Mon, April 23, 2012
CityGuide > Events

Summer music preview

2012-04-23 08:14:44 GMT2012-04-23 16:14:44(Beijing Time)  City Weekend

INTRO Beijing Electronic Music Festival

INTRO Beijing Electronic Music Festival

Spring has only just arrived, but Beijing’s party people already have an awesome summer planned for you. Starting with the May holiday and going all the way to Black Rabbit in September, this season will be jam-packed with festivals, parties and music of all persuasions. So get on your outdoor dancing shoes and get ready for the best summer ever.

May

Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Festival

There’s no bigger or better party on May Day than Modern Sky’s Strawberry Festival, which three years into its tenure has established itself as the destination for Beijing’s hippest music geeks and most dedicated fashionistas. But there’s more than nubile young hipsters to see here—this year’s festival boasts a veritable pantheon of respected Chinese bands, ranging from rock legends like Xie Tian Xiao and Second-Hand Rose to established underground acts like Carsick Cars and Queen Sea Big Shark. There’s something for everyone here if you know which stages to hit. Come on the first day to catch big-name acts like Hanggai, New Pants and U.S. returnees Blonde Redhead. While somewhat less action-packed, the second day boasts homegrown favorites Nanwu and Traveler, along with Wuhan dance-punk troupe AV Okubo and one of Beijing’s oldest punk bands, the A Boys. Best for our money is day three, when you can catch indie idols Carsick Cars and Hedgehog, along with Hong Kong’s King Lychee, old-school rockers Brain Failure and electro-pop wizards Pitchtuner. Just make sure to get there early and have your schedule at the ready: with a staggering eight stages, this year’s Strawberry will be the biggest festival in Chinese rock history.

Details: April 29-May 1, Tongzhou Canal Park, tickets ¥70-100 per day, ¥240 for three days, available at www.mlive.me

MIDI Music Festival


There’s no bigger or better party on May Day than Modern Sky’s Strawberry Festival, which three years into its tenure has established itself as the destination for Beijing’s hippest music geeks and most dedicated fashionistas. But there’s more than nubile young hipsters to see here—this year’s festival boasts a veritable pantheon of respected Chinese bands, ranging from rock legends like Xie Tian Xiao and Second-Hand Rose to established underground acts like Carsick Cars and Queen Sea Big Shark. There’s something for everyone here if you know which stages to hit. Come on the first day to catch big-name acts like Hanggai, New Pants and U.S. returnees Blonde Redhead. While somewhat less action-packed, the second day boasts homegrown favorites Nanwu and Traveler, along with Wuhan dance-punk troupe AV Okubo and one of Beijing’s oldest punk bands, the A Boys. Best for our money is day three, when you can catch indie idols Carsick Cars and Hedgehog, along with Hong Kong’s King Lychee, old-school rockers Brain Failure and electro-pop wizards Pitchtuner. Just make sure to get there early and have your schedule at the ready: with a staggering eight stages, this year’s Strawberry will be the biggest festival in Chinese rock history. Details: April 29-May 1, Tongzhou Canal Park, tickets ¥70-100 per day, ¥240 for three days, available at www.mlive.me

MIDI Music Festival

 

