Every now and then, we at China Travel and Intern Diaries, a series of China escapades as seen through the eyes of the newest kids in town. First up is Derrick Yu on rocking out with the Black Rabbit.>>>
It was September 18th, a sunny day with temperatures hovering around 24 °C—perfect for an outdoor music festival in Shanghai!
After a long one-and-a-half hour train ride from Zhongshan Park, we finally arrived at our destination—the Shanghai Rugby Football Club (SRFC)—for the Black Rabbit Music Festival2011, a day of great sounds and fun in the sun.
With FOUR stages and world-class acts such as US pop-punk rockers Beijing), the crowd was hyped and ready to rock.
(Continued after the jump)My buddies and I made our way there around 3.30pm, hoping to get a good spot for Yellowcard's set which was scheduled for 4.45pm. Yellowcard's performance was postponed for around two hours, which meant that their set would clash with Ludcris' set, another major act. I decided to stick where I was, wait for Yellowcard and enjoy some quality local acts from my hard-earned front row spot.
[pullquote]Front man Xie Yugang whipped out a screwdriver and used it to play his guitar, making it [sound like] an electric Erhu[/pullquote]Two local bands took to the stage before Yellowcard. The first was Wang Wen (Wǎng Wén, 惘闻). A Dalian-based Chinese post-rock band, Wang Wen played a purely instrumental rock set with typical heavy riffs with an atypical twist. Front man Xie Yugang whipped out a screwdriver and used it to play his guitar, making it sound (to me at least) like high-pitched traditional Chinese music, akin to an electric Erhu.
Next up were Chinese indie rock trio Carsick Cars, whose large fan base made themselves known through the masses of screaming fans all around me.
While Ludacris was up on the main stage, Carsick Cars belted out their Beijing underground music scene anthem: 中南海 (Zhōngnánhǎi, 中南海) as fans threw cigarettes on stage—a reference to the Chinese-brand cigarettes of the same name.
And finally, it was time for Yellowcard. The crowd went wild! It was their first time in China, and Yellowcard delivered a high energy performance that had many loyal fans (including me) singing and even screaming along.
After such an energetic performance, we went for supplies—food was relatively cheap compared to overseas music festivals: hot dogs for RMB 25, burgers for RMB 35, water for RMB 5, beer and soft drinks for RMB 10—before making our way to the main stage for 30 Seconds to Mars. On the way over we took a detour to check out Grandmaster Flash, the founding father of hip-hop, working his magic on the decks.
His performance was one huge party, with girls climbing onto the stage to dance and even grabbing the hats from the security guards and inviting them to join in! But soon it was over and it was time to for Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars.
I managed to squeeze my way to the front where Jared, although sick, managed a great set by playing mostly acoustic in order not to strain and damage his voice.
Overall, the Black Rabbit Music Festival was a big hit. The organizers chose a great venue, even though it was quite far out of town. The large open space, four different stages, kids area, basketball challenge and a bar/club tent by M1NT for the after party all made for a terrific atmosphere.
A few other post festival thoughts... Chinese security guards have pretty lax standards—their supervisor came over and reprimanded them for letting people up to dance on the stage and letting girls steal their caps, but it had little effect. They just carried on laughing and having fun. I guess because they're not professional bouncers, just normal guards who really had no idea what to expect from a music festival in China.
The Black Rabbit Music Festival was also great value for money at RMB 260 for a pre-sale ticket, but I'll let you in on a little secret for next year: Volunteer! Some of my friends volunteered to work at the event, snagging themselves free tickets, food and beer and a free shirt in exchange for a few hours of work. Man, I wish I could be back here next year!