Afghanistan: First Rock Festival In Thirty Years Hits Kabul

10/04/2011 04:14 pm 16:14:39 | Updated Dec 04, 2011

The date had been kept a closely guarded secret, and so had the venue. Yet guided by text messages, at least 400 people found their way to attend Afghanistan's first rock festival in thirty years.

The Sound Central rock festival brought together bands from Australia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan in Kabul to perform in different locations throughout the Afghan capital.

On Saturday, an exuberant crowd gathered at Kabul's Babur Gardens. "Where I live, there's nothing like this. I heard about it so I had to come," Ahmad Shah from Kandahar told Reuters.

Travis Beard, an American photojournalist who joined a rock band while working in Kabul, came up with the idea of a music festival in Afghanistan. As Reuters reports, the American was inspired by the talent and dedication of local musicians.

"The real, bottom-line aim of this festival is to ignite youth to be interested in modern music," Beard told The Guardian.

Sound Central is the first festival of its kind organized in Afghanistan in over three decades, as performing music was banned under the Taliban and rock was considered an unwanted western influence.

"Four or five years ago all this could only have been a dream," District Unknown lead vocalist Kassim told the BBC. District Unknown is one of Afghanistan's first rock bands. "You wouldn't even be able to dream it up actually. Having a rock festival, people gathering, girls and boys together and listening to this music and headbanging. But this week it's happening," Kassim added.

Watch video from the festival below:

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