Breaking new ground:
2012 Compass Festival gives one of
Taichung's favorite festivals a fresh focus
Words by Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu
As this will mark the ninth year that Compass Magazine has held its super-popular Compass Taichung International Food & Music Festival, it is not entirely surprising that organizers put more thought into good ways to build on past successes and create an even bigger, broader event. First launched in 2004 to celebrate Compass' 10th anniversary, what started as an international food festival quickly became known as a food and music festival and then moved to a bigger venue and grew into a two-day event. Much like Compass itself, which started as a four-page, bimonthly newsletter back in 1994, the Compass Festival has grown far beyond the original intent and expectations of its founders.
One fresh area that Compass Magazine co-publishers Douglas Habecker and Donovan Smith had eyed in the past for expansion plans was arts and culture, not surprising given the fact that Taichung has been known around Taiwan for decades as "The City of Culture". In a stroke of good timing, Compass Magazine was approached this year by iSee Taiwan Foundation, which has been cooperating with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau to promote Central Taiwan to foreign tourists via a series of LOHAS International Spotlight Central Region activities, mostly held on the Art Museum Parkway--the very same venue Compass Festival uses. The end result of discussions between the two parties will be a much-expanded Saturday-Sunday, May 12-13 Taichung May Festival (1-9 p.m.), which encompasses two festivals--Compass Festival and the LOHAS Festival--in one venue. (Note: Commonly-used acronym "LOHAS" refers "Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability".)
In basic terms, this will mean that festival-goers will see a much-expanded event that will include a Compass Festival Music Stage with a big line-up of live bands, and a LOHAS Festival Culture Stage, where an exotic variety of cultural-related performances will take place. There will also be over 100 booths--dozens more than previous events--and other unprecedented events, such as a fun, public "Animal Friends" Pet Parade to promote animal care, protection and rights on Sunday (more on this below). The larger overall size means that slightly more of the Art Museum Parkway (bordered by WuQuan West 3rd and 4th streets) will be used. Booths will start immediately south of WuQuan 5th Street and stretch south of WuQuan 7th Street.
An overview of the LOHAS Festival can be found in the article following on pages 30-31, but its cultural emphasis will be underlined with a variety of vendor booths featuring for-sale unique handmade creations--from paintings and handicrafts to jewelry--from wide range of foreign and Taiwanese artists based in Central Taiwan. All LOHAS Festival booths and areas will be distinguished from Compass Festival ones by that event's unique logo/emblem. The LOHAS Stage will also see everything from yoga demonstrations and taiko drum performances to aborignal dances and erhu (Chinese two-stringed fiddle) music (see LOHAS Stage Schedule).
This year's Compass Festival will continue doing the things that make it so popular and have earned it nicknames like "biggest international gathering in Taichung", "Taichung's Spring Scream", "best weekend of the year" and other positive accolades from participants. Many if not the majority of participants make a full weekend out of the event and stick around to enjoy the non-stop live music and great food/drink variety, all enjoyed on an attractive grassy greenbelt lined with a variety of international restaurants and cafes (see Compass Art Museum Parkway Map). When it comes to the live music, Compass Festival Music Coordinator Patrick Byrne has once again pulled together an excellent line-up of 16 acts that includes an eclectic mix of talented foreign and Taiwanese Taichung-based musicians and bands like Reid, Chen Mo, Dr. Reniculous Lipz, Nick Fothergill, 'Round Midnight, Ever So Friendlies, Aurora, and .22 (see Compass Stage Schedule). Genres range across a broad spectrum from classic rock and country to jazz and hip-hop.
In a reflection of one of Compass Magazine's primary focuses, eating and drinking are a perennial highlight of the festival. This year will once again see over 50 Central Taiwan restaurants, hotels, cafes, pubs, shops and other vendors selling all manner of international and local cuisine, from Indian wraps to American brownies. As this is the start to undoubtedly another hot summer, there will also be plenty to drink, from sodas, ciders and cocktails to cold beer supplied exclusively by Festival Official Beer Sponsor Taiwan Beer. A good number of non-food/drink vendors will also be selling everything from sunglasses to Nepalese handicrafts.
