This past weekend was the Tomb Sweeping holiday long weekend. On Thursday talking with my boss she admitted most Taiwanese get together on an earlier weekend with the family to clear away debris from the ancestral tomb. So instead many of the young adults from Taiwan head to the sleepy swimming destination Kenting for a music festival known as Spring Scream.
Friday started with some mood-dampening rain and the commute by van down to the town. With no check-in at the hostel until 3 p.m. we bummed around the town and people watched one of the thousand 7 Elevens of Pingtung county.
Around eight p.m. the Kenting Night Market starts to break out its trinkets and fried goods, also little bars pop up next to “The Strip” so you can get a shot of absinthe on the walk to your party. The little line of shops that usually sells the same swimsuits and 100 NT flipflops are obstructed this weekend by commercial stands selling alcohol.
In the evening the various nearby resorts throw parties that involve dancing on the beach, and for some vomiting in the sand.
But the other side of it, quite separate from the crazy Asian public drunkenness and binge eating, is the music festival happening south of town. After getting a shuttle or taxi music enthusiasts can walk up the hill into a national park and watch bands from all over Taiwan play from afternoon to evening. The music ranged from hard hair-band Taiwanese rock, to softer electronic and vocal heavy rock. The stages were all pretty close together and one of the stages had hammocks set up near the stage for sleepy people.
The music was alright, but mostly it highlighted my inability to understand most the language and so after rocking for a few hours I was ready to return and take a nap. Perhaps it is better to give up on music festivals and just go to shorter concerts, then the escape is easier and the music sound systems better coordinated. Although the natural layout of the park was beautiful I don’t think the music was weighed enough into the equation. It didn’t help the mood that a friend of mine was smoking at a non-designated patio area in the park and received a 2000 NT fine from a grumpy crew of National Park Smoker Haters.