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18th Compass International Food & Music Festival

Taichung residents and visitors wanting to sample, savor and enjoy the best that this city has to offer will be excited that one of central Taiwan’s longest-running, most popular annual events is returning to Taichung Civic Square on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5-6. Organized by Compass Magazine to showcase the city, the 2022 Compass International Food & Music Festival is returning after a one-year hiatus in 2021 due to the pandemic.

For the uninitiated and newcomers unfamiliar with Compass Festival, the event began almost 20 years ago as a modest one-day food-focused celebration of Compass Magazine’s 10th anniversary. Thanks to its success, what started as a one-off celebration turned into an annual food and music festival that continued to grow in size and scope. Over the years, it has taken place at various locations around Taichung but made a breakthrough in 2020 when it moved for the first time to the city’s most popular outdoor venue, Taichung Civic Square, and attracted an estimated 18-20,000 participants over the weekend. After two attempts to hold the Festival were thwarted by pandemic restrictions over the past year, organizers are relieved to be once again returning to the 2020 venue with another exciting event that will include up to about 50 vendor booths, about 20 live bands and musicians and other fun, all open for public enjoyment.

As noted above, Compass Festival originally started out as a food event and continues to offer an ever-changing and ever-growing sampling of international and local cuisine and drinks from Taichung’s countless food-and-beverage businesses. Like Compass Magazine itself, it is hoped that the event will showcase all that the city has to offer. Vendors were continuing to register at the time this magazine went to the printer but the list of items to be sold already covers big global spectrum, including French crepes, American desserts, German sausages, Indonesian satay, Turkish ice cream and wraps, Indian specialties and, of course, plenty of Taiwanese favorites. When it comes to beverages, vendors will be selling everything from coffees and teas to imported wines, whiskies, cocktails and soft drinks.

As always, beer sales are the exclusive domain of the Compass Festival’s Official Beer Sponsors. This year’s two sponsors provide an interesting mix of international and local brews, with Moritz Beer Barcelona selling its wide range of imported Spanish bottled beers and Hellow Brewery offering on-tap craft beers brewed right here in Taichung. Other 2022 Compass Festival Official Sponsors are World Gym, Taipei Language Institute, and Corning Taiwan, with the first two companies also having on-site booths and activities.

It’s worth noting that not all participating vendors represent food/drink businesses or sell such products, as the Festival each year also welcomes a variety of other retailers and companies, artists and non-profit organizations, which this year will include Haxstrong, Asian Animal Welfare Association, and International Women’s Association of Taichung.

The other main focus of Compass Festival is nonstop live music, which tends to keep visitors at the site on the grass and near the stage from the start around 12 noon until the close around 9 p.m. on Saturday and 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. Like the Festival vendors, Compass Festival performers are exclusively from Taichung and focus largely on original music, as organizers hope to encourage and provide a platform for local musicians to showcase themselves on. Like previous events, this year’s line-up will cover a broad range of music, from classic and modern rock to Latin, jazz and folk music. Although the schedule is subject to change, confirmed performers at the time this magazine was printed include a mix of returning favorites and first-timers, such as The Shapemaster, Lucky Days, PhiloSophia, the School Of Rock band, Pat Reid, If Not When, Nell, Native Space, JDHuck, The Ryve, The Wandering Singer, Sulfur Wind, Cafe Con Pan, and San Jiao Mao. In a first for Compass Festival, La Bocca Studio is also organizing a fun “flash mob” style mass dancing event earlier on Saturday afternoon that all are welcome to join.

Compass Festival takes place from about 12 noon until 9 p.m. on Saturday and until 8:30 p.m. on Sunday and is free and open to participants of all ages. The event will continue rain or shine (with rain/shade rest tents on site) on Taichung Civic Square along GongYi Road opposite Park Lane by CMP/Eslite mall. Although there are public and private parking facilities nearby, taking public transportation or a taxi to the venue is recommended.

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Written by 何道明 Douglas Habecker

Douglas Habecker is the editor-in-chief of Compass Magazine


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