Taking Midi to the max

Updated: 2013-05-06 00:31

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Taking Midi to the max

Gao Hu, Frontman of rock band miserable faith. Xia Xue / for China Daily

Zhang recalls that he was appointed dean because nobody wanted the job. "People said that the school would die soon since few people knew modern music, let alone learning it," he says.

What made Zhang confident was rock music's appeal to a small but fervent band of devotees, who were hungry to explore the music genre.

Gao is one such devotee. As the frontman of the established rock band Miserable Faith, he has been performing at the Midi Music Festival since it began.

He says the festival "is like the Woodstock music festival, where music and peace meet. The school is like a utopian community. People share the same love for rock music," Gao says.

"With my friends at the school I spent my happiest days. We shared one bowl of noodles and one bottle of beer," he recalls.

The first festival was held on the school campus in 2000 — part of the graduation ceremonies for students. Thirty bands performed in two days, attracting not only people from the school but also thousands of other young people, who read the news from magazines or heard about it from friends.

The second year saw the audience double, and in 2004 the music festival moved to Haidian Park, marking the establishment of the first outdoor music festival in China.

Just two years later, the music festival started making money and has become a kind of lifestyle for fans, coming at a time "when young people in China were looking for a place to gather and share music", Shan says.

Shan had organized the Beijing Pop Music Festival from 2007 to 2009 headlined by New York Dolls and Nine Inch Nails.

He says what makes the Midi Music Festival special is "it never relies on big-name stars from the West".

It's an achievement to see Chinese rock bands receiving acclaim from festival audiences, he says.