The State Of Festivals

Several media have reported that the Strawberry music festival that was to take place April 30 in the Chinese city of Suzhou may have been canceled due to pressure from the government.

Event organizers announced the festival was being halted because a recent rainstorm “damaged the basic facilities.”

However, artists and industry insiders are suggesting Strawberry was canceled because of a political incident at another music festival called Zhouzhang that took place the previous weekend in Jiangsu Province.

During performances, the name of the artist Ai Weiwei, who is being detained by Chinese authorities, was tweeted to a public microblog channel monitored on one of the festivals large TV screens.

Though the tweet was removed, it prompted others to do the same. Moreover, the audience started chanting Ai’s name when underground folk musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou took the stage.

As a result, Zuoxiao was detained by police, though he was later released. Both the Strawberry and Zhouzhang festivals were being “hosted” by China’s premier indie rock label Modern Sky.

In similar news, another Chinese label, Rock Records celebrated its 30th anniversary with a concert at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, where the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics were held. It was actually the third in a series of anniversary concerts that started last November.

Also, China Music Radar reports that all the international bands slated to appear at the Blossom Music Festival in Nanjing the weekend of April 30 were removed from the lineup, though no reason was given.

However, China’s biggest music festival, MIDI, went ahead as planned in both Beijing (Apr. 30 May 2) and Shanghai (May 6-8). In fact, it was the first time the festival has even been held in Shanghai, though the organizers attempted to hold a festival there in 2009.

Among the foreign acts featured were Mr. Big from the U.S., Mongol 800 and Good 4 Nothing from Japan, Hibria from Brazil, Your Favorite Enemies from Canada and Ming’s Pretty Heroes from the Netherlands.