MusicDish*China is proud to be a media sponsor for the 2nd year in a row of China's No.1 outdoor rock festival, WHICH is expanding to four cities
Author: Lin Xu, MusicDish*China
The 2011 Midi Festival will start in Beijing, the capital city that has witnessed the birth and twelve years growth of this festival, from April 30th to May 2nd. The festival will be held in Jing Langdao Park in the Mentougou district in west suburbs of Beijing. The performance list for Beijing Midi this year has created a new record, including hundreds of well-known rock bands from both China and abroad.
The legendary American hard rock band Mr. Big will make its first debut in China. Emerged in the late 80s, Mr. Big held its unique style among the hard rock bands. They not only excelled in various extremely technical fast-beat songs, but also whined with their melodic adagios. Their singles 'To Be With You' and 'Wild World' have become the must-listen introductory songs for Chinese rock 'n' roll youth. Mr. Big is sure to arouse nostalgic choruses with their performance in Beijing Midi on May 1st and Shanghai Midi on May 6th.
The ten-year-old punk band Mongol 800 is one of the best rock bands in Japan. They have inspired young people to love life and go after their dreams with their rebellious attitude. Apart from participating in Beijing and Shanghai Midi Festival this year, Mongol 800 will also be performing live with local Chinese bands at both Beijing and Shanghai's MAO Livehouses. Meanwhile, they are donating part of their ticket sales to Japanese Red Cross to help with the earthquake and tsunami relief.
Miserable Faith is often referred to as a milestone in today's modern rock scene in China. On their first debut this year on April 2nd, the band has broken the box record of rock performances in Beijing Live House with their high-quality live shows. Thus far, Miserable Faith has already played the north-western portion of their China tour, including performances in cities like Hohhot, Baotou, Yinchuan, Urumqi, Xining, Lanzhou, Xi'an, Zhengzhou and Anyang. Attesting to their massive appeal, Miserable Faith will be giving the closing performance at both Midi Festivals.
The Montreal-based rock band Your Favorite Enemies has recently played at Canadian Music Week Festival in Toronto where the band member and manager Jeff Beaulieu met up with MusicDish CEO Eric de Fontenay. This "DIY" band has managed every single aspect of its career based on their community values as they rose from their non-traditional music model since their founding in 2006. They are touring thirteen cities in China, appearing at both in Beijing (May 2nd ) and Shanghai (May 8th ) Midi festivals. Joining them will be over ten rock bands from Canada, Netherlands, German, Switzerland, Spain, Australia and Singapore.
Other participating domestic bands include established Beijing rock characters such as Liu Donghong & Sand, Nanwu, SMZB, Yaksa, Voodoo Kungfu, AK47, Brainfailure and Reflector. Some new bands are also showing. The Dancer for example is a new band founded in 2010 with familiar faces from some the biggest names in Beijing rock, including Liu Hao (Joyside), Dong Xuan (Hedgehog) and Wang Xin (Casino Demon). It should be one of the big hits among the new figures.
The festival series takes its second stop in Shanghai, the bustling metropolitan. The Shanghai Midi committee has strived to achieve their goal to "Rock Shanghai", and they are about to make it. The festival will be held from May 6th to May 8th in the Pudong Century Park in Shanghai. The Shanghai Midi will stick to the never-give-in spirit of the festival and bring a feast of performances. The Beijing band Free the Bird, formerly known as Ziyo will also join Midi in Shanghai. Other Beijing Midi performing bands that will continue to rock on in Shanghai include TOOKOO, Yaksa and Reflector. In addition, some local bands representing the hardcore force of Shanghai's rock will be making their presence felt, including Top Floor Circus, Crystal Butterfly, Cold Fairyland, Mushroom Group and MusicDish*China favorite Boys Climbing Ropes. The Shanghai festival will also feature an electric dance stage, which is sponsored by the Shanghai-based well-known electronic party label ANTIDOTE, and will its strong line-up of DJs and high-quality music.
Date/Time: May 6th to May 8th in the Pudong Century Park in Shanghai
Other stops of the Midi-Festival througout this year:
In summer 2011, during August 4th to August 7th, the Ocean Midi Festival will be held in the Olympics Water Park in Rizhao, Shan Dong province. Rizhao, with its longest and widest beach in northern China and low pollution levels, is know as the "garden city" in China and has been rewarded the United Nations Habitat award. Apart from the rock 'n' roll stage, Rizhao Midi will also hold the largest ocean electronic party in China! Fans around China and worldwide will party throughout night and embrace the rising sun over the sea together.
The final stop of Midi is the Yangtze Midi Festival being held for the second time from October 1-4 during China's National Day on the Yangtze Shiyezhou Island in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province. Shiyezhou Island has witnessed the success of Midi last year, and will no doubt become one of the most influential spot where China's youth culture mixes with rock, as the muddy ground has become an unforgettable experience of Midi fans.
The year-round 2011 Midi Festival is run under the theme with "Love the Bears!". Midi will hold series of live activities in corporation with animal protecting organizations, and together with fans to protest against the abuse of bear bile.
