Changjiang Midi 2010: Concentrate! We Made It!
From Music-China Wiki
In collaboration with http://www.layabozi.com/
October 18th 2010
(A report about Zhenjiang Midi Music Festival 2010)
It has always been said that Midi Music Festival is the only real rock festival in China, comparing to the bands lists of other festivals, Changjiang Midi Festival 2010 can totally confirm that! “Concentrate!” is the slogan of Changjiang Midi Festival 2010, for all the rock fans in China from different places will come together to a small lovely island called “Shiyezhou” which is located right in Yangtze River! The island is a wonderful place for tourism, green trees everywhere, fresh air, delicious food and friendly local residents! That is exactly what an open air fest needs!
As the first music festival in China, Midi shows its professional quality in constructing festival sites. Unlike others usually prefer Beijing, Midi picked Zhenjiang, a city in southern China, to host its Oct. fest. Zhenjiang Midi Festival started since last year, and with a big successful outcome, here we come again!
Changjiang Midi Festival lasted for 4 days, from 1st to 4th October. Once its bands list released on the website, every one was shocked, what a lovely surprise! Some even say that this is the best bands list ever happened in China! Cooperation with local government, finally Midi organizers put out a true metal list! I would like to say that Changjiang Midi 2010 is the feast for Chinese metalheads, hail! Metal rules! In the isolated island Shiyezhou, international famous bands including Kyte, Loudness, Finntroll, The Agonist, PG Lost, Soulfly, Shadows Fall gave us tremendous excellent lives ever! Meanwhile, many outstanding Chinese bands did great job on our stages.
Site here is 5 times larger than it is in Beijing, so fans can enjoy themselves more with enough space. Festival area consists of main fest area, camping area and parking lot. Walking through the entrance built up by white barriers, it did not take long, the ground you just stepped on is a part of Changjiang Midi Festival 2010! At the gates, a lovely girl distributed fest flyers to us. This time the poster is a picture of Li Nan, the vocalist of a metal band Voodoo Kungfu, he is waving his fist to the sky. Quite inspirational. Flyers are what they usually to be, a big green Midi logo, bands list inside, short instructions of each one and advertisements of sponsors. One thing special that is it appears many awesome heavy metal bands! Only they printed them out, you can believe that in the end it comes true. Volunteers in same white or black T-shirts can be seen everywhere. Passion, love and friendliness are what always they present. These young faces find out the place of their own, a place about music, also a place of faith. The festival organizer named stages as Tang Stage (Main Stage), Song Stage (Second Stage) and Yuan Stage (Dance Stage), which comes from names of ancient Chinese dynasties.
On its first day, so glad that sun came out with her big smile. On the two main stages, many young and old Chinese bands gathered here, they are Velvet Road, PTS, The Reason, Misandaooi, The Mushrooms, Alt Senior, Liu Donghong & Sand, Zhou Ren etc. Among them, the melodic death metal band Frosty Eve and alternative industrial metal band Army of Jade Kirin gained loud cheers from metalheads. During the fine sunny afternoon time, The Vasco Era (the blues rock band from Australia) and Marit Larsen (she used to be a member of Norwegian pop bands M2M) enjoyed their soft sweet music with fans. After Chinese nu-metal band Oxygen Can on Song Stage, AK-47 blew your mind with their perfect industrial metal sounds. Main band of Song stage on 1st is the British post rock band Kyte. Four handsome boys first time came to China. Regardless of rain drops Nick with his melodious voice brought the audience to his feet. On the other hand, main band of Tang Stage is an old Chinese metal band Twisted Machine. Fans pogoed, shouted, and cried for them. Everyone sang in chorus of their songs, for example, that famous one, In the Mirror.
