Rockers arrive to make a noise

Updated: 2011-04-28 07:55

By Han Bingbin and Todd Balazovic (China Daily)

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 Rockers arrive to make a noise

Rock star Xie Tianxiao and his band perform during the 2010 Beijing Midi Modern Music Festival. Provided to China Daily

 Rockers arrive to make a noise

Audiences go crazy at the Strawberry Music Festival last year. The fun begins again on Friday. Zou Hong / China Daily

Rockers arrive to make a noise

Music fans enjoy a feast of local and international talent as three major festivals set up camp in the capital

In a whirlwind of raucous rock, the capital celebrates the arrival of the warm weather with three of Beijing's biggest music festivals, drawing international and local talent.

The Strawberry Music Festival, Midi Modern Music Festival and China's Music Valley International Music Festival (CMVI) all kick off this weekend on the city outskirts, providing music lovers with an overabundance of choice.

Two of Beijing's most anticipated music festivals, the Strawberry and Midi, both of which spotlight some of the best China has to offer, have developed a rock rivalry over the years, with both focusing on drawing Beijing's underground moshers.

The 10-year-old stalwart Midi, which focuses more on heavy rock, will spread 64 musicians over three stages in addition to a fourth "jam" stage for festival-goers who want to strum some tunes of their own. Held out in the boondocks at Jingling Island in Mengtou district, Midi promises to be a headbanging experience.

Meanwhile, indie-focused rival Strawberry, which was launched in 2009, announced ambitious plans to host as many as 129 musicians from home and abroad on six themed stages, ranging from "love" to electronica.

Those seeking a truly international experience should look to the newcomer of the group, CMVI, staged among the blooming peach blossoms of Pinggu district, which boasts 17 bands from across the globe, including Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne.

Hosted in part by Pinggu district government, CMVI is part of a 15-billion-yuan effort to rebrand an area home to more than 150 instrument factories as "China's Music Valley".

Despite having some of the most expensive acts of the three festivals, CMVI has managed to keep its ticket prices relatively low with help from the district, although it is still the most expensive option.

While both Strawberry and Midi focus on local acts, Midi offers a taste of international talent with as many as 11 musicians from eight countries, including renowned US metal act Mr Big, whose bassist Billy Sheehan once shared a stage with the legendary David Lee Roth.

For the best Beijing flavor, Strawberry promises to impress with local superpowers He Yong and Xie Tianxiao, often crowned as the "new godfather of the Chinese rock". Strawberry will be one of Xie's first public appearances since being involved in a drug scandal. Strawberry, however, holds only four international cards, including New York newcomers Arms and Legs.

Whichever option you choose, the May Day holiday will provide plenty of tunes to tap, mosh and swing to.

China Daily


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