Last year, a new festival sprung up near Beijing with weightier pretensions than most. Gehua-Livenation joined with the Pinggu local government to put forward arguably the biggest international lineup in China’s short festival history. Avril Lavigne topped a bill that also featured KT Tunstall, Ladytron and Editors amongst others. The festival met with very mixed reviews, mostly due to the ridiculous nature of the setup. You can read our review here that compared moderately to the slaying it received at the hands of the Global Times.
China Music Valley has decided not to repeat the decision to go head to head with Beijing’s two better established festivals on the May holiday. Instead, it will be held 3 weeks later, May 19/20. The website features a 1970′s era hippy VW combi van and there is lots of reference to the ethos of the festival, which generally means nothing here, but could indicate a more laid back vibe than 2011. The lineup features 8 international artists:
- Jesus and Mary Chain
- School of Seven Bells
- White Lies
- Friendly Fires
- Pixie Lott
- Joss Stone
- Husky Rescue
Price wise, it is definitely at the top end of the spectrum
Before May 6th: 400RMB (3-day ticket)
1-day ticket: 280RMB
3-day ticket: 480RMB
At the door:
1-day ticket: 350RMB
3-day ticket: 580RMB
Based on our experience of the festival last year (and our experience of festivals in China generally), the day that Avril was there was huge, but the second day with a much more varied and interesting program was woefully under-attended. Festivals are still in their infancy in China and whenever an event moves out of the city limits, attendances plummet. Even when Midi moved just outside the 6th Ring in Beijing last year, the crowds were noticeably thinner than previous Haidian excursions. The same happened to the Modern Sky Festival in October 2011 when they moved out of town for the first time.
The feeling at Radar Towers is that there might not be enough pulling power among these artists (or the headliners, Wang Feng and Xu Wei who have between them played nearly every other festival in China over the last couple of years) to actually pull really significant numbers out to Pinggu, particularly at these ticket prices. We hope we are wrong of course – everyone in our office wants to go and see JAMC, a band that was a key influence for many of the bigger Beijing indie artists of the last decade. We hope we are wrong because there are some great bands on the lineup and if the organizers can up their game logistically from last year, then it should be a great day out.