Good morning all, and welcome to a very special October Holiday Music Festival edition of the Beijing Gig Guide Gig of the Week newsletter!
As you are probably already aware, there are two music festivals on opposite ends of this enormous city this weekend and they both look– Wait, that sounds awfully like the beginning of the May festival edition.… Well, copy-pasting aside, the same holds true for the first big holiday this great nation has had since the May 1 holidays, and even though there have been music festivals since then, personally I have been waiting for this week — and one of these festivals — for a very long time.
To start off with, the festival I have chosen to fill my October holiday is the Modern Sky Festival. I went last year, even though it had to grin and bear through the news of all of their international acts being denied visas at the last minute, and I enjoyed it even though I attended only one of the days. Hopefully, as they have reverted back to their original home at Haidian Park, there will be no such last-minute hiccups and everything will come off without a hitch.
As with the Strawberry Festival that Modern Sky organized earlier this year, the number of international acts is impressive. Camera Obscura, Brett Anderson (of Suede), The Big Pink, Free Energy, Brainstorm, and Blonde Redhead (who are finally making it over after four previous attempts to cross China’s borders) create the Western foreign acts; in addition, Joanna Wang and Deserts Zhang are bringing in the female indie pop sound from Taiwan. But what’s really great about Modern Sky is that they bring all their own biggest names to the show: The Life Journey, Queen Sea Big Shark, Hedgehog, New Pants, Re-TROS, AV Okubo, Bigger Bang, and Hang on the Box, SUBS, Guaili, XTX, Perdel, and Second-Hand Rose are all heading to the park to show off.
However, as usual, there are some great lesser-known acts that will be worth checking out. First of all, there’s a few Shanghai bands making the trek up: Duck Fight Goose, Booji, and Pairs are all heading to the capital to grace the stage and it’ll be great to check out some of the southern city’s talent. Then there’s the hardworking underbelly of Beijing who are always everywhere and deservedly included: DISH, Lazy Camels, The Dancers, Alt Senior, Dingke, and many more.
Modern Sky has busted out an amazing lineup — so great, in fact, that unlike most music festivals I’ve been to here, I think I’m going to have to make some tough choices on stage attendance.
Secondly, taking Modern Sky’s venue from last year is the Inner City Music Festival at Chaoyang Park.
Another festival organized by the district’s “art and culture development” department, the Inner City Music Festival is certainly a good contender for music festivals this holiday. And in fact, I must admit to making the “reliable fun” decision in going to Modern Sky this year, because there are plenty of great bands with promise headed to Chaoyang park this October.
They’ve managed to land a fairly decent international act lineup, including Rooney and Ill Nino from the West, as well as a couple of Taiwanese males. However, I also really appreciate the Chinese band lineup they’ve been able to recruit, and will be sad to miss a lot of them. I’d almost head over just to catch Reflector again (they were a HUGE highlight of Strawberry Festival), and they have lined up some heavyweights in harder rock/metal, like Chun Qiu and Twisted Machine. Chaoyang Park will definitely go off, and if you’re into a more hard rock type of scene I definitely suggest it.
Whatever your decision this October Holiday season, I sincerely hope you enjoy your holiday and the gorgeous, clear autumn weather.