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Compass Festival #15 Heads to Taiwan Boulevard

It was just a year ago that Compass Magazine was touting the fact that the 2017 Compass Taichung International Food & Music Festival was “coming home” to its long-time venue at the Art Museum Parkway. While that event was a big success, organizers will once again moving one of the city’s oldest, and biggest, international food/music festivals–now in its 15th year—to an all-new location, this time right along Taichung’s busiest thoroughfare.
On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7 from about 12 noon until 10 p.m., the 2018 Compass Festival will be taking place at UNO Market, located right next to Taichung’s biggest department store–between Top City and HuiZhong Road. Already a well-known sight and destination since its opening last winter, UNO Market is a colorful collection of “pop-up” shops and eateries housed in shipping containers. While other events, including the 2018 Taichung AmCham Independence Day Celebration and French Bastille Day Celebration, have taken place at this venue, Compass Festival promises to raise the bar much higher with the biggest-ever event held here. Using an expanded area and revamped layout at UNO, the Festival is expected once again highlight over 50 vendor booths and non-stop live music by 18-20 bands and musicians. In addition to the high-visibility location, UNO Market offers some extra advantages, such as convenient public-transportation access and numerous surrounding parking lots.
Compass Festival was first organized 15 years ago by Compass Magazine for two main purposes–to celebrate the birthday of Taichung’s only international city guide and highlight the “best of Taichung” to visitors and residents. Initially focused on food and drink, the festival expanded rapidly in size to include live music, shopping, art and non-profit community organizations. Initially attracting a thousand or two visitors, it also grew to draw well over 10,000 people over the course of a full weekend, becoming a much-anticipated highlight of the year among Taiwanese and foreign residents and visitors.
As noted above, a highlight from the very beginning has been a broad variety of vendors, mostly local restaurants, cafes, bars, stores, artists and organizations. A typical eclectic mix of food on offer includes everything from all-American fare like burgers, steaks and pizza and international fare from India, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Spain and elsewhere, to more local Taiwanese-style delicacies. Official Festival Beer Sponsor Taiwan Beer will continue offering its full range of very reasonably-priced beers (including an all-new product) while other vendors’ beverage options will include all manner of mixed drinks and ciders, not to mention plenty of non-alcoholic soft drinks, teas and juices. Among non-food/drink vendors are an interesting mix of local artists, retailers and organizations, including animal-protection groups, International Women’s Association of Taichung, and international schools.
Another key reason that Compass Festival attracts and keeps visitors on site is arguably the best line-up of Taichung live music found anywhere. Bands and artists range across a variety of perennial crowd-pleasers that have performed almost every year to all-new acts taking to the Compass Festival stage for the first time, all playing a mix of genres that includes classic rock, punk, funk, jazz, blues and country-and-western.
Compass Festival is only possible with the support of its Official Sponsors and, besides Taiwan Beer and UNO Market, other sponsors this year include faithful Festival supporter World Gym and first-time sponsor E-Make.
As always, Compass Festival is free and open to the public, so come prepared to browse your way through the vendors repeatedly and stick around UNO Market for two days of unrivalled food, drink, music and entertainment. Most vendors will begin selling from around 12 noon to 1 p.m. on both days and live music will continue from that time up until about 10 p.m. Organizers are preparing rain/shade tents and, barring a typhoon, the event will continue rain or shine.
UNO Market is located on Taiwan Boulevard between Top City Department Store (251, Taiwan Blvd., Sec. 3, Xitun District) and the HuiZhong Road intersection. For the most recent updates on the 2018 Compass Festival and more information, check the “Compass Fest 2018” Facebook event page.

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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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