write up: the refuge

Peace and love is alive and well in Taichung. The city has it’s very own commune complete with militant hippies and music makers, The Refuge.


We visited The Refuge on Sunday, up in the Dakeng mountains, for Scott Cook’s Hobo Happiness, who played with a number of other bands. It started at 2 pm but we got there at about 4 pm. The place is literally a huge old mansion that the current residents took over about 10 years ago. It seems as though it was once a gated community for the rich, but apparently everyone moved out when the big 1999 earthquake struck. There was a lot of damage done to the Dakeng area and people got scared.

The Refuge describe themselves on Facebook as a place that “provides Creative Outlets for both seasoned and budding Artists, Musicians, Bohemians & Truth Seekers to come explore, create and make new connections with others.”

The party was in the backyard, which has it’s own bar and lots of homemade seating and tables. There was a BBQ going on down the back and what looked like the old living room had been made into a stage, open to the backyard. There weren’t too many people there when we arrived and we managed to find a great posy in the trees near the bar. It was a beautiful warm day, perfect for drinking beer in dappled shade and chilling to some rocky blues.

We stayed for a couple of hours, leaving when the music changed from blues to country western. Country music is really not my thing and I gave it a go but ended up having to depart to preserve my ears and dignity. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other chilled Sunday events at this place. Generally I vie away from such 60s revival scenes, but I’ve decided this place will have to be an exception to my rule.

The Refuge hosts a ton of events throughout the year and also organises a number of festivals at other locations. Keep an eye on their Facebook page. Contact them here for address details.

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