, by say, helping clear a long-overgrown path to an area where the villagers’ ancestors actually came from?
Another key concern is fine-tuning scheduling for bands, “something that everybody wants to work on,” said Sean Kaiteri, a Kiwi who has played a leading role in the Peacefest since its inception six years ago.
In the past, scheduling mistakes have led to music jostling brains through tents into the wee hours, for some, to the point of outrage. At the same time, in the Peacefest spirit, organizers say they “don’t want to turn away any bands that wish to play.” They are currently extending an invitation to any interested local, aboriginal, expat, even big name international acts (for more information see their page on Facebook, or the website www.hopingforhoping.com). Bands this year will be provided with accommodation, and backdrop visuals by another hot Kiwi to watch, VJ “Laser Dan,” of Speculative Laser Systems.
The event is known to draw and showcase the island’s best and hottest new musical talent, featuring phenomenal performances by such artists as the Money Shot Horns, New Hong Kong Hair City, The Deported, The Tourists, and Angel’s Macedonian music band — now known as “Aashti,” which Peacefest hero Scott Cook described as his favorite act of the year.
CONFIRMED ACTS SO FAR (as of 10/14):
New Hong Kong Hair City
Tyler Daiken & The Long Naked Bottles
Mr. Green & Highway 9
–Photos and text by Trista di Genova