MIDI Music Festival MIDI Music Festival MIDI Music Festival MIDI Music Festival 

If you’re looking for three days of soundtracked picnicking in the sun, look elsewhere. MIDI is the real deal: a no-frills rock fest for old school music lovers. This year, MIDI moves to Shunyi, after last year’s hiatus in southwest Beijing. This year’s festival will boast an increased focus on young local bands over big-name acts (though Vans is slated to sponsor a major American band, which at the time of writing remains unconfirmed). Part of this push can be seen in the new Qing Stage, which, organizers say will be dedicated to “supporting the new generation of young Chinese bands.” The stage will feature the winners from MIDI’s band competition last year, along with young bands who applied to play on Weibo. The festival is also pushing a slightly edgier side of youth culture this year as they unveil some new stations focused on skateboarding and street culture activities. Meanwhile, the hippie contingent will be represented by a partnership with Greenpeace and the Asian Animal Fund, which we can only hope will result in another sweet poster of a moon bear giving the rock-on sign. Details: April 29-May 1, Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park, tickets ¥100 for one day, ¥240 for three-day pass, available at damai.cn. Ditan Folk Festival If you need an antidote to the high-octane intensity of the early May festivals, head over to Ditan Park for two days of folk rock relaxation. There are a lot of reasons to love the Ditan Folk Festival, not the least of which is that it’s actually inside the city, and doesn’t require army-style strategic planning to enjoy. In contrast to bigger festivals, Ditan is compact and features only one stage, which means all you have to do is kick back and relax. As with every year, they're hosting some of China’s biggest folk acts, with Shanren, Xiao He, Dolan and Buyi all on the two-day lineup. Details: April 30-May 1, Ditan Park, tickets ¥50 presale, ¥60-80 door, ¥120 for both days, available at select universities and Dong Party headquarters in Gulou. Check their Douban for details. Hanggai Music Festival With internationally renowned world music acts, a dynamite sound system and even a deluxe couples’ package including hotel room, dinner and breakfast, the Hanggai Music Fest is a party for grownups. Started in 2010, the festival has positioned itself as the older, more cultured uncle to the May Day extravaganzas, advertising itself as a “high-end” platform for Chinese music and culture. The two-day event features an international roster of folk and world-music acts that would make any NPR announcer proud. In addition to organizers Hanggai, the fest will also include Xinjiang folk collective the Dolan Soul Orchestra, Memphis soul/Arabic folk fusion group Yemen Blues, Indian dance troupe Rhythm of Rajasthan and more. Details: May 5-6, Mako Live House, tickets ¥150 one day presale, ¥200 one day, ¥300 two days, ¥500 VIP including upstairs seating and free-flow wine. Tickets available from damai.cn. China Music Valley Festival This event is always announced late as late can be, but it's always got surprise heavy hitters in the lineup. Last year saw Avril Lavigne, Ladytron and Hot Hot Heat, but this year they're kicking it up a notch, introducing the recently re-formed Jesus And Mary Chain, blues princess Joss Stone and Friendly Fires, just to name a few. Pinggu might be a bit of a hike, but we're not sure we need any more info than that to buy pre-sale tickets. Details: May 18-20, Yuyang International Ski Resort in Pinggu, tickets TBA Beijing Blues Festival Blues community builders CD Blues Cafe & Bar host the Beijing Blues Festival for the second time this year. The main draw is Shun Kikuta and Funky, who have played for big names like Junior Wells and James Cotton, but we're also excited to see the Chinese godfather of rock, Cui Jian, guest starring alongside one of Beijing's foremost acts, Big John's Blues Band. This year, the event will be held at both CD Blues and new blues bar in town, C8B Joy Star Arts Center near 798 Art District. Details: May 25-27, CD Blues Café & Bar and C8B Joy Star Arts Center near 798 Art District, tickets and more info at www.bluesfestival.cn

INTRO Beijing Electronic Music FestivalINTRO Beijing Electronic Music Festival

Rumor had it that Beijing’s groundbreaking electronic music festival was no more. However, organizers Acupuncture Records have silenced doubters with an all-star international line-up, who will take the stage alongside the cream of China’s dance music community. Now in its fourth year, 2012’s INTRO promises to be even bigger, with the entire festival packed into one day of madness at 798’s D-Park. On the main stage, Acupuncture return to their roots with some of the world’s biggest names in techno, like Brazilian man-of-the-moment Gui Boratto and Swedish legend Christian Smith, as well as French house hero Anthony Collins and genre-spanning multimedia maestro Miguel Lopez Mora, aka Digital 21. Meanwhile, drum ‘n’ bass heavyweights The Syndicate and eclectic Beijing beat factory Metrowaves each take charge of their own dedicated stage. INTRO 2012 will be supported by a series of events in the preceding weeks, including a remix competition and a DJ/VJ workshop, all of which will be accessible online via official partner Tudou. Details: May 26, 751 D-Park, early-bird tickets ¥100, ¥300 door, available from Lantern Club and various other locations citywide.

