The annual battle between Midi and Strawberry is upon us. Maybe you’ve already seen the lineups, but if you haven’t, they’re pretty damn solid. If you have to pick just one day to go to the futhest-flung reaches of Beijing, though, my money’s on the first day of Strawberry Festival. The lineup is truly epic, with their biggest headliner Travis taking the main stage in the evening. It’s also got some of the biggest names in Chinese talent Modern Sky could rustle up: veteran electro-pop group New Pants, indie pop crooner Peng Tan, post-punk trio Snapline, Taiwanese indie pop goddess Joanna Wang, Dalian post-rock legends Wang Wen, and just… so much more. Do not. Freaking. Miss it.
Wednesday is up for grabs, with seriously solid lineups on both sides of the fence, but Midi’s Tuesday is solid with Chinese rock gods Muma & Third Party, Lanzhou folk rock group Low Wormwood and wild punk rockers SUBS. Whatever decisions you make, both festivals are set to be loads of fun — at least from a performance point of view.
Transportation, however, is going to be a bit of a bitch for Midi punters. Strawberry will be fine, as always, because with so many years at Tongzhou Canal Park under their belt they have this down to a science (and so do I; I take public transportation). But Midi is out in Pinggu, at the China Music Valley venue of Yuyang International Ski Resort. Their buses run from the Line 10/8 stop Beitucheng Exit A and cost 20/40RMB (single/round trip). They leave every half hour from 9am-2pm, and return every half hour from 8–11:30pm. My personal recommendation is find a bunch of friends and the number of a trusty mianbaoche driver, lay down a few extra kuai and be secure in the knowledge you’ll have a designated driver for the ride home, all the way back to your house. You do not want to be stranded and drunk in the far west of Beijing. Trust me.