Zhangbei Ad ‘Wishful Thinking’

Music fans in China were intrigued by an advertisement that appeared online for the 2015 Zhangbei Music Festival. The ad announces that Linkin Park, The Rolling Stones, Ozzy and The Metallica will be the headliners.
Bogus flyer featuring "The Metallica"

Anyone with any sense would obviously realize that the ad was bogus, with that definite article positioned in front of “Metallica” being the clincher. Nevertheless, the English-language site The Beijinger tried to make sense of it by pointing out, firstly, that there is such a thing as the Zhangbei Music Festival, only that there has been no formal announcement of an edition this year.

The festival’s official website makes no mention of an event, especially one taking place the weekend of July 18-20, according to the fake ad, which takes in Saturday to Monday and lists the dates for last year’s Zhangbei Music Festival. However, one commenter links to a press release, supposedly from the organizers of the festival, saying it will take place the “last weekend of July,” but no artists are mentioned.

As to why the fake ad appeared in the first place, a local “rock scene observer” quoted by the Beijinger said it was the “definition of wishful thinking,” which further emphasizes the straitened circumstances for the Chinese concert scene this year.

As reported in Pollstar in recent weeks, authorities have clamped down on large gatherings of people since the stampede in Shanghai during the New Year’s holiday.

Major Western artists could be exceptions if they showed up, but likely not in Zhangbei, which is five hours by car from the capital. Besides, unlike most major rock festivals, the ones in China rarely announce their headliners until the last minute.