Decisions, Decisions: 4 Music Festivals Battle it out in Beijing this May Day Holiday

Decisions, Decisions: 4 Music Festivals Battle it out in Beijing this May Day Holiday
By Ellen Schliebitz , eChinacities.com

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the two biggest music festivals of the year – Midi and Strawberry – are taking place at the exact same time again this year (April 29 – May 1). But still, despite facing the same debacle year after year, the decision just doesn't get any easier, especially since two other festivals have entered the equation: Dong Party Music Festival at Ditan Park and the MMAX Music Festival at Chaoyang Sports Center. While Midi and Strawberry are definitely the big league – featuring big shot bands and artists from abroad such as Mos Def and Blonde Redhead – MMAX and Dong Party's line-up features some of the best domestic acts around, and let's not forget the added bonus of central location. But the decision ultimately lies on musical preference, transport, price and personal schedules; to make choosing that much easier however, we've rounded up the crucial info of each festival.

Decisions, Decisions: 4 Music Festivals Battle it out in Beijing this May Day Holiday

1)  2012 Midi Music Festival: April 29-May 1st
The longest running of the bunch, Midi was the festival that started all other festivals. Even after numerous other festivals began making their mark, Midi always retained its image of the rugged, leather-clad, unkempt older brother. But with that also comes some questions regarding professionalism and organization skills. The festival is less than two weeks away and the official line-up has been extremely slow coming. The website is embarrassingly devoid of useful information and the venue has changed last minute from Haidian Park to Shunyi Olympic Water Park. Organising music festivals – especially ones involving foreign bands and rock music – are notoriously difficult to pull off in China and Midi has encountered its fair share of hassle. For that reason, we'll forgive them for their organizational blunders and hope for the best. 

  • Headliners: Yassin Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def), Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg, Backyard Surgeons, Arcane Saints, La Souris Deglinguee (LSD), Nasser, Little Fish, Useless ID, Zhang Chu, Miserable Faith, Brain Failure etc.
  • Number of stages: 4
  • Theme: PM2.5 (in reference to the tiny, evil, air pollution particles we all breath in)
  • Location & directions: Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park (a.k.a. Shunyi Olympic Water Park  顺义奥林匹克水上公园); take bus no. 916空, 936区间, 936支, 980 or 987 to Jingjuan stop ( 荆卷站); the 947 to Yangcun stop (阳村站), or the 915支 to Mapohuayuan stop (马坡花园站)
  • Price: 100 RMB per day pre-sale; 120 RMB per day at entrance; 240 RMB three day pass

For the full line-up and timetable click here.
Official website: www.midifestival.cn

Decisions, Decisions: 4 Music Festivals Battle it out in Beijing this May Day Holiday

2)  2012 Strawberry Festival: April 29-May 1st
Strawberry is the brainchild of Modern Sky, the record label with the vast majority of hip, Chinese rock/electro bands under its belt. Despite not being around quite as long as Midi, Strawberry has shot up to become the coolest festival around. However, Strawberry's record isn't flawless with a hard-to-reach location and an unexpected alcohol ban introduced last year (!), something almost unimaginable in the West. But alas, this isn't the West and China's still on a learning curve so here's to hoping this year's revelers will not be forced to depend on natural adrenaline for that buzzing feeling!

  • Headliners: Blonde Redhead, Laura Jansen, Goose, Tahiti80, General Elektrics, DJ Spooky, New Pants, Xie Tianxiao, Queen Sea Big Shark, Re-Tros, Second Hand Rose etc.
  • Number of stages: 8
  • Theme: M15 (in reference to Modern Sky's 15th anniversary)
  • Location & directions: Tongzhou Canal Park (通州运河公园), Take metro line 1 to Sihui Station and then transfer to bus No. 322 and get off at Dongguan Daqiao stop
  • Price: 100 RMB per day; 240 RMB three days

Official website: http://strawberry2012.modernsky.com/
Tickets: http://www.damai.cn/ticket_35054.html

Decisions, Decisions: 4 Music Festivals Battle it out in Beijing this May Day Holiday

3) 2012 Dong Party Folk Music Festival: April 30-May 1st
Despite competing with the two biggest festivals of the year, Dong Party Folk Music Festival is sure to attract a respectable crowd in the intimate setting of Ditan Park. Just a stone's throw from Lama Temple and the Gulou area, Dong Festival has become the most respected annual festival dedicated to folk music. Everyone who's anyone in China's folk scene will have a slot in the line-up and every year proves to be a chilled-out, enjoyable event. This festival takes place over two days from April 30th to May 1st.

  • Headliners: Shanren, Xiao He, Lidong, Zhang Si'an, Dolan, Randy Able Stable, Mama Funker, Buyi etc.
  • Number of stages: 1
  • Location & directions: Ditan Park (地坛公园); take subway line 2 to Lama Temple or Andingmen station.
  • Theme: none
  • Price: 60 RMB per day pre-sale; 80 RMB per day at entrance; 120 RMB 2-day pass

Decisions, Decisions: 4 Music Festivals Battle it out in Beijing this May Day Holiday

4)  MMAX Party Festival: April 29-May 1st
This is the first year that MMAX Party (MMAX大爬梯) is being held so there's no way of knowing what to expect. So far, the three day festival has suspiciously received very little publicity despite a rather good line-up of domestic rock and electro bands. We smell poor organization…and why can't they hold the festival on a different weekend? There are just too many other good events happening at the same time! Rant over.

  • Headliners: New Pants, Queen Sea Big Shark, Hanggai, Hedgehog, Carsick Cars, Longshendao, Sulumi, Ben Huang, Elvis T, Cavia etc.
  • Number of stages: 2
  • Location & directions: Chaoyang Sports Centre; take subway line 2 to Dongsishitiao, from there walk to Dongsi Qiao Dong and take the 758 to Pingfang Xikou. Alternatively, make your life easier by hopping in a cab and say you're going to Chaoyang Tiyu Zhongxin (朝阳体育中心) at Yaojiayuan Lu (姚家园路).
  • Theme: none
  • Price: 60 RMB per day pre-sale; 80 RMB per day at entrance; 120 RMB 2-day pass

Tickets: http://www.damai.cn/ticket_35914.html

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Keywords: Music festivals may day holiday Beijing 2012 Strawberry Music Festival 2012 MMAX party festival 2012 Midi Music Festival 2012 Dong Party Folk Festival

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