Foreigners Blocked From China Fest

Chinese authorities put a serious crimp in the country’s main underground music festival, Modern Sky, which took place Oct. 4-7 in Beijing’s Chaoyang Park.

Modern Sky Records head Shen Lihui, who organized the 3-year-old festival, was informed by local police Sept. 30 that all 14 foreign acts scheduled would not be permitted to play, according to China Music Radar. The acts included the Futureheads, Radio 4, Regurgitator, British Sea Power, Shonen Knife, International Noise Conspiracy and the Buzzcocks.

Authorities did not give any reason for the cancellation, but various bloggers have speculated that the festival was too close to the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Communist rule.

Though the government has prevented foreign artists from performing in the past, it’s always been for stand-alone concerts. This is the first time it has prevented foreign acts from playing at a Chinese festival.

The remaining 30 bands on the Modern Sky roster, all Chinese artists, were unaffected by the ban and the festival went ahead as planned, though ticket prices were reduced and refunds were offered.

The cancellations were not extended to two other foreign acts playing separately.

Beyoncé’s single concert at the Wukesong Gymnasium in Beijing Oct. 23 is going ahead as planned. Skid Row’s show at the Star Live venue in the capital, which opened the latest incarnation of the Midi Festival, received no interference, even though it took place on Oct. 2, the day after the 60th anniversary parade and festivities.

However, two other China shows by the International Noise Conspiracy were canceled, but apparently it had nothing to do with the authorities.

Modern Sky reportedly asked the venues involved to not go ahead with the concerts.