Having exhausted the usual channels of brands, local governments, investors or good old-fashioned life savings, the latest “innovation” in the world of music festival sponsorship seems to be celebrity. Chinese media outlets are breathlessly reporting that actress and director Zhao Wei 赵薇 aka Vicki Zhao is a major investor in the Guyuan Wetlands Music Festival, taking place this July 19-21 in Hebei Province. The lineup includes luminaries such as Cui Jian and Li Zhi 李志 but rumours are swirling that Faye Wong and her husband Li Yapeng will be in attendance and might even perform due to their friendship with Zhao Wei.
Media outlets are reporting that the source of this investment comes primarily from Zhao Wei’s husband, businessman Huang Youlong, possibly seeing this as a new opportunity. Though Zhao Wei is also a singer, the lineup for the festival features many folk-leaning artists, resulting in netizens gossiping to confirm her ‘artistic youth’ (文青) reputation. The festival’s location in the Hebei grasslands is a bit of a mystery, since it’s neither close to any metropolitan area nor near the hometown of Zhao and Huang. Our best guess is that either Zhao or her husband are looking to put down business interests nearby and are seeing whether an on-trend event like a music festival will draw crowds. Regardless of motive, we’ll be interested to see how the festival plays out.