June

 

Great Wall PartyGreat Wall Party
If Genghis Khan had been a DJ, this is the party he would have thrown. In the shadow of Badaling’s ancient Great Wall section, ravers party 'til sunrise across three stages of pure, triple-distilled electronic beats. Bass-freaks and electro-heads will find much to bounce to on the two support stages, while the main stage will be pumping out beats so loud that they’ll probably be audible from Gongti. Just don’t miss the bus home. Details: June 2, Badaling Ancient Wall, ticket and travel info TBA Great Aircraft Carrier Party Unlike the international media, we love to hear the words "China" and "aircraft carrier" in the same sentence. A couple hours’ merriment aboard the bus to Tianjin ensure that this party is always in full swing before it even arrives at this decommissioned Russian aircraft carrier (yes, you heard right, Beijing newcomers). Beijing’s electronic heavy-hitters will bring their finest tunes to the two stages on the boat’s main runway deck, accompanied by a Tianjin stage at the gangplank. Very likely the only party of its kind in the world, this is a rave to surprise even the ablest of seamen. Details: June 30, Binhai Aircraft Carrier, Tianjin, early-bird tickets ¥250, full price ¥300, ticket price includes transport to and from the party July Zhangbei InMusic Festival Further afield, InMusic festival truly tests how far music fans are willing to travel to see their favorite bands. Held in the grasslands of Zhangbei—more than two hours from Beijing by car—the festival is now in its fourth year, and though there have been complaints about mismanagement and disorganization (but what festival hasn't copped that), they still get nearly 10,000 people showing up for the affair. The lineup is largely Chinese acts, though last year brought Tricky headlining with Ill Nino and Buffalo Rome. Details: July, Zhangbei Central Grassland, tickets TBA Great Wall Beach Party Beijing’s longest-running outdoor dance music party is back for another night of sea, sand and smooth sounds. Pitching up at the gorgeous beach at Shanhaiguan, where the Great Wall meets the sea, it has established a reputation as the traditional closer to Beijing’s electronic music summer. Expect firedancers, an enormous crowd of beautiful bikini-and-boardshorts-clad ravers, and a wide range of electronic music from the city’s biggest names. Details: July TBA, Shanhaiguan Great Wall, ticket and travel info TBA August Modern Sky Festival Strawberry's end-of-year cousin, Modern Sky Festival will likely be held earlier this year, with tentative dates in August. Which at least means that we won't be shivering on a mountainside like last October. Modern Sky is as famous for its headliner acts as Strawberry, with Mogwai, The Go! Team and Camera Obscura all taking the Modern Stage in recent years. Expect something just as amazing this year. Details: August, location and tickets TBA Music Funhill Festival Organized by the Fangshan Central Shopping District Management Committee, this festival is out in the far-flung reaches of Beijing. Their first year brought Ian Brown (The Stone Roses), Zero 7 and Mr Hudson, though their second year wasn't quite as dazzling. But if you want to see some big Chinese acts—Re-TROS, Hedgehog, Longshendao, Miserable Faith and Deserts Zhang were all on the 2011 lineup—and get away from the city, this is your fest. Details: August/September, Wanmu Binhe Park in Fangshan, tickets TBA September

 

KAMA Love Music FestivalKAMA Love Music Festival

Managed and run by a Korean company, KAMA Love Music Festival was the surprise big event of last year. They're back at it again this year in early September, though no news yet on their line-up. Last year they brought over vintage indie rockers Eels, as well as bossa nova stars Lisa Ono and Nouvelle Vague. They're keeping with their Olympic venue theme, and it'll be hosted at Beijing Olympic Water Park this year. Details: Sep. 8-9, Beijing Olympic Water Park, tickets TBA More info: www.aiyinyuejie.com Ninegates Jazz Festival One of the highlights of the jazz year is the Ninegates Jazz Festival, hosted at a variety of venues throughout the city in mid-September including the Forbidden City Concert Hall. Now in its seventh year, this festival is a well-oiled machine that not only brings over international acts but also hosts stalwarts of the Beijing scene like Xia Jia, Lawrence Ku and the city's biggest acid jazz troupe Acid Live. Details: Mid-September, various locations, tickets TBA

Black Rabbit Festival

 

Black Rabbit FestivalBlack Rabbit Festival

Last year, Split Works in conjunction with Oppo and others launched the first ever Black Rabbit Festival at Chaoyang Sports Center. While the location proved to have a bit of a hike between stages, they did bring out Grandmaster Flash, Ludacris and 30 Seconds to Mars, not to mention some of the hottest local acts from all over like Wang Wen, Rainbow Danger Club and P.K.14. We know for sure that this festival will be back in September, but there’s no information about the bands or location just yet. Details: September, location and tickets TBA.

 

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