TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The 2019 Urban Nomad Freakout Music Fest kicked off today (Saturday, April 13) with a multitude of performances across two music stages and a special circus arena.
Hidden near the base of Taipei’s Tiger Mountain, the grounds of an old Taoist temple hold host to an eclectic mix of art, rock, acrobatics and circus tricks.
Local swing band The Flat Fives opened the event, crooning to classic rhythm and blues numbers from the 40s, 50s and 60s on the main stage. First to perform in the intimate temple arena was Canadian-born multi instrumentalist and solo artist Radio Rose, who delivered a charismatic and sincere piano and vocal performance.
Radio Rose (Taiwan News image)
“This is my fourth or fifth time performing at Urban Nomad,” Rose told Taiwan News. “I love this festival because it pushes the envelope in terms of quality and [showcases] acts that are more avant-garde and artistic.
“There are a number of events [at this location] each year,” she said, “and a lot of them are kind of comparable; you see the same bands, we have the same vendors every time, but this is the one that goes just one extra mile to make things freaky.
“People are attentive here,” Rose added, “people appreciate what I’m doing and it’s really a listening audience.”
The event exudes a more communal vibe than other music festivals, which is evident in the way artists collaborate with each other and help out in other areas of the festival, too. Rose later accompanied Canadian roots and soul musician Buckman Coe on stage, playing trumpet in his band.
Lead singer of local power pop/punk band Go Go Rise (美好前程), Mei, slipped off stage after the band’s performance to tend to a juice bar just across from the main arena. Additionally, artists offered “charity haircuts” and hosted craft stalls around the periphery of the temple grounds.
Go Go Rise 美好前程 (Taiwan News image)
Intergalactic sculptures made from recycled materials by artist Bowen Chang encircle the main stage roof. Just as the sun set, light installations illuminated the foliage and projections began casting on walls and other pieces of art.
The day was a testament to the diversity of Taiwan’s ever-expanding underground music scene. U.TA (屋塔) delivered sultry dream pop in the temple arena while CROCODELIA (鱷魚迷幻) offered a slice of 60s psychedelia on the main stage.
Genre-bending resident DJ of Taipei’s Night Zoo James Ho later paves the way for experimental electronic musician Betty Apple, who has collaborated with local drag queen Nymphia Wind on visual elements of her performance.
The Urban Nomad main stage featuring artwork by Bowen Chang (Taiwan News image)
“It’s a great place where artists collaborate with each other, and on things outside of music, too,” Go Go Rise told Taiwan News.“We are used to playing in venues like Live House in Taipei and other music festivals across the country, but here, people collaborate in dance, on pieces of art etc.”
The 2019 Urban Nomad Freakout Fest continues until 3:00 a.m. Sunday (April 14) morning. Sunday features a lineup of even more diverse acts, headlined by Japanese post-rockers Mouse on the Keys.
Visit the Urban Nomad website for more information.