Country China

The second Zhanghiaje International Country Music Week has been confirmed for Sept. 10-16 in a picturesque corner of China designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

According to The Independent, festival organizers hope to invite more than 500 musicians to the event including at least 30 bands that play bona-fide country music.

And by “country,” they very definitely mean the type of music played in Nashville, though the artists themselves do not have to be American. In fact, it appears most will not be.

Zhangjiaje hosted its first country music festival in 2009. The city’s mayor at the time released a video in which he dressed in a cowboy outfit and sang a version of the John Denver hit, “Country Road.”

Though the organizers clearly state that the event is meant to draw tourists, they also say they want to become the Asian capital of country music. It should be noted that a good portion of the artists already booked for the festival are homegrown musicians who play “ethnic” music.

The festival has the full backing of the Hunan provincial government and China’s Ministry of Culture.