Mayday Musical Mayhem: Picks and Guide to Beijing Music Festival 2012

I’m not buying this whole bullshit about the market being big enough for the onslaught of music festivals we’re getting over the next few days. It’s splitting and diluting the market, and in many cases, they are cannibalizing each other. Still, it’s too late to do anything about it so let’s try to deal with it! You can get the listings just about anywhere now and it’s recommended you keep checking because stuff changes all the time. News that Mos Def was replaced by He Yong just came down..
Below you’ll find a mini round out of it all with my picks…

May 1 belongs to Strawberry on the strength of XTX playing. It’s been too long since i’ve actually seen him kick some rock n roll booty! April 30 is Folk Festival day to catch good old Shanren play next to the house. Which leave us with MIDI on April 29.. I already planned for MIDI day 1 before Cui Jian was announced so for me, it’s like an icing on the cake.

2012 Strawberry Music Festival – Tongzhou Canal Park

from 4/29 to 5/1

Strawberry goes back to Tongzhou Canal Park after some initial speculation that they might not make it there. This year, they have bar none the best lineup as far as foreign and local bands alike. They’ve pretty much managed to sign everyone to play over the three days and they mean business. This year, they have spent a lot of time trying to get everyone on board regardless of musical taste. The Metal stage, long an oversight, boasts some impressive names including a return of Tomahawk, one of the original pioneers of Metal in China.
With 8 stages and over 150 bands signed on, expect them to attract the biggest crowds easily. If they manage to organize themselves nicely and not have any problems like last year with alcohol and/or gigantic cues to get it, it should be a success.

Day 1 Highlights: Hanggai, re-TROS, Zhou Yunpeng, Voodoo Kungfu, Blonde Redhead, New Pants, Twinkle Star, Army of Jade Kirin and Tomahawk amongst others..
Day 2 Highlights: Namo, Second hand Rose, A-Boys, Die From Sorrow, Tahiti 80, AV Okubo, Suffocated
Day 3 Highlights: Xie Tian Xiao, The On Fires, Fever Machine, Hedgehog, Laura Jensen, Brain Failure,
Full Schedule in English courtesy of TimeOut

Here’s looking at day 3 with big eyes: XTX almost never plays Beijing anymore and Fever Machine making a rare trip to Beijing. That’s my pick!

Tickets: You can score presale tickets from ¥60/day via, Tel: 400-610-3721. Or, buy tickets at the door. RMB 100 per day or RMB 240 for 3 Day Pass.
Getting there: Take the Batong Subway Line to Tongzhou Beiyuan. There, you will find Modern Sky free shuttle buses, which depart every 20-30 minutes between 10am and 6pm. Return buses are available every 20 minutes from 6-10:30 pm with the last bus at 10:30pm. Alternatively, you can take a cab to Tongzhou Canal Park (通州运河公园) from the Tongzhou Beiyuan stop for about RMB30.

2012 MIDI Music Festival – Shunyi Olympic Rowing park

from 4/29 to 5/1

As much as Strawberry appeals to the cool crowd, MIDI stands alone holding the flag for rock n roll. It inspires passion, understanding, pureness and it’s just overall a great atmosphere year in year out. You come to MIDI because you want to rock out, rain or shine and you will be counted among those standing at the front screaming and headbanging out loud no matter who is playing. This year, they’ve been frustrating to say the least as far as lineups, venues etc.. Finally, it’s pretty much all setup and we’re gonna go explore the confines of Shunyi so let the villa housewives beware.. the dirty dogs of rock n roll are coming to town. The lineup is an ever changing mixed bag of names but one thing is sure, it’s a Yaogun MIDI, Chinese flavored all the way. 2 days till kickoff, we’re still in uncertainty with Mos Def cancelling, He Yong and Cui Jian added to the bill and a lot of chatter about Dou Wei coming out of semi-retirement. Talking about Cui Jian, this will be the first time ever that the godfather of yaogun plays the granddady of festivals… wow! Try to not miss Israel’s Useless ID.. they’rea solid bunch.
The MIDI crew finds a way to get things done in the end so I’ll trust them any day of the week.

Day 1 Highlights: Cui Jian, Yaksa, Useless ID, Suffocated, La Souris Deglinguee, Zuo You, Slap
Day 2 Highlights: He Yong, Muma, Voodoo Kungfu, Hao Yun, Residence A, CMCB
Day 3 highlights: SUBS, Miserable Faith, Arcane Saints, Amazing Insurance Salesmen, S.A.W. Nasser

Day 2, even without Mos Def, is one hell of a solid lineup. That said, I’m stuck on day 1 for my dose of MIDI. Seeing Cui Jian headline that puppy should be priceless. If XTX was not over on the other side of town, I would pick day 3 as a hell of fun because Miserable Faith knows how to rock a MIDI crowd. and this year, with emotiosn riding high, the crowd should be intense.

Tickets: RMB 100 per day pre-sale; RMB 120 per day at entrance; RMB 240 for a 3-day pass
Get there: Take subway Line 15 to Fengbo Station, then take the Midi shuttle bus (bus stops outside the subway exit) to the park.

Dong Party Folk Festival – Ditan Park

From 4/30 to 5/1

This just happens to be my favorite festival in Beijing. heads and shoulders above all the others… it’s set in a park, you can sit on the grass, pic nic your way on a sunny day without monster amounts of trouble. This year, much like before, there is an eclectic and diverse set of bands playing over the two days in Ditan park. The beauty of this one is how convenient it is. oh and sure, the music is good with the usual suspects hanging out like Shanren, Dolan, Buyi, Lidong and the Randy Able Stable. With one stage, you don’t have to run around from spot to spot and can pretty much just relax on your ass all day. My biggest complaint is that these guys went and did this the same time as the other festivals.. I would have loved to enjoy both days in peace.

day 1 Highlights: Shanren, Dolan, Randy Abel Stable, Xiao He, Zhang Si’an
day 2 highlights: Lidong, Yerboli, Buyi, Traveler

I have not seen Shanren in some time do it’s day 1 for me.. a nice change of pace from Midi day 1 and Strawberry day3. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates.

Tickets: RMB 60 per day pre-sale; RMB 80 per day at entrance; RMB 50 for students, RMB 120 for 2-day pass
Get there: Ditan Park (地坛公园); take subway line 2 to Lama Temple or Andingmen station.

MMAX Chaoyang International Festival – Chaoyang Sports Center

From 4/29 to 5/1

the way it’s looking, MMAX is a three-day, all domestic line up, including Queen Sea Big Shark, Miserable Faith, Carsick Cars, Hedgehog, Hanggai, Hao Yun, The Life Journey, New Pants, Pop duo Yu Quan and Hong Kong popstar Huang Yaoming. This one really comes out of left field but tell you what folks, it’s downtown and that counts for a lot considering how hard it is to move around this town on holidays.

Tickets: RMB 60 per day pre-sale; RMB 80 per day at entrance; RMB 120 2-day pass
Pre-sale Online:
Get There: Take subway line 2 to Dongsishitiao, walk to Dongsi Qiao Dong and take the 758 to Pingfang Xikou. You can also just take a cab to Chaoyang Tiyu Zhongxin (朝阳体育中

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1 Response

  1. April 27, 2012

    […] to do. This set of quickslants is just for the regular shows in the clubs/venues. Here is the my guide and list of picks for the May Mayhem of Festival that i’ve done separately . Shall we get […]