HO-HAI-YAN ROCK FESTIVAL
Organized by the Taipei County government in conjunction with seminal independent label Taiwan Colors Music, the first Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival was held in 2000 as a completely free new rock fest featuring popular local bands like BackQuarter and Sticky Rice as well as expat artists Milk and 69 Across. The following year, Ho-Hai-Yan Rock became the island's largest battle of the bands competitions starting an annual tradition in the indie scene that bands and concertgoers look forward to every summer; and of course the festival has remained free over the years. Officially titled the Ho-Hai-Yan Music Awards, bands enter a tournament style competition with the winner getting a cash prize. Furthermore, the top ten finalists are chosen to appear on a live compilation CD of the event released by Taiwan Colors Music. Past winners include 88 Guava Seedz (2001), Tizzy Bac (2002), Monkey Insane (2003), Jezbel (2004), Totem (2005), Punkhoo (2006), Children Sucker (2007) and most recently The White Eyes in 2008. The name Ho-Hai-Yan is taken from an aboriginal dialect that brings to mind the sound of the waves and natural music of the ocean.
So, every year bands make a pilgrimage to Fu-long Beach in Taipei County in hopes of expanding the reach of their sounds and possibly even walking away with some cash to help with their future recordings. With stages on the beach, the event which has ranged from one to five days in its history has a beach party vibe with barbecue, snack and beer stands and always features a diverse range of styles from indie rock to nu-metal, punk and folk, or whatever new music trends that happen to emerge in the Taiwan indie scene. In 2002, the festival became a major international affair with bands from Japan, Nepal and Australia appearing separately from the battle of the bands. Ho-Hai-Yan Rock 2004 is especially memorable for its international bill that consisted of Australia-based Japanese punks Mach Pelican, Japanese rock 'n' roll girls 5,6,7,8's, moody instrumental trio Dirty Three, party rocker Andrew W. K. and indie garage band Jon Spencer Blues Explosion which was all set at the end of a sliver of sand that extended into the ocean. Other notable foreign guests have included Vincent Gallo, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and legendary Chinese rocker Cui Jian. And despite adversity which has included catastrophes like typhoons and political headbutts with Taipei County government over funding, the Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival continues to be a much anticipated yearly event among Taiwan's indie scene.
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
TAIWAN CULTURE PORTAL:
2008 Hohaiyan Rock Festival Rocks
Long time coming
Hohaiyan goes mainstream
FTV wins the battle of the rock festivals
Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival is back bigger than ever
Spot the star at Ho-Hai-Yan
Storm rising over Fulung