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Local and foreign bands rock festival in Chiayi City

TAIPEI--Dozens of bands from Taiwan and overseas performing at a music festival in Chiayi City are giving audiences a veritable feast of indie music, according to the organizers.

More than 80 bands are participating in the three-day “Wake Up Festival,” which will conclude Sunday, said Roy Cheng, a representative of the student group that has organized the event, in an interview with CNA.

Among the participating Taiwanese bands is Mixer, which just won the Best Band title at this year's Golden Melody Awards, and West Punch, whose members are Chiayi natives.

Musicians from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, France, Australia and Israel are also scheduled to stage live performances at the festival, which is being held at Chiayi Cultural and Creative Industries Park, Cheng said on Friday, the opening day of the show.

Kata Strof from Israel, a first-time participant, is among the two bands that will give performances to conclude the event on Sunday.

The festival, now in its fifth year, will be larger than ever this year, spanning four different stages over three days, and is expected to draw more than 80,000 visitors, Cheng said.

Attendance last year was about 50,000 when the festival was a two-day event, said the 20-year-old, a Chiayi native who is now studying at a university in the neighboring city of Tainan.

“The goal of the event is to promote indie music,” said Cheng. “We also hope the event will bring more visitors to Chiayi and encourage Chiayi natives to come home.”

In 2009, a group of high school students including Cheng worked together to launch the event and create a platform to showcase their musical creativity in Chiayi, which they saw as a “musical desert” at the time.

Even now, Cheng said, the festival is still being run by a group of university and high school students who have had to raise funds and get sponsors to make the festival possible.

In conjunction with the music festival, a photo exhibition is also taking place at 10 different venues around Chiayi, featuring stories about Chiayi, a small city that has seen an outflow of its population.

“The exhibition also captures the theme of going back home,” he said.

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