The 2019 Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival organized by the National Center for Traditional Arts successfully concluded on Oct. 13. The festival was true to its theme of "Celebrating for the Land: Dialogue between Countryside Festivals and Intangible Cultural Heritage," and provided the audience with a great cultural experience and better understanding of the beauty of humanity's intangible cultural assets.
The festival invited music and performance groups — whose traditional folk arts were recognized by the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity — from India, Georgia, South Korea, and Vietnam to perform in Taiwan. It was the first time these foreign groups and artisans have visited Taiwan, and the first time that Vietnam's traditional Quan ho songs were ever performed in Taiwan.
The festival, which was held at the National Center for Traditional Arts' Yilan Park, staged a total of 27 stage performances, 17 immersive performances, and 18 hands-on workshops in addition to hosting artisanal exhibitions and creative bazaars. The festival lasted for nine days and welcomed nearly 40,000 participants and visitors.
On the evening of Oct. 9, an international friendship night was held in the style of Taiwan's characteristic "pan-toh" roadside banquet with specialty dishes of Yilan. Both Taiwanese and visiting artists participated in a warm and lively night at the Yilan Park's temple-themed plaza, enjoying cultural exchanges and creating new memories.
The roadside banquet is a distinctive part of Taiwanese culinary culture that was on full display during international friendship night. Outdoor canopy tents, stoves, tables, and seats were set up to recreate an authentic open-air setting, and the chef from a traditional restaurant in Luodong was invited to prepare many Yilan dishes with traditional flair.
NCFTA noted that for the past 18 years, the Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival has had different themes every year and invited many traditional folk performers and artisans accordingly from different Asia-Pacific countries to attend. As a way to thank the artists for coming all the way to Taiwan, the center would always plan a special Taiwanese-style feast with good food and performances to warmly welcome them, making the annual banquet a great opportunity to facilitate the exchange of cultures and foster greater international ties.