Afghanistan Holds First Rock Concert in More Than Three Decades

Kabul Dreams was one of the bands that performed during the Sound Central festival.
Kabul Dreams was one of the bands that performed during the Sound Central festival.
 Kabul Dreams

For the first time in more than three decades, a live music festival took place in Afghanistan on Saturday.

The six-hour music festival, Sound Central, featured bands from Australia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. The event, held at the Babur Gardens, was a rare moment for the conservative Muslim country where music was outlawed under the Taliban regime.

This was not, however, your typical music festival. No alcohol was served, the only food available was kebabs, and the music stopped twice so that the call to prayer could be heard from nearby mosques, according to a report by Reuters. The music ranged from indie to blues and even death metal.

While the location of the event was kept secret until the very last minute to deter any acts of violence, more than 450 attended the festivities. Even since the Taliban was toppled in 2001 by the U.S.-backed Afghan forces, music still has a long was to go to acceptance by some. Music shops have been attacked in cities throughout the country.

"Rock and roll will change the world, and we hope it will change Afghanistan too,” the guitarist from the Uzbek band Tears of the Sun, Nikita Makapenko, told Reuters. “This is historic, and it's just the beginning."

An Australian photojournalist, Travis Beard, organized the event after he moved to Kabul and joined a band. He wanted to showcase the musical talents in the area.

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