4 Oct 2011

Rock festival held in Kabul

9:40 am on 4 October 2011

Afghanistan has seen its first rock festival for more than 30 years.

And the event was organised by an Australian. The ABC reports Sound Central was held in Kabul on Saturday, complete with heavy bass beats and punk rock.

Bands from Australia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan played the blues, indie, electronica and death metal for six-hour to hundreds of fans, many of whom had never seen live music before.

The ABC reports the festival was something new in a deeply conservative Muslim country where music was banned under the austere Taliban regime.

Even now music shops are attacked in some cities and musicians taunted for their clothes or hair.

The festival retained a distinctly Afghan accent, with alcohol banned, kebabs the only snacks and a respect for strong religious values amid the rock and roll.

Bands left the stage and the microphones were turned off twice in the late afternoon to allow the call to prayer to sound out uninterrupted from nearby mosques.

Photojournalist Travis Beard held workshops before the festival to nurture the local talent showcased by Sound Central, and underground concerts to build the buzz and help bands rehearse.