When it to comes to sponsorships and supporting organizations, this entire event would not be possible without the long-term cooperation and support of the Taichung City Government's Information Bureau as well as the "Art Garden" Art Museum Parkway Management Committee, once again ably headed by National Veterinary Hospital head D.J. Chen. Other Official Event Sponsors this year include: Corning Taiwan, World Gym, and Sunny FM 89.1.
As a fun, but meaningful, new addition to this year's festival, National Veterinary Hospital and Compass have also joined forces to organize the "Animal Friends" Pet Parade, taking place at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 13. This public event, which calls attention to loving, caring for and protecting our non-human companions, invites all pet owners and their animals (dogs, cats and any other species welcome) to gather just behind the Compass Stage at 1:30 p.m., followed by a short, relaxing 2 p.m. parade/walk around the parkway. This will conclude back at the stage around 3 p.m. where a panel of judges will award some prizes to the pet-and-owner pair that is most creatively costumed/dressed up for this event. National Veterinary Hospital will also be providing free animal medical check-ups from its tent at the festival.
With so much music, food, drink, arts, culture and other fun attractions for humans and animals alike on tap at this year's Compass and LOHAS festivals, organizers anticipate that the weekend will attract more than 20,000 people. As usual, the festival will include plenty of rain/shade rest tents and the event will continue rain or shine. Undoubtedly, there are fewer than ever excuses for you to miss out on any part of this annual, grander-than-ever showcase of the Best of Taichung.
As noted above, the Festival venue can easily be located via Compass Magazine's Art Museum Parkway Map. From the main entrance plaza of the National Taiwan Museum of Natural Science on WuQuan West Road, Section 1, head south for two blocks on either WuQuan West 3rd or 4th streets and you'll come to the main event area. In addition to streetside public parking, three are large parking lots at the museum and a five minutes walk away on CunZhong (TsuenJung) Street (see Parkway Map), just off of MeiCun Road. Note: Public restrooms are available at the parkway committee's on southwest back corner of the venue at 59, WuQuan 7th Street, 2F.
Inquiries about the Festival may be directed to Compass Magazine at (04) 2358-5466 during weekday office hours.
Compass Food and Music Festival May/12-13/2012
Main Stage (Compass)
1:00-1:45 pm - Native Space
2:00-2:45 pm - Flintstones
3:00-3:45 pm - Reid
4:00-4:45 pm - Chen Mo
5:00-5:45 pm - Moss
6:00-6:45 pm - Peaks
7:00-7:45 pm - Dr. Reniculous lipz
8:00-8:45 pm - High Tide
1:00-1:45 pm - Raven/Vagabond deluxe
2:00-2:45 pm - Creaking Knees
3:00-3:45 pm - Nick Fothergill
4:00-4:45 pm - 'round midnight
5:00-5:45 pm - Hell Bent Angels
6:00-6:45 pm - Aurora
7:00-7:45 pm - Ever So Friendlies
8:00-8:45 pm - .22
Stage 2 (I See/Lohas Spot)
1:30-2:15 pm - Yoga demo
2:30-3:15 pm - Taiko drums
3:30-4:15 pm - Children's/ Erhu
4:30-5:15 pm - Taichung Improv
5:30-6:15 pm - Aboriginal dance
6:30-7:15 pm - Eagle Lin
7:30-8:15 pm - Neo Retro
1:30-2:15 pm - Parkway group
2:30-3:15 pm - Parkway group
3:30-4:15 pm - Parkway group
4:30-5:15 pm - Erhu
5:30-6:15 pm - Band
6:30-7:15 pm - Niu
7:30-8:15 pm - Gulu Gulu