Ma lauds Chiayi City for expanding band festival


TAIPEI — Large crowds of local residents took to the streets of Chiayi City yesterday in a jubilant atmosphere as part of programs of an annual international band festival that opened on Christmas Eve.

In an address to open the large-scale parade, President Ma Ying- jeou said the annual event, coupled with features of the Chiayi area, has become a stage that has helped attract global attention to Taiwan.

“Chiayi serves as the best example of how a city can display its soft power,” Ma said.

Chiayi City in southern Taiwan has since 1993 sponsored the band festival every year. This year, 64 bands from home and abroad, including countries such as China, Germany, Japan and Thailand, will stage 73 performances at the festival that will run until Jan. 2.

The festival theme this year will be extended from “festival activities” into five characteristics — art, education, entertainment, memory and society, the organizers said.