Feelgood hit of the winter

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We told you yesterday in our ode to the Eagles that something had come to us, almost like a gift from St. Christmas, something that filled us with good cheer and hope for the year ahead. The story goes a little like this:

Local blogger and “scene” stalwart Andy Best (he does love the word scene, by the way) wrote an article reviewing the Expo. You can read his coherent and visceral “appreciation” in full over at Kungfuology. The main thrust was that Expo came and went without leaving much, if any of a cultural imprint on Shanghai. To most, it was an inconvenience (although we miss the clean air, which we are sure was a massive inconvenience to all the Jiangsu and Zhejiang factories forced to close for 6 months), and the culture that came in was restricted to people willing to brave the hoards, the distance, the hugeness. Finally, the price (tickets weren’t actually that cheap, when you consider the cost of a gig ticket). As an aside, the actual Shanghai music infrastructure almost ground to a halt – venues were booked solid with a succession of no-name bands from all over the world on a government dime, and local bands and crowds were left out in the cold, slowly losing the will to live. Our summary may be a little overdone – head to Andy’s article for more.

In any case, the most important part of the article was when Andy laid down a gauntlet. With all the money that brands and governments were spending, was anyone actually willing to make an investment in the local scene itself? He gave an example that in his eyes would genuinely make a difference to Shanghai’s musicians: would anyone put some money behind most vital party of Shanghai’s nascent infrastructure? The tireless and profitless work done by TianTian and co. over at the 0093 rehearsal rooms.

0093 Rehearsal Rooms, Shanghai

Backstory in short: 0093 had been forced to vacate their previous location (the powers that be needed the building to store wine for the Expo – no joke), and the new location was more expensive to rent. That they could only afford to refurbish 60% of the rooms at the new Tianshan Lu location and with an ongoing and self imposed commitment to young bands to keep the rehearsal rooms affordable (RMB25/ hour), the new 03 space was struggling to break even as a business.

03 Space, Funding Proposal

Dialogue was fierce over at Kungfuology, with one of the posters being especially vocal. Long story shorter: one of the commenters actually met up with Andy offline and explained that he was connected to an investment fund that was actually looking to make some relatively small not-for-profit donations that would actually help China’s emerging arts scene. 2+2 most certainly equalled 4, and a basic business plan was put forward to the fund manager.

The result? Last week, just before Christmas, a generous six figure sum was deposited into the account of 03 rehearsal rooms. The money will be used to refurbish the remaining rooms, to upgrade some of the equipment, and to make sure the prices stay low and affordable

Who said Christmas isn’t for giving? Massive news for Shanghai’s bands. More please 🙂

  • joshyjosh

    Awesome news and what a group of guys! Great job Andy and Mr./Mrs. Anonymous.

  • Andy Best

    Cheers Archie and Josh. To shed more light on it. I’d been in dialogue with Mr Anonymous and others on this topic for a while before the end of Expo post, in private. But at that time it was all in theory. Then the challenge put out there was if we could turn my suggestion into a proper presentation/proposal. We did and it came off.

    I wish there was also a way to thank those who supported my posts on the scene and the Expo and the work in general. To be honest, I was very down at one point with all the ignorant comments and mails I was getting, writing off the scene problems as natural or no big deal and insinuating I was just moaning or exaggerating. The support means a lot. Finally, the shows (PETA and Ren Hang), the albums (Pairs and LP) and now this donation, all speak for themselves and we’re all non-profit (by design).

    Be clear, not a penny of any of this goes to me or the other anonymous organiser. It’s directly from the fund to the 0093 guy’s bank.

  • This news seems to have been published a bit prematurely; as recently as March 3rd, 2011, 0093 representatives claim they have yet to receive any money from said angel investor.

  • That’s odd, they know the situation. If you want to know the situation too, just mail me.

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