2nd Oct it rained so heavily that we had to delay our shows and cancel some sound checks. The whole site turned into one big mudd pit. Anyhow the rain can never damp down the passion of rock fans. Bands this day are like 37.5, Dark Cosmos, Yu Yang, Demerit, Last Successor, Four Five, Acoustic Sense (Denmark), Mix Market (Japan), Smash Up (Japan) etc. Metalheads and punk monsters had a real mud bath in the mosh pit. Hot spots of this day are The Agonist and Loudness no doubt. Alissa White is described as the integration of angel and devil, fans screamed her name and lost their hearts for the young Canadian melodic death metalcore band. Their show was something that never happened before to Chinese fans. With the no.1 Asian guitarist Akira Takasaki Loudness never let their audience down, perfect performance, amazing superb skills. The next day is like the climax of the fest. Though we have so many climaxes during this period! Weather came back to its normal gentle appearance. Big sunny day. Die From Sorrow, Nuclear Fusion-G, Ashura, Narakam, SMZB, Suffocated, M-Survivor, Perdel, The Baboon Show (Sweden) took turns appearing on 2 stages. Muma & Third Party played a lot his old songs. Second Hand Rose surprised fans by their beautiful make-up! Mature skills, and characteristic of traditional northeastern Chinese folk made the band one of the best. Darkness took over the area, close to midnight, our big hero Soulfly stepped on Tang Stage. Hailing from every corner of the site. Max Cavalera is as good as usual. He was wearing a red vintage sports suit with big Chinese characters “中国 (China)” on it. He exchanged his own suit for this with the journalist of So Rock! Magazine at the press meeting in the afternoon spontanously after he learnt what the Chinese characters mean.
The last day is a big hit. Bands are like Steely Heart, Zbrock, Zuo You, Nanwu, Monica Freire (Canada), Super 700 (German), Dikuai, Mr. Chelonian, Yaksa, PG Lost (Sweden). Xiao Rong, vocalist of old Beijing punk band Brain Failure, dyed his hair into leopard print again which indeed amazed the audience. After them, one of the earliest Chinese rock bands Tang Dynasty performed right on Tang Stage! They brought us back to those early days, familiar songs and tears. Without any time to take another breath, Shadows Fall grabbed everyone’s heart! People could not move their eyes from that extrodinary long rasta of Brian. As what said before, this is the metal feast for metalheads. Maybe melodic death metal is not brutal enough, but it cheers everyone up. The big star of the fest is Finntroll. They conquered many Chinese fans with their music combined black metal and polka long time ago. They had nice make-up, and hot vocalist Vreth created an enormous picture of Scandinavia myth by graceful melody. The biggest mosh pit ever happened in China, I dare say. People get insane by their charm. That is something really rocks!
Besides the fantastic shows, there are also some other highlights in the festival. Pavilions serving food, creative T-shirts, Jagermeister and official products shop and as always on Midi, some young boys and girls set up temporary stalls selling some interesting stuff, something so weird that you can hardly find in an ordinary place. Smile on their faces, sparkles in their eyes. Boys in metal bands shirts, leather jackets, boots; girls with long hair, tattooed arms, fabulous dresses, this is Midi Festival, where love and freedom rule. No matter what band is playing, the key of the music should always be its audience.
Till then, Changjiang Midi Festival 2010 came to an end. Many people still did not intend to leave. Actually who would like to? Without noticing it, Midi Festival made rock history again in China. It's been the first time that world wide top metal acts like Soulfly, Shadows Fall, Finntroll or Loudness finally performed on stage in front of such a huge crowd of Chinese rock fans (at the time where Soulfly was performing, it must have been ca. 20 thousand people on the whole festival site!) and this sure wont be the last.
Of course, not everything wend perfectly on such a huge event. Since it was the first time that Midi Festival has taken place on the Shiyezhou Island, local infrastructure was bearly ready for such a huge amount of visitors, approximately 10 to 20 thousand visitors each day. But the very collaborative local authorities and administration mobilized everything to make sure that rock people from all parts of the nation can enjoy their fest in safety and well organized order.ar
Japanese festival gurus of famous Summer Sonic and Loudpark Festival has been invited to witness the event and also they said, it was an extraordinary accomplishment in how smooth and well done Midi Festival wend, especially in the speed and quality how problems were solved. Famous rock photographer George Chin who came all the way from London was happy capture everything on film and fotos, he has been on countless festivals since the late 70's but Midi Festival made a quite impression on him, too. "Unbelieavealbe, China has such a great festival audience that European festival organizers can only dream of!"
With a longer time to prepare and the experiences gained this year, both Midi and the local authority are convinced that they can do an even greater festival next year. However, as the Midi team keeps saying: music ends, life ends, but never does our dream.
Gallery (photo by George Chin)