Fuxianhu Music Festival: Leisure in Yunnan

Photo: Hugh Bohane

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2012 Fuxian Lake Music Festival in review

Words and photos: Hugh Bohane.

On the weekend of the 24/26th of August, Yuxi hosted the second edition of the Fuxian Lake Music Festival. This three-day adventure was held by the side of one of China’s deepest and cleanest lakes. The Fuxian Lake (抚仙湖) scenic area is definitely one of the better locations for a music festival we have seen so far in Yunnan.

Festival organizers worked with the local tourism department to ensure that accommodations – including hotel rooms and campsites – would be available on the banks of the lake. Hotel prices near the lake started at around 80 RMB for a room. The weather was kind with no rain and glowing sunshine two out of the three days.

Festival attendance peaked at a few thousand over the course of the three-day event. Tickets were available at the festival entrance for 100 RMB. We were quite surprised by the lack of ticket checking by security, whose presence was actually quite scarce for the duration of the festival. The crowd came in waves. Sometimes it appeared there were at least a thousand people and at other times it felt like there was less than a hundred.

On the afternoon of the 24th the organizers had arranged buses down to the lake from Kunming…but alas buses returning to Kunming were not so clearly systematized and attendees without pre-arranged transportation needed to take either the public buses or hire taxi vans.

The musicians played on two main stages that weren’t located very far apart from each other, which unfortunately created some unpleasant noise interference at times. We would like to suggest that better spacing of the stages for the next festival would definitively be a smart move.

Pop over to the festival’s Douban page to see a full lineup. Made up of mostly local acts, highlights included:

On Friday night, DJ Xiao Kris kicked off the festivities with some tasty Bhangra beats on the main stage. Tribal Trip, who was on the second stage, took the crowd on a journey of spiritual pychedelica. Later back on the main stage one of the main acts Ashui and the Crying Suns delivered some reggae fused with traditional minority folk to a swelling happy crowd.

On Saturday, 80’s rock band Hell Yeah, executed some memorable covers with two of their female members dressed as naughty nurses. Later, War Horse was in shipshape form bringing their blues explosion.

Minority band Sigangli, who were one of the last main acts of the carnival, was luminous as always. These guys are definitely one of Yunnan’s hottest acts right now and deserve similar success to what fellow minority band Shan Ren has been enjoying of late.

On site, there were plenty of stalls selling BBQ food, beverages (beer, spirits and soft drinks), as well as clothing and other goods. The location was exemplary – many festivalgoers took advantage of their surroundings by alternating dips in the lake with listening to the bands.

The organizers of this event were a group of Kunming-based local musicians who co-operated with the Yuxi local government. We spoke to one of the festival organizers, Ma Tu, about this year’s occasion:

“I think it was pretty successful. Next year we want to attract more people and feature different bands from different places in China and from overseas. Also, we want to make sure that in 2013 the Fuxian Lake Music Festival isn’t held at the same time as the Yoga Midi Festival in Guiyang, like it was this year!”

For those who missed out on this year’s FLMF, Ma Tu says excitedly, “Come next year, bring your friends, bring your girlfriend, bring everyone.”

To view Hugh’s pictures from the festival click here.

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