The Formoz Festival was first organized in 2001 by the Taiwan Rock Alliance under the leadership of Chthonic vocalist Freddy Lim. The idea was to create a mega concert event lasting several days in the mold of world famous gatherings like Reading, Lollapalooza and Fuji Rock. The result was a three day mid-summer event that featured local indie bands opening for major foreign acts of various genres that were initiated to Taiwan for the first time. Some of the notable bands to appear at Formoz 2001 included hardcore metal hybrid Biohazard, heavy metal legends Megadeth and indie rockers Yo La Tengo. Also performing were Japanese punk bands Yellow Machine Gun and Garlic Boys, and Chinese rock groups Tang Dynasty and Overload as well as bands from other locales including Hong Kong and Singapore cementing Formoz's reputation for being a multinational showcase.
While the first festival was held outside at what is now known as the Huashan Culture Center, Formoz eventually moved to Yuanshan Park and has even made use of the nearby soccer stadium. Yuanshan Park offered many forest paths to explore and the traditional Chinese pavilions provided more room for various stages. By 2004, Formoz expanded to over five stages, each with a elemental name and a loose theme. For example, the Rock Stage featured metal, the Fire Stage had punk, the Lightning Stage had electronica, the Wood Stage had folk and so on. Always expanding, Formoz even offered indie film screenings as well as wrestling matches as bonus attractions for weary concertgoers. Some of the major western acts to perform over the years have included Album Leaf, American Analog Set, Michelle Shocked, Moby, OK Go, and both Yo La Tengo and Megadeth returned to Taiwan for the festival in 2007. Japanese bands have also been very popular at Formoz and some past performers have been Sex Machineguns, The Vickers, Pink Loop, Envy, Ging Nang Boyz, Head phones President, Buffalo Daughter, Yum Yum Orange and Kuruli. And of course hundreds of local Taiwanese bands have taken to the stages of Formoz over the past years making it a highly important event for the island's indie culture.
Unfortunately, the fest's organizer, now known simply as TRA, lost support from the government after the island's indie friendly Democratic People's Party lost power in 2008. Consequently, Formoz was canceled for 2009 and TRA began focusing on bringing bands like Mogwai, Yo La Tengo, Broken Social Scene to Taipei for individual concerts at The Wall in the meantime. Formoz has had a great run and many bands and festival goers are looking forward to its return in the future.
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