LUCFest going live this November
Evan Murray talked to Weining Hung, Festival Director of LUCFest.
LUCfest is a showcase festival and music conference in Taiwan that aims to connect with the rest of Asia and the global music industry.
Hope all is well, and everyone around you is keeping well. Could you tell us what the current status is, for your festival? Possible to give us an insight of how things have been shaping up at your end?
Thankfully myself and the team are all well and healthy. Taiwan had our first Covid case in January. At that time we were really not sure what to expect, and neither did the rest of the world.
We were very lucky that Taiwan took the early measures to stop a massive outbreak. Now restrictions are less strict, and it feels like life is heading back to normal. We learned recently that there will be no capacity restrictions for events, including festivals! Of course the situation can change anytime, but we stay quite positive about it.
It almost feels surreal, but we recently announced the festival dates for the latter part of this year for November 27th-29th. Our team is very excited to get this started.
What are some of the biggest challenges the festival is facing right now?
As a showcase festival, the international elements are crucial. At this stage, it’s physically difficult to include international aspects as the quarantine restrictions still apply. In Taiwan, we are known for introducing emerging artists, especially the international ones. If we aren’t able to include international artists, then everyone at LUCfest (us included) will really miss it.
For Taiwanese Artists, they may not be able to hang out and learn from industry professionals from abroad. However, we’ll be arranging it for international guests to be there digitally; but it still will not be the same compared to having them here at the festival.
What are the plans in place, in case the scenario repeats ?
We were evaluating quite a few options back in March, the chance of pursuing LUCfest this year was slim. Everyday we are still carefully monitoring the situation. As it is very likely that many of our international friends cannot join us in Taiwan, we hope to have a hybrid model this year.
We have attended a few online festivals and conferences. To be honest, there is still no perfect option for us. Nothing is even close to the live experience. Even tools like VR and augmented reality are still not market ready yet. So far, the one I like most is the live online Marshmello concert in Fortnite, which emphasizes the excitement in it! If we are forced to do something in the future, I hope at least it will be fun!
What are the changes you expect in the music industry, with this virus situation at hand ?
We’ve all realised that the current business model of the music industry is very fragile. Without live gigs/concerts/tours, there is not much income for the artists. In the same circle, promoters, venues and the production teams that work for festivals get the short end of the stick. No live, no pay.
For short term changes, promoters and festivals will probably insert more protective terms in booking contracts to lower any possibilities of losing money/revenue. In the worst case scenario, we have companies like Live Nation considering 20% pay cuts to Artists, and even tweaking cancellation terms that burden the Artist. Even if this is one company, it has a huge impact on the livelihood of Artists, as much of the revenue is made during tours and shows.
As music trends roll, do you have any predictions of what's coming next? From your point of view, where is the live music industry headed?
I think this article says a lot. The business model is not healthy, but it is also the nature of the live music industry. The experience is still so difficult to be replaced. No digital or online solution seems to be even close to the real live experience.
Any comments or open thoughts?
At this point it seems nothing is for certain. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to fall into sleepless nights, with your head spinning with negative thoughts.
I believe it’s important to practice two things. One is to focus more on the NOW. The seed for tomorrow Is right now and the future is what’s happening around us right now. It’s important to live in the moment. And to appreciate the present.
Second thing I encourage to practice is to be kind to yourself and the people surrounded by me. I don't always need to find a solution for everything, the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it. To me, that is enough.
EVAN MURRAY is Event Co-ordinator at Live at Heart, Newfoundland, Export Development Officer at Vision 360 (Canada) and Canadian Coordinator at Live at Heart, Sweden. He is also International Music Consultant at Wonderwall Media, India.