Stephan Larose previews Yunnan's Snow Mountain Music Festival. He'll be making the trip out to Lijiang and, if the Chinese internet and Stephan's banged-up laptop cooperate, he'll be filing posts live from Lijiang Rock City. If the Tech Gods don't smile on him, he'll be writing up the festival for us after the fact. Either way, stay tuned!
It's the biggest little concert you've never heard of. Think of it as China's Woodstock, if you like—an outdoor party where the kids let it all loose and where anything can happen. Taking place in the lee of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the Lijiang in picturesque Yunnan Province. Possibly even bigger in terms of overall attendance than the Beijing Midi Festival, this eclectic arts and music festival attracted around 150,000 people last year.
With a huge lineup of film screenings, live art installations, experimental theater, bands and others all set among awe-inspiring mountain and river scenes, SMMF promises Chinese and foreigners alike a unique opportunity to participate in the both the heedless mosh-pit thrashing and cuddly grassroots arts-appreciation sides of China's contemporary youth culture scene—both of which are largely unknown outside of China, where many mistakenly imagine China's kids to be hive-minded study drones.
Dozens of bands with (Google-translated) names like Dan West Was So Hot, Ship of Fools, Tiger Noodle, Iowa Super Soccer and Hermit Band will be playing on four stages deployed around Shuhe Old Town. Meanwhile, 15 participants in the international documentary film festival hosted at the event will screen their works over the course of three days and engage the audience in discussions about their works.
Movies will be shown twice, so if you miss a great flick the first time, you get a second chance. Some of the other highlighted events going on at the the festival include "Happy Camp Children to the Children!" (Sorry, again, Google translator tends to miss nuance) a project to help children from a Lijiang orphanage to enjoy the festivities; the "creative Tao Tao market;" "North Korea & the United States Aung G"—an act described as "two contemporary dancers in a small theater stage to bring the heart to show the beauty of body;" and Trials and Hardships, a film on the ancient mysteries and cremation rites of the China's ethnic Naxi culture.
Snow Mountain Music Festival Tickets
One-day tickets for the festival are RMB 150, while three-day tickets set you back RMB 300. For info on where you can pick these up call 400-818-3333 (toll free within mainland China).
How to Get to the Snow Mountain Music Festival
From Lijiang Airport to Shuhe Old Town
Taxis should run RMB 80-100; split a mini-van with friends for RMB 50-80 per vehicle.
Go to the last stop at the Lantian Hotel (Lantian Binguan, RMB 15), then do one of the following: 1) Go to Shuhe Old Town by taxi (RMB 15-20); 2) take bus No. 11 to Shuhe Road stop (Shuhe Lu Kou), turn left and walk about 1 km to Shuhe Old Town along Shuhe Road.
From Lijiang Railway Station to Shuhe Ancient Town
Taxis are about RMB 40-50. Warning: it’s difficult to get a taxi at the railway station. Mini van: Tell the driver you want to go to Shuhe Old Town (about RMB 20-30 per person); Bus No. 13: Ride to the terminal station (Xueshan Zhong Lu) (RMB 1) and then grab a taxi (about RMB 10-15).
From Lijiang Bus Station to Shuhe Old Town
Taxi: (RMB 20) Bus No. 11 (RMB 1) to Shuhe Road (Shuhe Lu Kou), turn left and walk along the Shuhe Road for 1 km to Shuhe Old Town.
From Lijiang Old Town (also known as Dayan) to Shuhe Old Town
Taxi: (RMB 20) Bus No. 11 (RMB 1) at Old Town Gate Station (Gucheng Kou) to Shuhe Road (Shuhe Lu Kou), turn left and walk along the Shuhe Road for 1 km to the Shuhe Old Town.