Taiwan, lauded by the world for its almost perfect response to the pandemic currently sweeping across much of the planet, is gearing up for its first actual/real/live festival next month.
The island nation escaped relatively unscathed following the onset of the pandemic and with little to no lockdown thanks to a swift response by the government and the diligence of its citizens. Taiwan, which is a small and densely populated island with more than 23 million residents, recorded just 486 cases of the novel coronavirus and has had no local transmissions in over 100 days.
While some venues did close as a precaution, many did not close at all. Already, clubs are operating at full capacity and local DJs are touring regularly around Taiwan. Last weekend, Taiwanese pop-star Eric Chou played to a crowd of 10,000 people at the Taipei Arena, where mask wearing was compulsory and obeyed.
Next up, a festival.
Thailand’s hugely popular S2O Songkran Music Festival debuted in Taiwan in July of 2019. This year, the water festival will take place on September 5 and 6 at the Dajia Riverside Park. While a festival with an all-local line-up could have been predicted, what’s interesting is that Spanish DJ Danny Avila and Dutch DJ Mike Williams are on the bill and booked for live performances. We were left scratching our heads since Taiwan’s borders remain pretty shut to visitors.
How are they doing it?
Earlier today, Danny Avila posted to his Instagram account: “The last 3 weeks I’ve been working non stop with my agency, with the government of Taiwan (who helped a lot) and the festival organization….”
“I’ll be doing a 2 week quarantine with my team before playing. Can’t wait.”
Meanwhile, Mike Williams is already en route to Taiwan.
We reached out to the organizers who said the process was not easy at all. Finally, both DJs took COVID tests 72 hours before their flights took off and will take a second test when they land in Taiwan. Professional quarantine cars will pick up the artists from the airport and take them to designated quarantine apartments that are stocked with gloves, sanitizer and surgical masks. After 14 days, both artists will take a third COVID test and if they test negative, they get the green light to perform. Even still, it will under a very strict policy like wearing masks at all times, getting their temperature checked before entering indoor places and more.
The festival organizers have also prepared for the artists and their teams a PS4, dumbbells and other exercise equipment, DJ equipment including a CDJ, mixer, monitors and a professional quarantine package to help them get through the two weeks. And of course, Taiwanese food (yum!).
As for onsite precautions for festivalgoers, the event will use real-name registration with RFID wristbands that will track their audience including travel history, time stamping and medical records. They will also offer free non-medical masks, facilitate temperature checks and control traffic in different areas. All staff will be required to wear medical masks and have no flu-like symptoms at least 14 days prior to the event.
Folks, THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT.
As for the rest of the actual line-up, it's still trickling through the festival’s social media accounts and looks predominately local with regulars like Kaku and Nickthereal on the bill. Follow the event’s Facebook page for more information.
S2O Music Festival originated in Thailand and takes place in Bangkok every April during Songkran, also know as Thai New Year. Alongside Taiwan, the S2O brand has also expanded to Japan. The festival is famous for blasting high-pressure water cannons at the crowd and 360-degree sprinklers in the air as a playful nod to the water festivities that take place around Thailand to celebrate the holiday.