Audio feasts

Updated: Apr 25, 2018 China Daily Print
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The upcoming Strawberry Music Festival will feature Taiwan pop icon Tsai Chin. [Photo provided to China Daily]

During the upcoming May Day holiday, two Chinese cities-Beijing and Shanghai-will hold Strawberry Music Festival over April 29-May 1. Chen Nan reports.

China's live music scene has become a mass of outdoor music festivals. The last decade has seen a growing number of outdoor music festivals, which draw hundreds of thousands of fans and artists from home and abroad.

During the upcoming May Day holiday, two Chinese cities-Beijing and Shanghai-will hold Strawberry Music Festival over April 29-May 1, and the two events are expected to attract a total of more than 100,000 fans.

According to Modern Sky, one of the largest indie music labels in the country and the organizer of the festivals, more than 200 musicians representing a variety of music styles-pop, rock, folk and electronic-will perform on a total of 12 stages at the three-day festivals in Beijing and Shanghai.

UK indie rock band Alt-J, which won the British Mercury Prize for its debut album An Awesome Wave in 2012, will perform in Shanghai on April 29 and in Beijing on May 1, while Japanese music group, Wednesday Campanella, also known as Suiyobi no Campanella in Japan, will perform in Shanghai on April 29 and in Beijing on May 1.

On April 30, Taiwan pop icon Tsai Chin will make her debut at the Beijing event.

The 60-year-old Tsai started out by winning a singing competition at 19 and has released about 60 albums in her four-decade career.

Speaking about her upcoming performance, Tsai says: "I am performing at the festival not only to sing, but also to meet young people."


The Mysterious Lights, an indie band from the United States. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Shen Lihui, who founded Modern Sky in 1997, says that it is great to have Tsai Chin perform at the festival: "She is a very cool indie musician."

Other highlights at the two festivals include Beijing-based rock singer-songwriter Xie Tianxiao; Hawaii-born, Hong Kong-based singer-songwriter Khalil Fong and pop singer Hebe Tien, who is also a member of S.H.E. the girl group from Taiwan.

For folk music fans, some of the musicians who will be performing at the festivals will include Pu Shu, Li Zhi, Ma Di and Zhao Lei.

On May 1, veteran musician Dou Wei, who is considered a pioneer of China's rock music scene, will perform in Beijing. And Dou Wei's daughter, 21-year-old singer-songwriter Dou Jingtong, will do a show with her band in Shanghai on May 1.

Meanwhile, Dou Jingtong, who is also known as Leah Dou, and has released two studio albums since 2016, will also perform at the events.

She writes and sings in both Chinese and English. And since making her debut in Tokyo in 2015, she has become very popular with the young music fans.


21-year-old singer-songwriter Dou Jingtong. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Separately, speaking about the festivals' lineup, Wuli Yasu, the vice-president of Modern Sky, who joined in the music label in 2010, says: "The audiences have high expectations for the festivals, as they focus on youth culture. And we are devoted to discovering young musicians and keeping up with the latest trends in pop culture, especially music people are listening to.

"So, every year, we design the lineups, hoping to appeal to the young."

Since starting in Beijing in 2009, the festival has grown dramatically. And after years of expansive growth, it has now become a national event.

In 2017, audiences in 12 Chinese cities staged the festival. And this year the number is going to grow, says Wuli.

Meanwhile, the 20-year-old music label, which is home to nearly 80 bands and singers, remains eager to venture into new territory. And the company's Young Blood project, which it launched in 2017, aims to promote young artists, who combine various art forms, including audiovisual and design.

During the upcoming festivals, artists from the project will display their works.

Speaking about the project, Wuli says: "Each year we are adding more to the festivals, and the pool of talent with us is growing fast."

After the Beijing and Shanghai stops, the festival will move to other Chinese cities, such as Wuhan, in Hubei province and Xi'an, in Shaanxi province, in May.

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