First Rock Concert in 30 Years Rocks Afghanistan

By IBTimes Staff Reporter | Oct 02, 2011

Afghanistan was the venue for a live rock ‘n’ roll music festival Saturday for the first time in three long decades.

Hundreds of young men and women came together for an extravaganza featuring local and international acts.

On the menu of the six-hour musical feast, Sound Central, were sounds ranging from blues to electronica and from indie rock to death metal. Bands on the bill hailed from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Australia, and Afghanistan itself.

Sound Central was held at the Babur Gardens in Kabul. It was something new and rare for the conservative Muslim country where music was prohibited under the strict Taliban rule.

Even today, several music shops are attacked in some cities in Afghanistan, while musicians are taunted for their manner of dress and hair style.

However, the music festival in Afghanistan was unlike concert in Western countries. No alcohol was allowed, and kebabs were the only snacks served.

The music was also stopped twice and bands left the stage in the late afternoon so that the prayer call could be heard from nearby mosques, Reuters reported.

“Where I live, there’s nothing like this. I heard about it, so I had to come. I came to escape the cancer of the Taliban, and this makes a refreshing change,” Ahmad Shah, a visitor from Kandahar, told Reuters.

The location of the concert was kept secret until almost the last moment to avoid any violence or protest. More than 450 people attended the concert.

“Rock and roll will change the world, and we hope it will change Afghanistan too. This is historic, and it’s just the beginning,” Nikita Makapenko, guitarist for the Uzbek band Tears of the Sun, told Reuters.

People who attended the concert were dancing and jumping toward the stage and thrusting their arms into the air to the sound of local band White Page.

The concert was organized by Travis Beard, an Australian photojournalist. Beard, who moved to Kabul and joined a band, wanted a platform to encourage musical talent there.

Stealth Festival

Afghans cheer during Sound Central, a one-day “stealth festival” in Kabul October 1, 2011. Sound Central, the one-day “stealth festival” that organisers hope will draw 1,000 to 2,000 young Afghans, is the first music festival the country has seen since it plunged into three decades of violence in the late 1970s. In a country where music was banned for years under the austere Taliban regime, the festival is a daring venture which has been publicized largely by word of mouth, an

Source: Reuters

Stealth Festival

An Afghan rock musician performs in front of a cheering crowd during Sound Central, a one-day “stealth festival” in Kabul October 1, 2011. Sound Central, the one-day “stealth festival” that organisers hope will draw 1,000 to 2,000 young Afghans, is the first music festival the country has seen since it plunged into three decades of violence in the late 1970s. In a country where music was banned for years under the austere Taliban regime, the festival is a daring venture which has been publicized largely by word of mouth, and the date has been kept deliberately vague. Messages revealing the time and venue will go out to music fans only on the morning of the event.

Source: Reuters

Stealth Festival

Australian Travis Beard performs during Sound Central, a one-day “stealth festival” in Kabul October 1, 2011. Sound Central, the one-day “stealth festival” that organisers hope will draw 1,000 to 2,000 young Afghans, is the first music festival the country has seen since it plunged into three decades of violence in the late 1970s. In a country where music was banned for years under the austere Taliban regime, the festival is a daring venture which has been publicized largely by word of mouth, and the date has been kept deliberately vague. Messages revealing the time and venue will go out to music fans only on the morning of the event.

Source: Reuters

Stealth Festival

Afghan rock musician Sulyman Qardosh from the band Kabul Dreams performs during Sound Central, a one-day “stealth festival” in Kabul October 1, 2011. Sound Central, the one-day “stealth festival” that organisers hope will draw 1,000 to 2,000 young Afghans, is the first music festival the country has seen since it plunged into three decades of violence in the late 1970s. In a country where music was banned for years under the austere Taliban regime, the festival is a daring venture which has been publicized largely by word of mouth, and the date has been kept deliberately vague. Messages revealing the time and venue will go out to music fans only on the morning of the event.

Source: Reuters

Stealth Festival

Afghan rock artistes tune their instruments during Sound Central, a one-day “stealth festival” in Kabul October 1, 2011. Sound Central, the one-day “stealth festival” that organisers hope will draw 1,000 to 2,000 young Afghans, is the first music festival the country has seen since it plunged into three decades of violence in the late 1970s. In a country where music was banned for years under the austere Taliban regime, the festival is a daring venture which has been publicized largely by word of mouth, and the date has been kept deliberately vague. Messages revealing the time and venue will go out to music fans only on the morning of the event.

Source: Reuters

Stealth Festival

Tears of the Sun, a rock band from Uzbekistan, performs during an underground pre-rock festival concert in Kabul September 27, 2011. Afghans are used to having their days broken by a burst of gunfire or the boom of an explosion. But the barrage of drumming, bass beats and amped-up guitar solos that will hit the city next week may stop many in their tracks. Sound Central, a one-day “stealth festival” that organisers hope will draw 1,000 to 2,000 young Afghans, will be the first music festival the country has seen since it plunged into three decades of violence in the late 1970s. Picture taken September 27, 2011.

Source: Reuters

Stealth Festival

Afghans attend Sound Central, a one-day “stealth festival” in Kabul October 1, 2011. Sound Central, the one-day “stealth festival” that organisers hope will draw 1,000 to 2,000 young Afghans, is the first music festival the country has seen since it plunged into three decades of violence in the late 1970s. In a country where music was banned for years under the austere Taliban regime, the festival is a daring venture which has been publicized largely by word of mouth, and the date has been kept deliberately vague. Messages revealing the time and venue will go out to music fans only on the morning of the event.

Source: Reuters


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