More festival trouble

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banner-blossom-by-2011-nanjing-international-music-festival-mask9.jpgI didn't make it to any festivals last weekend in the end, but I've spoken to a few people who did and the word is that there were a few problems. 

Festivals in Beijing were subjected to an alcohol ban, though at least most of their line-ups weren't messed with (Avril Lavigne played to the apparently dusty, poorly laid out space at the Pinggu Festival at least). The same can't be said for the Nanjing Blossom Festival who had some overseas and China-based foreigner bands struck off the bill at the last minute. So last minute in fact that many of the bands had already travelled there and only found out when they arrived. UPDATE: Dan Shapiro of The Fever Machine and Morgan Short of Boys Climbing Ropes have more details on the problems at Blossom in the comments. Beijing Daze has more on events up north too.

Once again, Midi Festival must be shitting their pants right about now. They've got a big weekend lined up in Century Park and have a fair bit riding on Mr Big playing on the Friday night....

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the Nanjing Blossom Festival was a bit of a debacle, but not all foreign bands were barred from the stage, only Little Dragon from Sweden, The Morlocks from the US, The Fever Machine and Boys Climbing Ropes.
there was no official explanation given as to why the bands could not perform, but there were problems all around: the electronic stage was canceled after half a day, carsick cars' set was shortened to 20 minutes (part of it with no vocals), and while there were apparently 7,000 attendees on the first day of the festival, ticket sales were calculated at around 1,500.

as for those four bands that were canceled, they put on an impromptu, unannounced show at Nanjing's Sancho Panza, and gave the local audience a great dose of the music that was considered too controversial for the festival stage.

you can check out some videos of The Morlocks and BCR performing here:

we'll see how MIDI goes . . .

MIDI in Beijing was the only festival that didn't experience any problems, not even banned alcohol sales.
Unfortunately, not the same could be said about pinggu or strawberry.

I'll trust the MIDI crew to have done their homework and be pretty much on the ball when it comes to getting things done and getting them done right. Here's my summary of Day 1 in Beijing:


Pretty sure one of the other Japanese bands got axed too. Could be wrong tho. But I think Good 4 Nothing weren't allowed to play either. Also, AM444 -- a duo with Jay.Soul and ChaCha -- weren't allowed to play, although it became a moot point when they couldn't get the electronic stage off the ground. Not sure if that's because of ChaCha's lyrics or if the inclusion of Jay.Soul + someone singing on a microphone makes them a "live act" and a "foreign act" at that.

But yeah lots of foreign bands got through -- Mix Market from Japan -- who led the audience in a stirring chant of "world peace" no less -- and Ming's Pretty Heroes, who I think are Dutch. And Proximity Butterfly and Pet Conspiracy, who have non-Chinese members in their line-ups. They all played.

Still don't know the exact criteria for the cull, and will probably never know, but it seems pretty random. Like someone with a big black pen just blacked out some bands arbitrarily... but yeah it gives us more "street cred" to be censored so we'll call it that.

It's hardcore to be more threatening than a band who is literally named after an assault rifle -- AK47.

For the electronic stage, heard that the reason they couldn't get it going was someone stole one of those heavy duty black electric cables on the first day.... like one of those big black bad-asses that traverse the festival grounds. Someone took one of those... and thus "no power". Who knows if that's true though.

And in the interests of not shitting on the event -- it's only it's second year, should take them a few tries to work out all the problems -- here's some successful stuff about Nanjing Festival:

Beer -- cold, cheap, plentiful. 10rmb cold cans. Never ran out.

Volunteers -- all very nice and helpful.

Festival grounds -- nice and spacious. Great scene with the river in the back.

Fans -- a core group of kids who stuck through the shitty weather, line-up changes, long waits between bands and really responded to the people playing.

At least some music got played and some people got to listen, that's better than nothing i suppose. What's worrying is that if, as Morgan says, it's all pretty much random then no amount of planning can make 100% sure that any festival will be ok. Been down to Century Park today, looking pretty sweet...fingers....crossed....

Mr. Big have cancelled their appearance at Midi. Because they were playing Beijing, then Taiwan and then returning to Shanghai there were issues with double entry Visas issues apparently.

i think it must have been morgan's eminem tee that got them the axe.

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