Results tagged “Strawberry Festival” from Jake Newby

Strawberry Shanghai?

midi calendar.jpgWhen it comes to China festival rumours - and let's face, there's going to be a lot of them in the coming months - it's going to be hard to beat this one. Still, another one doing the rounds on the rumour mill at the moment is that Modern Sky will finally bring their Strawberry Festival to Shanghai this year. After the harmonised Strawberry Suzhou and the allegedly 'stolen' Strawberry Zhenjiang, Modern Sky are apparently looking at doing a festival in Century Park in April. Pure speculation at this stage however.

This picture on the right here incidentally, is of some revellers at the 2010 Changjiang Midi Festival and forms part of Midi's 2012 calendar. Recognise anyone?

Strawberry updates

strawberries_moldy.jpgSince I posted about Strawberry being cancelled yesterday morning, a number of other sites have put up some more detailed information about what's happened. In summary, Modern Sky have blamed a thunderstorm effecting their power set up and said that the festival is 'postponed' not cancelled, though until when it's not clear. A far more likely explanation, and the one doing the rounds on Weibo and Douban before it gets deleted, is that the festival has been harmonised due to the mention of a certain outspoken artist who's still missing economic criminal at last weekend's Zhouzhuang folk festival, also organised by Modern Sky. Finally, the organisers of the electronic stage at Strawberry, STD, have relocated their line-up to MAO Livehouse on Saturday and LUNE on Monday and Tuesday. 

Organisers of the Nanjing Blossom Festival and Midi Shanghai must be a tad worried right about now, but they're still going ahead at the moment. Don't expect there to be any 'text your message to the big screen' initiatives going on though or anything that might even remotely encourage freedom of speech.

Here's some links for more information:

China Music Radar on the 'postponement'
SmartShanghai on STD's DJ relocation
Modern Sky's announcement on Douban

Strawberry Suzhou cancelled

e408399.jpgIf you were planning on heading to the Strawberry Festival Suzhou this weekend, think again. There are rumours all over Douban that the festival has been cancelled and various sources have confirmed that this is the case, with the decision apparently taken late last night. The festival, whose slogan of 'You say hello, I say goodbye' now seems rather unfortunate, has yet to make an official announcement, but it seems that will follow later today once they've managed to inform everyone on the organiser side - as of this morning, news was still filtering through to the various parties involved. No reason has yet been given for the cancellation. More news as and when it comes through.

Pet Conspiracy reduced to a foursome

p467774588.jpgLast month during Pet Conspiracy's performance at the Strawberry Festival, Helen Feng jumped off the front of the stage into the area between the stage and the crowd and crumpled. It was hard to see from where I was and it wasn't clear if she was lying on the floor singing as she some times does or if she was seriously hurt. Turned out to be the latter. She then got treated incredibly shoddily by organisers and relied on the generosity of a fan to get her to hospital. You can read her thoughts on it all here.

Anyway, upshot is that she's not fit enough to be jumping around the stage simulating sex with the other members of Pet Conspiracy and all that other oh-so-crazy stuff that they do during their live act. So when they hit MAO Livehouse this weekend as part of STD's 3 year anniversary (which also features Boys Climbing Ropes, shit loads of local DJs, Lymbyc System and Danger), Pet Conspiracy will be a mere quartet. Doesn't mean that they're not going to bring the noise and do all that crazy shit as usual mind and clearly this show at MAO is going to be huge anyway.

If you need a refresher, here's how it went down last time with Pet Conspiracy at MAO. Let's hope Helen makes a speedy recovery.
In my write-up of Strawberry Festival, I said something about there not really being any surprises. Not entirely true. One surprise was this. Gia, former frontwoman for Hang on the Box, played the old HotB song 'Shanghai'. It was a slightly odd version, melding the original with her new, bossanova-influenced style, but I enjoyed seeing the song performed live. And Gia played a good set in general - if people had been in the mood for dancing a bit more it could have been a perfect early afternoon festival set played under the sun. Alas, the nearby metal stage drowned out most of her songs and no one seemed to moved by it. After a few songs from her debut solo album and a brave cover of 'D.A.N.C.E.', she announced she was going to play an old HotB song before launching into 'Shanghai'. Check out the video here and for more on Hang on the Box, click here.

Strawberry Festival, Beijing

4577885809_d1f4f6ab89.jpgUPDATE: Just had a look at CMR and saw they've got a more comprehensive write up of both festivals here. Plenty on the branding as well.


Before I get on to the main business of this year's Strawberry Festival, I just wanted to share a bit of info from the capital's other big festival, Midi. According to Shanghai-based writer Sam Gaskin, heavy rainfall in Beijing this evening caused the power to be cut at Midi, meaning no lights or sound for a while. Carsick Cars tried to play on by playing acoustically through megaphones and with torches for lighting, but it didn't seem to be working too well. Last word from Sam was that power was back on a while later, so hopefully it all got going again without any problems. Keep an eye on the Beijing music sites for more on that tomorrow.

But anyway, I didn't get to Midi - I spent Saturday to Monday at Modern Sky's Strawberry Festival as I felt it had the stronger line-up of the two. Saturday in particular had a really good line-up with Xiao He, Carsick Cars, The Bigger Bang and AV Okubo amongst those playing. Carsick Cars and AV Okubo also played at D-22 that night as part of their anniversary celebrations along with Hedgehog, which made for a great day of live music. The following two days were good too, with Boys Climbing Ropes making their debut at the festival and sets from Reptile & Retard (at YYT on Thursday), ReTROS and Hedgehog particularly sticking in my mind. I don't think I really found anything new, though Hedgehog, ReTROS and QueenSea Big Shark all showcased some new material, so I'm not going to write too much about the bands individually - they've all been covered plenty on this blog before anyway.

Overall, it was an enjoyable festival experience and worth the 17 hour bus journey up from Shanghai. The sun shone and there was a good atmosphere throughout the festival. There were a few drawbacks though: there were massive queues and no signage at the entrance causing confusion and resulting in a lot of people deciding not to bother (it was really hot weather to be queueing for several hours in). The entire site ran out of beer on each day of the festival, with hour or so waits for fresh supplies. Even when they did have drinks they weren't kept cold.

More importantly though, the sound on the main stages was poor at times. Things on the second stage weren't helped by its proximity to the metal stage. They were far too close together meaning someone like Gia playing a slower song on the second stage for example, was almost drowned out by the metal band overlapping on the stage nearby. Although you have to credit their ambition, having six stages seemed unnecessary, especially when the Douban stage was in a small patch of dirt near the toilets and stages frequently clashed with each other, making some acts inaudible. Sound always leaves a little to be desired at festivals, but having stages so close together that their sound overlaps is just poor planning.


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