Asian Fests Heat Up

The summer festival season started two weeks ago with two major events – the fifth annual Pentaport Rock Festival in Incheon, Korea, and the new TWinkle Rock Festival in Taipei’s World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall.

The three-day Pentaport festival was July 23-25 at Incheon Dream Park. Only about 6,000 people showed up for the drizzly first day, when the headliner was the Stereophonics, according to the Korea Times.

About 27,000 paid for tickets the second day to see LCD Soundsystem and major local rock groups like YB. The final day was topped by Ian Brown and Japanese visual-kei heroes Dir En Grey.

TWinkle is an attempt to take advantage of major Western artists passing through Asia to play other festivals. Since the demise of Taiwan’s Formoz Festival in 2008 there has been no comparable summer event in the country. Because of the high cost of inviting these major artists to Taiwan, it’s very difficult to keep ticket prices within an affordable range. Formoz basically closed shop because it couldn’t keep costs down.

According to the Taipei Times, TWinkle doesn’t seem to have solved this problem. Tickets for this year’s four-day festival July 27-30, start at NT$2,000 ($62), whereas the cheapest Formoz ticket was NT$1,600.

The difference, according to the promoters, is the quality of the acts. Both Massive Attack and Pet Shop Boys brought their large stage productions. Also on the bill was Ian Brown.