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.
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.
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 🙂