Yup folks, it’s only a few short weeks away!
We’ve had a lovely edition of Jue Festival last month. We’re in the middle of Ephemeral feast (I won’t call it a festival yet) and with May holidays approaching, it’s time to look at what the big boys have in store.
Strawberry in Tongzhou
Boy did they piss me off last year but they apparently got their act together. They’re the first ones to have a full schedule ready to go ( See Here ) this year and it’s not looking bad at all.
I really like the lineups they’ve got worked out, especially on the Strawberry Stage! Day 1 sees reTROS, Miserable Faith as well as XTX headlining. Day 2 has Omnipotent Youth Society, Queen Sea Big Shark and Shanghai’s Fever Machine. Day 3 sees Cui Jian himself close things up with help from Hanggai. I appears I was looking at the Suzhou edition when writing this but most of it is still relevant. He Yong is in instead of Cui Jian, but unfortunately no Fever Machine. We will get Top Floor Circus from Shanghai along with XTX, reTROS, QSBS etc…. still, a solid offering at the price they’re doing it.
I like the emphasis on good quality music from China! I’m just really afraid of the organizers fucking things up again….
MIDI at Jinglangdao Park
Not sure what’s happening on there folks. As I expected, they had a few issues with Haidian Park and relocated to a new venue. This might pose some logistical challenges but MIDI has the experience! Mr. Big is the big name of the year with the usual suspects also appearing. Yaksa, Miserable Faith, Voodoo Kungfu etc… Thin Man joins the ranks this year along with a lot of younger bands like The Ghost Spardac, Velvet Highway and More.
As far as Foreign bands go, other than Mr. Big, we’re mostly looking at mid-bill acts with Spain’s Audio’s Pain, Germany’s Gammalux and Holland’s Ming Pretty Heroes standing out. There’s no schedule yet and probably a few more bands to be added to the bill… we’ll just have to wait and see! So far, nothing would make me want to head over that far, not for just Mr. Big.
China Music Valley @ Pingu
There’s some obvious money put behind this one! The artists are on the younger side of the spectrum, with obvious appeal to the younger generation. This is a pop show with Avril Lavigne, Ladytron, Hot Hot Heat, Editors, Juliette Lewis and Free the Birds amongst others. A things stand, this is my least favorite lineup music-wise and the one I’m least likely to check out. Honestly, I have no idea what to expect out of these guys! Getting those artists to come over does show that they have backing and pull but would that translate to a pleasing experience.
Rock In China Wiki is at the moment THE BEST resource on all the Festivals in Beijing and even outside of Beijing
Overall, I’m almost sad to say that the Modern Sky offering is, ON PAPER (or screen), beating the other two hands down as far as musical offerings and lineups. Cui Jian, XTX and QSBS are all worthy of headlining and play rarely enough in Beijing to make it worth my admission ticket. MIDI is one for the heart and I’m still gonna wait on that final schedule to come out before making up my mind. I hope a lot of folks make it to Pingu and make it worthwhile for the organizers, however, I’m pretty positive I won’t be one of them.
On another note, with so many Shanghai bands coming up for the festival, why doesn’t one of the organizers try and put together a Shanghai Showcase in Beijing? Fever Machine, Pinkberry and Duck Fight Goose on the same bill? I’d pay some money to see that at Yugong, Mao Live or 2 Kolegas, easily…. heck 2 Kolegas is pretty close to Tongzhou where all of them are playing…