Launched at MIDEM 2010 in Cannes, France, MusicDish*China is the latest online brand from MusicDish LLC, a digital music company, providing a unique insight into China's emerging music industry. Focused on the cultural hubs of Beijing and Shanghai as well as broader markets in Taiwan and Singapore, MusicDish*China has sponsored major events such as Midi Festival and INTRO 2010 and works closely with local stakeholder.
The guys from “Hotter than teppanyaki,The Dudettes, and sal & upnavala groove” are organizing a charity gig for the victims of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Originally they intended to have no cover charge but now entrance is 20rmb. They promise that all the money earned through entrance fee and the bar revenue will be donated to the victims in Japan.
So Shanghai Rocker, go to Lune on Friday the 19th and drink and dance for a good cause!
Event info here:
by Eric de Fontenay, MusicDish*China
Deserts Xuan is a women of contradictions. I first saw her perform during MIDEM's Taiwan Nights showcase. By far the best act in the lineup, her folksy indie pop style and silky voice drew the attention of a usually fickle MIDEM audience. "I was surprised how very calm and attentive the audience was. It was really touching to feel and see them listening to Chinese songs in such a sincere manner."
But I had mentioned her being a 'woman of contradictions' with perhaps the best example being Taiwan's premiere indie singer/songwriter while being signed to major label Sony Music. Considered a pop singer in Taiwan, she repeatedly exclaims "Lang Lang sucks!" in the middle of Times Square (considers him the Kenny G of classical music). A sweet girlish exterior with the mouth of a sailor (or more properly NYer). Xuan reportedly dropped out of high school because she "couldn't stand the conservative restrictions". Suffice it to say, Deserts Xuan has lots to say and is not afraid to say it.
Considered one of the leading alternative musicians in the Chinese music industry, Deserts Xuan started her career as a member of the rock band Mango Runs, which won the Indie Music Award at the Taipei Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival in 2003 and was featured in the documentary Ocean Fever. She credits her true music education to Yu Jin Pong, owner of Witch House, a Taipei club (livehouse) that showcases independent bands playing alternative music. "Witch House was very important to my development. I look upon it and Yu Jin Pong as a mentor, teacher. It was actually where I was discovered by Sony BMG."
The problem in Taiwan, Deserts explains, is that the independent music community lacks the infrastructure we in the West take for granted. "The West has the advantage of having a long history of producers, mangers, labels, publishers... There is a level of maturity, expertise and professionalism that we simply lack in Taiwan and China." This lack of 'brain trust' to tap, combined with a lack of journalist and bloggers who understand the indie scene, have left independent artists without direction or support.
So somewhat controversially for her fans, when given the opportunity, Deserts signed with Sony BMG in 2006 for her debut album "My Life Will...".
"I wanted to learn how to promote and present myself to the public, and I thought that a major could help me understand." What makes Deserts particular is that she has not Xuaned her folk-pop style, or more importantly, songwriting despite the expected major label pressures. Take her second album "Oh, dear. dear. I haven't.", which unlike her debut made of songs written from ages of 13 and 19, has deeper and darker lyrics, reflecting "a passage to adult and womanhood" Deserts notes. It was a Xuane that was little appreciated at Sony.
In fact, the songs from her first 2 albums were all rejected by various labels and producers to whom they had been pitched. You see, Deserts is a songwriter who sings, as opposed to the typical songwriter. "I never really intended to sing. I care much more about my songwriting - that is my passion." That is a point I'm reminded of throughout our 3 hour talk. By the age of 19, Deserts had written over 100 songs and was actively pitching them. By the time she released her debut 6 years later, she was already well known in the livehouse scene and online.
"A lot of recording artists would ask me to write them a song, but they would always get rejected by the producer or music company. They'd tell me that the song was too deep for today's listeners and ask whether I could make it more like a love song." So she took the best of those rejects and released them on two major label releases, only to have them nominated for a combined Golden Melody Awards (Taiwan version of Grammys) as well as winning Best New Mandarin Artist at the 7th Chinese Music Media Awards... literally turning lemons into some oh so sweet lemonade!
She has since released her third album "A City" with a new band she created called Algae, and is presently working on her fourth album for Sony Music. So how has the experience with a major been?
"Being signed to major, my relationship with Sony is a partnership. I give Sony everything I have and take everything from Sony - the successes and support, but also the rules, pressures and frustrations. It was that experience - the good and the bad of working in this industry - that I was looking for and needed. It was a necessary and healthy experience."
What impressed me most about my time with Deserts was the maturity she has acquired over the years, verging on wisdom. For example, take her view on whether to sign with a major or go indie:
"If you know exactly what you want with your music and career, then you are truly independent, whether you are signed to a major or indie label. In either case, for it to succeed, it must be a partnership where both sides know exactly what each wants and the combination is a win-win."
Deserts is also vocal about her beliefs that the Taiwan government should take a more active role in supporting the country's budding indie talent:
"An opportunity like showcasing MIDEM should not just be for signed artists such as myself or 1976. The government needs to do their homework on the indie scene and identify those bands with the most potential, but that also reflects Taiwan's unique culture. We have so much talent and potential in our small country, but the Taiwanese people doubt that potential most. The government can help develop it, in part by bringing such bands to events like MIDEM where they can realize what's out there and what they are capable of."