Midi Pity, Strawberry City

Posted by Pete DeMola on 17. Apr 2009

While once a mighty May Day institution that for many, marked the official launch of the summer season, it appears that the capital city's involvement with the Midi Music Festival has been reduced to a mere weekend gig, 2009 Beijing Midi Night, scheduled to go down at local venue Star Live from Apr 30 to May 3.

For those unfamiliar with Midi, the three-day festival organized by China's only rock school, the Beijing Midi School of Music, was a influential cultural force through the past decade; one in which ten of thousands of fans flocked from all over the country to gather in Haidian Park, where Western bands exposed this country's youth to new sounds, domestic acts thrashed, and the rest of us poked around in flea markets, reconnected with old friends and consumed many, many cups of beer from plastic cups under the blistering early-May sun.

Those days are over -- at least under the Midi banner. We're not surprised, considering the "on again, off again" circus that unfolded last September regarding the festival's autumn counterpart, as well as municipal government hand-wringing over this upcoming season of dubious anniversaries.

In any case, while Beijing audiences are stuck with a lineup of unknown Western metal outfits as a source of axe-slinging entertainment (1970s Canadian Camero rock, anyone?) the official Midi experience has been relocated to Zhenjiang, a small city located about two hours south of Shanghai, on behest of that city's cultural authorities.

There, from May 1-3, festival-goers will get a dose of 18 Chinese bands -- including local legends Thin Man, Yaksa, Spring & Autumn, Reflector and SUBS -- in addition to about a dozen foreign acts and electronic luminaries Ben Huang, Mickey Zhang and @llen.

We're eager to receive reports from any of our Shanghai/Zhenjiang members who attend, so be sure to keep us updated on your experiences, whether be through photos, articles, comments -- or anything else.

Full schedule (Beijing only):

Thurs, Apr 30: Hollerado (9pm), Priestess (10pm), The Stills (11pm)
Fri, May 1: Gammalux (9pm), Jets Overhead (10pm), So Called (11pm)
Sat, May 2: Army of Freshman (9pm), Bonk (10pm), Bling Sight (11pm)
Sun, May 3: 零壹 (9pm), Mike TV (10pm), Turdus Musicus (11pm)

WHEN: Apr 30 to May 3
WHERE: The Star Live (79 Hepingli Xijie, Dongcheng)
TICKETS: Available at piao.com.cn, or by calling 400-810-3721, 5860-1088 or 6417-7845 (English).
FOR PEOPLE WHO: Like dark places, enjoy lackluster foreign heavy metal, can't afford the trip to Zhenjiang.

Strawberry Music Festival ‘09

Here in Beijing, independent record label Modern Sky has filled in the outdoor festival gap via their first annual Strawberry Music Festival, which will run from May 1-3 in Tongzhou Canal Park, about 12 miles east of CBD.

"The Strawberry Festival promises to be three days of music, clean air (hopefully) and unexpected love," said Modern Sky Founder Shen Lihui in an email message. "It will be a great springtime event."

Headlining acts include experimental indie American hipsters Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu, as well as about 60 additional artists spread across three stages, with a heavy emphasis on the indie rock side of the sonic spectrum.

Local heavyweights Brain Failure, Hedgehog, Casino Demon and Re-TROS, among others, will perform at the eco-friendly festival, as well as an all-star lineup of local electronic-flavored acts, including LIman, Sulumi, Dead J and Pet Conspiracy.

The festival, spread across 1,000,000 square meters, is slated to become an annual spring event along with the Modern Sky Music Festival, which is scheduled, god willing, to take place each October.

Full schedule: The full lineup, sans exact performance times, can be viewed here.

WHEN: May 1 to 3
WHERE: Tongzhou Canal Park
TICKETS: Three day passes for the event are limited to 3,000 and will go for 180 RMB (available until Apr 27). Daily entry: 80 RMB. Comprehensive information can be found here.
FOR PEOPLE WHO: Enjoy a festival atmosphere, dig sunshine, smiles and appreciate independent music and youth culture.


Bus: Routes 322, 342, 728, 938 to Fourth Ring Road, 938 9 Road, Dongguan Bridge bus station; from Subway Line 1, exit at Sihui. Transfer to 322 at Dongguan Bridge Station; from Guomao (Line 1) to 938 Dongguan Bridge Station.



D-22 3rd Year Anniversary Party

As if there wasn't enough to entertain music lovers over the extended holiday weekend, live music haven and creative sonic hub D-22 will celebrate their third anniversary from Apr 30 to May 4 with a blowout lineup of over 20 bands and musicians spread across four consecutive nights.

If you can only make it out for one day -- particularly if you're curious to check out Beijing's brightest young rising stars -- we recommend absorbing the mighty triumvirate of 24 Hours, Ourself Beside Me and Scoff on Thurs, Apr 30.

Full schedule:

Thurs, Apr 30: The Lone, Molds, 24 Hours, Scoff and Ourself Beside Me.
60/40 RMB (students)

Fri, May 1: Carsick Cars, Gar, Rouge Transmission (Shanghai), The Offset: Spectacles.
80/60 RMB (students)

Sat, May 2: Joyside, Guai Li, AV Okubo, You Mei You, Strange Power (怪力) and Fading Horizon.
80/60 RMB (students)

Sun, May 3: Liu Kun (刘堃), Wu Tun (吴吞), Zhou Yunpeng (周云蓬), Xiao He (小河) and Zhao Laoda (赵老大).
60/40 RMB (students)

WHEN: Apr 30 to May 4, 10pm
WHERE: D-22 (242 Chengfu Lu, Wudaokou)
TICKETS: Available at door only; exact prices above.
FOR PEOPLE WHO: Love rock and roll, feel comfortable in an intimate and raucous atmosphere and enjoy engaging in drunken antics.

DJs Don't Dance

And if C-List metal, outdoor festivals and watching ferocious young Beijingers hammer away on their guitars isn't your cup of tea, White Rabbit also has a few May Day tricks hidden away down the rabbithole via their two-night showcase of quality underground electronic artists.

Full schedule:

Fri, May 1: Acupuncture's Weng Weng, Bai Cai's Big Max, Ben Huang (Yellow) and Ouyang.
Sat, May 2: Huang Weiwei, Jonas, Eddie LV and Shen Yue.

WHEN: May 1 to 2, 11pm
WHERE: White Rabbit (29 Lucky Street, Chaoyang West)
TICKETS: 60 RMB at the door
FOR PEOPLE WHO: Like to shake their ass, enjoy quality electronic music and watching the sun rise.

Photo: Concert-goers kick back at the 2007 Midi Music Festival. Courtesy of Flickr user miscellaneous chemistry.

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