Adidas Originals held a free party last week in Shanghai, with a strong lineup featuring by-now Shanghai regular ToKiMoNsTA, Pusha-T , Alesso and Fader One.
Overcapacity (reports suggest the venue had twice as many people as it could accommodate) and poor crowd control meant the police turned up in full force, shutting things down barely 5 minutes into Pusha T’s set. Things got ugly – lots of reported altercations.
The event was put together by ‘experiential marketing’ company APAX.
The anger afterwards was swift and merciless. A Wechat ‘Sight’ of folks dumping their Adidas shoes into a trashcan went viral, reposted among the hundreds of music groups across the platform.
This could have been avoided easily.
China has a paradoxical rule when it comes to those of us who work in the ‘alternative culture’ space:
Make your underground events professional, and your space to operate expands.
What that means is, once you’re past China’s cultural police, the actual police have only pragmatic concerns: safety, security, order. The authorities fear what they can’t understand (we’ve seen too many security personnel have conniptions at witnessing a moshpit).
For the most part, keep your block parties, after-parties, gigs and showcases professional, and the ‘alternative’ slowly becomes less of a threat. It’s disappointing that the fundamentals of event management were lax here – and this specific crackdown, as it so often does in China, may lead to more down the line.