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Thousands of people passed through the third annual Sound Central festival – the only alternative arts and music festival, not only in Afghanistan, but the entire central asian region. We were lucky enough to play twice – once on women’s day and once on the third day of the festival with our brothers-in-arms, District Unknown, aka the only metal band in Afghanistan.
It was a challenge going on after the hometown favourites, DU with their brand of ultra-aggressive and infectious psychedelic-doom groove. The audience was tired out and left the auditorium for a well-earned break. But within two songs, we got them back.
You never know what the reaction might be from a group of (mostly) young men, who haven’t grown up going to gigs, let alone learned mosh pit etiquette or rocked out to a frontwoman, who isn’t provocative or girly, but in-your-face and energised. Perhaps surprisingly for some who don’t know Kabul, but not surprising to us, we received a hyped-up reception of jubilation and respect.
Sound Central is a safe environment where young people – musicians, artists, performers or just fans – can come and express themselves freely without judgement. In an often closed society, where perception is everything, this is something that’s lacking. There are no youth clubs here and young people are expected to become adults very quickly. Sound Central isn’t about changing Afghan culture, in fact it’s letting Afghans take the lead and tell the world what they want. It’s allowing us all to have options. It’s allowing us to see past the media bias and see this country as full of potential and fully paid-up members of the human race.
Enjoy the gallery.
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