In Shanghai Jinshan this weekend is the latest addition (and edition) of the Zebra Festival, the “Channel Young Zebra Music Festival” or 星尚热波音乐节. Shanghai music fans will probably remember that last year’s festival was postponed and then rescheduled due to Typhoon Muifa but by all accounts and purposes went off without a hitch the weekend after with headliners such as Edison Chen, MC Hotdog, Joanna Wang 王若琳 and Xu Wei.
Originating in Chengdu, Zebra is back again this weekend on the Jinshan beaches for what we hope to be an equally successful and typhoon-free weekend of live music. This year, the regional lineup boasts Show Lo 罗志祥, Qu Wanting 曲婉婷, Aska Yang 杨宗纬 and Stanley Huang 黄立行; international acts include Kite (Sweden), Exile Parade (UK) and Yoko Yazawa (Japan) and local bands Nova Heart, The Mushrooms and more.
Full lineup and schedule here. If you read Chinese, peep at the cooperation between the festival and Taobao’s new celebrity stores initiative here. Activities there include a battle of the bands, beauty contest and suggested items to bring to the festival. Cool stuff, guys.
Edison Chen made his come-back headlining this year’s pop-heavy Zebra line-up.
Words and pictures Hugh Bohane.
This year’s Zebra Music Festival in Chengdu over the May holiday saw Edison Chen return to the China entertainment industry after a three-year hiatus (for those of you not familiar with the why, check this extensive wiki article on indecency). Rumours abounded during the promotional campaign (which was much later than in previous years), that Edison’s face had been deliberately left off many Chengdu posters in the lead up to the event, for fear of upsetting the ZMF’s family-orientated mission statement.
The ZMF is one of the the biggest in-land festivals in the country, with more or less a 90% local audience and is certainly one to keep an eye on for future, anthropological- reference. Now in its third year, there were a few changes to the festival. Held in co-operation with the local Chengdu municipal government, the 2011 edition chose to feature more Mandopop than in previous years. There were still exceptions: some alternative national and international rock, electro, nu-metal, hip-hop, reggae and ska bands. Apart from the pop-centric line up, many punters felt disappointed by the absence of the crowd-pleasing Xiong Mao/ Panda Club, which in previous years pumped out a steady feast of electronica until the wee smalls hours. Instead, there were only a handful of DJ’s, playing on stage 2 at selective times over the three days, usually having to shut down before 11 pm.
Experienced employees for festival organizers are hard to come by here in China. Festivals are relatively new in this country, and good ones relatively rare.
Two of the more experienced individuals have moved. Shan Wei, the 2 i/c at Rock for China (organizers of the Beijing Pop Festival from 2005 – 2007) has joined the team for Midi, which should bode well for the festival. Lua Zhou, ex-InMusic journalist and one of the key players for the inaugural InMusic festival in Zhangbei is now helping out with the Zebra Festival in Chengdu.
As an aside, Midi Festival will be back in Beijing, after a year off in Zhenjiang. Midi is slated for May at its old home of Haidian Park, which will put it in direct competition with Modern Sky’s Strawberry. Will be interesting to see how that one turns out.