Midi Festival usually looks like this:
But this weekend, it’s going to look a little more like this:
Call us old-fashioned or short-sighted or whatever but we’ve never seen something like this before. Midi, a festival and school known for cultivating future generations of head-bangers and mosh-pit maniacs, putting on an honest-to-goodness electronic festival. Split up between “Traditional,” “Hip-hop” and “Bass” stages, Midi has assembled an interesting lineup of local MCs and DJs to play a one-day festival in Shanghai.
Although the festival does not beg the question (Ed.: Sorry, but this is our biggest grammar pet peeve), it does raise the obvious question: why? Not simply why is Midi of all people doing an electronic festival, but also why do it with 25 DJs who all live in Shanghai (out of 28 total performers). Beijing’s Intro Festival is only one other large-scale, outdoor festival dedicated to electronic music. Boasting a varied lineup of techno, drum ‘n bass, house, electro and even skweee, Intro is known for big-name foreign headliners: Josh Wink and Paul Ritch in 2011, Gui Boratto and Christian Smith in 2012.
The absence of any headliners to draw the crowds out to Pudong is compounded by the ticket price and relative saturation of most of the performers. While we mean no disrespect to the DJs, you can see the vast majority of them spinning, sans cover charge, at any of Shanghai’s myriad bars, clubs and after-hours haunts. Some of them are the resident DJs at these places. This hyperlocal complaint has also been levied at other festivals: you can see most of these bands anytime. But the key is to have headliners, whether they are Xie Tianxiao, Cui Jian or Miserable Faith, which make the price of admission worth it.
A bit of unsolicited advice: Maybe it’s time to phone up Shanghai’s No. 1 DJ…*
*We kid, we kid.