May China Rock Festivals: MIDI, Strawberry & Zebra

Travel | by Dan Shapiro
Posted: April 23rd, 2009 | Updated: July 25th, 2012 | Comments
China rock festivals With a little over a week to go until the May Day Workers' holiday (read: long weekend), many local travelers are solidifying their itineraries, planning trips to Suzhou, Hangzhou and Mogan Shan. Meanwhile, Chinese music fans are gearing up for three music festivals scattered around the mainland set to run simultaneously from May 1st  to 3rd in Zhenjiang, Beijing and Chengdu. The  three festvals—MIDI, Strawberry and Zebra—feature a slew of talent, including some of China's and Taiwan's top acts and several well known bands from abroad. Below, we take an in-depth look at the events. Jiangsu Province Without a doubt China's most storied music festival, MIDI (named after the Beijing's MIDI School of Music), will, as previously reported, relocate from their Beijing home for the first time to the obscure town of Zhenjiang (about one hour by bus from Nanjing, 15 minutes by train from Changzhou and two hours by car from Shanghai). China rock music festival Previously best know of Xiangcu Vinegar, Zhenjiang is set to host a three-day line up of Chinese and international bands, ranging from Chinese mega-star Cui Jian, to Beijing indie-punks SUBS, trendy rockers TOOKOO, and gothic outfit Muma & Third Party. MIDI will also host a range of international indie artists, including the comically named Turdus and bicep-flexing alt-metal outfit Gammalux. MIDI will also serve as ground zero for Shenzhen in addition to their MIDI appearance.
China rock music midi festival
MIDI Festival, Zhenjiang (2009)
Festival organizers have arranged a large camping ground, with tent rentals ranging between RMB 30-50, although they recommend concert-goers bring their own if possible. Tickets for MIDI are RMB 50 per day. For the complete lineup, click here. Strawberry Music FesitvalTongzhou, Beijing Spearheaded by China's leading independent record label, Tian'anmen Square) makes it a convenient choice for travelers looking to take in an occasional day of music, mixed in with trips to some of the city's more popular attractions. While the majority of the line-up consists of Beijing-based bands like Pet Conspiracy, The Life Journey, Brain Failure, Casino Demon, Re-TROS (Rebuilding the Rights of Statues) and Guaili, it also provides a heavy focus on folk music. China rock music strawberry festival beijing Additionally San Francisco's art rock darlings Deerhoof, New Yorks's Xiu Xiu and Arms and Legs will all be making their first trips to China as Modern Sky begins a partnership with Kill Rockstars Records. The festival stresses a focus on eco-friendly living and sustainable development and "promises to be three days of music, clean air (hopefully), unexpected love...a great springtime event," says Modern Sky Founder Shen Lihui. Tickets for the Strawberry Festival are RMB 80 per day, RMB 180 for a three-day pass and is limited to 3,000 tickets per day. To see a complete list of participating bands and schedule visit the event Web site, and for details on travel check all Beijing flight information. Sichuan While Chengdu is best known as the home of the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base and some of China's spiciest cuisine, from May 1st – 3rd, the city's Bao Li Park will play host to the nearly 50 bands in what is easily the most interesting bill of the three festivals. China music zebra festival chengdu Billed as a benefit for the reconstruction of Sichuan after last May's Wenchuan earthquake, the Zebra Festival features an excellent lineup of China hottest indie rock bands, including Carsick Cars, Hedgehog, The Gar, Underground Baby and New Pants, as well as Taiwanese pop sensations (and spokespeople for every known product from China Mobile to Coca Cola) S.H.E. This combination of indie rock, punk, garage and saccharine pop is the most eagerly anticipated of the three events, as thousands of Chinese youth unite to raise money and awareness for the victims of the 2008 tragedy. The eyes, ears and hearts of China will no doubt be on Chengdu. Tickets for the Zebra festival are RMB 80 per day, RMB 160 for a three-day pass and RMB 50 per day for students. Flight information to Chengdu is available here. Whether you're a foreign traveler in China or a China-based ex-patriot, student or teacher, these three music festival provide a great opportunity to witness some of the country's best creative talent and emerging music culture. Of course if traditional travel is more your speed, all of these gatherings are rather conveniently located near exciting destinations, providing great opportunities to experience China. CHina music zebra festival chengdu Photos courtesy of, MIDI 2009, Modern Sky, BBC
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