This feature was originally published on December 20, 2018. This will be a part of our ongoing feature series documenting music showcases and conferences around the world.
In addition, LUCfest 2018 was also featured in an article titled “The Crusade for Sound,” which was published digitally and in print via Philippine Star—a leading newspaper in the Philippines—on December 22, 2018, written by Ian Urrutia.
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY MC GALANG
For a young music events production such as The Rest Is Noise, there’s only so much that my co-founder Ian Urrutia and I have aspired for it when we were starting out in February of 2015. It was supposed to be a one-off show, which was why I was initially hesitant to even naming it. Now, 30 shows later, our vision for it has exceeded far beyond the cozy comforts of our favorite bar spots in Manila.
Our short trip to Tainan, Taiwan a week after hosting All of the Noise 2018 bookended this year’s critical foray of TRIN into the regional music scene, after we jumpstarted in May for the maiden edition of Summer Noise 2018. While our participation at LUCfest showcase festival as festival partner is unprecedented, it was nevertheless warmly welcomed, especially in the company of friends from the community: Homonym’s Mike Constantino and Indie Manila’s Bel Certeza, whom we shared a panel with, titled “Philippine Music Market Introduction.”
For the last two years, we’ve been visiting other Southeast Asian countries to attend music festivals as both an immersion and learning the ropes on festival curation. However, LUCfest offers something much closer to our ethos and practice that immediately appealed to us: a showcase festival combined with music forum that “aims to connect [Taiwan] with Asia to further the global music industry.”
Expanding beyond the popular Cantonese pop and highlighting various markets and music styles, LUCfest’s dedication is something we not only support as fellow music events curator, but as individuals who firmly subscribe to the belief that our culture is our soul as a people, and it thrives in the art of creating, of making.
It explores the idea that Asian music, artist creativity, and aesthetics are a unique—and necessary—combination that harnesses the rich energy of Taiwan’s independent music industry, with the accessibility of community-building practices. With seven music stages scattered across strategic locations in Tainan, 62 artists from different backgrounds performed for a crowd of multinationals, mirroring a portion of Taiwan’s growing diverse groups.
One of the festival’s aims is to “establish a platform for information and resource exchange between Asian and Western music industry, promoting and matching Taiwan’s artists to the international stages.” Unlike big, headliner shows, LUCfest’s approach is to highlight the grassroots, D-I-Y movement of independent musicians and creatives that is not uncommon, usually due to circumstance (e.g. lack of financial support). The three-day’s worth of shows and forums provided valuable insight on not just Taiwan’s music scene, but also addressed the enduring problems that usually root from varying perceptions and perspectives of the Asian music scene and market.
It’s easier to see the differences between East and West as both obviously have a multitude of customs, traditions, and values that cannot be instantly reshaped. The key, as we’ve learned through newfound friends at LUCfest, is to find and cultivate strength in our shared passion and dedication for music, especially at these avenues that allow us to celebrate just that: being present at the moment, making human connection and foster it through the arts.
Tainan is, as I can only presume, the best city to hold such remarkable festival that also serves as a primer to Taiwan’s history. As the oldest city in the island, it’s also known as “The Phoenix City,” due to its complex, 200-year history of redefinitions and renewals. It seems appropriate, at least in the context of being the convergence point for traditional and contemporary music, as music spots can be found near temples and religious sites, proudly coexisting.
One of my fondest experiences is walking around Tainan all day long, bundled in my coat in the chilly December air, eating sweet buns and not-too-sweet ice cream from the streets, drinking great ginger cocktails (my absolute favorite), visiting the art space across from our hotel, and capping it off with a visit to one of the nearby night markets.
If there’s something that reminded me a bit of home, it was the selection of music spaces in the city. From the upscale DOU MAISON 兜空间 during the opening reception night to the warm, almost familiar space of Lola蘿拉冷飲店, where homegrown artists She’s Only Sixteen, Nights of Rizal, and similarobjects performed to a full house, Tainan became our home away from home—more so because it became apparent that they love dogs probably just as much as I do.
The Rest Is Noise would like to thank LUCfest 2018 and especially Weining Hung for their generosity and hospitality. We’ve met a lot of beautiful people and made new friends through this incredible experience and we cannot wait to be back.