Video Credit: Wake Up Arts覺醒藝術 via YouTube
The story of Wake Up Festival is a real feel good one. It wasn’t created by some massive, profit-driven company or by someone with tons of money to spare, but a group of 17 year old high school students from Chiayi City, Taiwan. Back in 2009, they were struggling to find anywhere to perform and showcase their talent. Rather than give up, they decided to provide a solution by creating their very own music festival called ‘Sound Music Festival’. Despite having a serious lack of resources, they pulled it off and 10 years later it’s grown into one of Taiwan’s biggest and best international music festivals. Now known as Wake Up Festival, Wika or Wake Up Music Festival, it has expanded considerably, but it still reigns true to its original cause. In 2016, the Wake Up team were able to build a permanent live music venue in Chiayi City, finally providing somewhere for musicians to perform for generations to come.
It’s clear Wake Up Festival has had a significant effect on the local area, even going as far as influencing public policy for the better. The festival has improved local tourism, bringing more visitors, money and positive attention to Chiayi City. It has demonstrated the positive effects festivals can have on the local area, which in turn, has encouraged other festivals, celebrations, and festivities to take place. It has even led to funding to develop and improve various monuments, parks, and public spaces for the local community and to further encourage tourism.
Wake Up Festival is still growing, each year attracting bigger and better international musicians, so it’s unsurprising it’s already making a name for itself. Despite still being in its infancy the festival has already won the Hard Hero Award and it was declared ‘One of the Best June Music Festivals in the World’ by Polish music media ‘Beehype’. There’s a whole host of artists and bands listed for this years line up including Typecast, Emerging From The Cocoon, Dela (JP), Major in Body Bear, Vast & Hazy, Greedy Black Hole, PiA 吳蓓雅 and many many more.
They’ve also got two Malaysian bands performing in this year’s line-up, doubling the number compared to last year. If you haven’t already heard the two Malaysian bands performing, they are KOKKAMANGO and 變胎 BandTai.
Based in Kajang, KOKKAMANGO are an incredible Indie Pop/Electro band. Their sound is influenced by Spanish and Swedish Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Shoegaze, and Tweepop and has been described as giving off ‘sweet, spacey and dreamy’ vibes. As with all bands, the members have had a few rotations, but are currently made up of Vesta singing lead vocals, Chris on guitar and KOKKA working the synth and laptop. Going against the curve, KOKKAMANGO even sings in Mandarin, offering a refreshing change from the norm. I can vouch for their dreamy laid-back vibe which is really therapeutic to listen to. The guitar riffs feel really nostalgic and it almost feels as though you’re transported back in time. That said, KOKKAMANGO aren’t repeating what’s already been done and even as someone who can’t speak Mandarin I’ve really enjoyed discovering their music. Check out one of their tracks in the video below.
My Little Romance by KOKKAMANGO - Video credit via YouTube @KIBINANA
Formally known as ‘Fetal Band’, 變胎 BandTai are a Malaysian, Chinese band from Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. Their sound is a wonderful blend of multiple styles with clear Rock influences, mixed with everything from Grit to Retro-wave, Nursery Rhymes to Romanticism. The band itself is made up of 4 middle-aged men who are also holding down everyday jobs such as a plumber, sportsman, and mechanic. Some of their tracks are reminiscent of British Indie Rock from the early 00s, but even that is turned on its head with a blend of alternative sounds thrown into the mix.
Wake Up Festival is a wonderful success story in favour of the underdog, showing that if you put your mind to something it can be achieved, even if you’re starting from scratch. The festival has a wonderful blend of performances, from artists and bands across a wide variety of genres. With only 1 month until Wake Up Festival gets underway, tickets are in their last phase, so be sure to get yours soon.
Tickets available now: https://airasiaredtix.com/wakeup