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Take a Glimpse at Rock Music Festivals
发布时间:2014-09-23 浏览次数:

Music, as Walter Savage Landor once said, was God's gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven. As a genre of popular music, rock music has enchanted various people for its strong rhythm and energy that pass to the audience. For rock music fans, the rock music festival is certainly a feast they prefer not to let slip. In China, it seems that rock music festivals become more prevalent since a growing number of them have come into the public's sight in recent years. People now, including both youngsters keen on rock music and every energetic young man who desires to have some fun at a music festival, have numerous options such as Midi Festival, Snow Mountain Music Festival and Strawberry Music Festival.

Generally speaking, a rock music festival is a large-scale open air rock concert that typically lasts for two or more days, featuring long rosters of musical performers and large crowds. The origin of it dates back to as early as the 1960s in western countries. The Monterey International Pop Music Festival and Woodstock Music Festival were all blockbusters at that time. Held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival lasted for three days from June 16 to June 18, 1967. Crowd estimates for the festival were 25,000 to 90,000 people, who congregated in and around the festival grounds. What’s more, as a seminal event, Monterey International Pop Music Festival featured debut performances of bands that would shape the history of rock and affect popular culture from that day forward. Another example was the Woodstock Music Festival given in 1969, when the American society was in tremendous contradictions and the anti-war campaign reached a climax. Following the trend of the time, four young men in the U.S.A started to plan and prepare for Woodstock Music Festival with the theme of "Three Days of Peace and Music", which turned out to have attracted incredibly more than 400,000 people to a dairy farm in Bethel, New York despite the bad weather. For three days, the venue became a countercultural mini-nation where renowned rock stars of the time including The Who, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix and etc took turns to perform day and night. In the meantime, legions of hippies gathered and partied all night long, singing and dancing freely in the mud after the rain. What's amazing of all was that almost nothing violent or unfortunate happened in such a big crazy party. The Woodstock Music Festival generated profound influences on not only music, but also counterculture, even on politics. Listed as one of the 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll, it went down in music history with the slogan of "love and peace".

By contrast, the budding of rock music festivals in China seems to lag a little behind. But the deniable fact is that it's growing more and more widespread and fascinating. Hosted by the Beijing Midi School of Music, Midi Festival is regarded as the first original music festival in China. Musicdish*China once evaluated that Midi Festival was the pioneer who initially brought the concept of open-air rock festival to China. The inauguration of Midi Music Festival was held in the auditorium of Midi School of Music for free in the year of 2000, thirty bands made up of students of Midi School of Music attending it. More than 2000 people were present and forty barrels of fresh beer that were free of expense as well were consumed. In 2003, the venue for the third Midi Music Festival was changed to the campus of Midi school, where fifty selected bands from every corner of the country gave their excellent performances. It was honored by the media as the first authentic open-air rock music festival in China. Titled as "the Woodstock in China", Midi Music Festival still has its indispensable place in the field of music festivals nowadays. Another rock music festival worth mentioning in China is Strawberry Music Festival organized by the Modern Sky record label. Unlike the Midi Festival, the Strawberry Music Festival has been a popular gathering place for trendy young music lovers. Designed by Modern Sky as another music festival brand after the Modern Sky Festival, the Strawberry Music Festival featured love, romance, and diversification. Three stages of music themed as "strawberry", "love", and "electron" were provided in the first Strawberry Music Festival. It offered a feast for audiences with singers from home and remarkable rock band including Deerhoof and Arms and Legs from abroad. In addition to the Strawberry Music Festival, plenty of newly-born music festivals have also sprung up, such as Orange Isle Music Festival in Changsha, West Lake Music Festival in Hangzhou, Rebo Music Festival in Chengdu and etc in China.

It's the passion and vitality a rock music festival stimulates that make it so attractive and irresistible. People are set free from depressing indoor places to vast playgrounds, where they can release the pressure and relieve themselves in a complete way. Pretty boys and girls dressed in latest fashion squeeze into huge crowds that are immersed in music, jumping off the ground and waving hands up in the air with the music rhythm. When your heart beats together with the drumbeat and you sing along delightedly with the singer, you are led into a utopia braced by music without any trouble in daily life. Meanwhile, a music festival is not only focused on music and leisure, but also on interpersonal connection. A number of individuals can always be seen sitting on the grass, cheerfully chatting or playing cards with friends. Also, the excellence is that it bridges the gap between strangers. It's natural to make acquaintances with people who stands next to you simply because you happen to be hooked on the same type of music. And you chat with one another to kill time during the short break between two performances. When the show then begins, all of you scream together, sing together and jump together. You may not exchange your contact information, but you will crack a smile while thinking of one another at some point in the future. Moreover, the affordable tickets whose prices usually range from 100yuan to 180yuan per day give young people the access to the amazing live show. Besides, participating singers and bands benefit a lot from a music festival on account that not only will they get some income from it, but also they become increasingly well-known through various music festivals. The success of the Chinese band Escape Plan speaks volume for it. Having taken part in different music festivals for more than 30 times in the last two years, the Escape Plan fascinated a multitude of audiences who would join the list of their fans, queue up to get their autographed CD and search for information about them on the internet every time after their performance.

However, rock music festivals expand so rapidly in China that all kinds of problems arise at the same time. In order to appeal to as many audiences as possible, sponsors now tend to invite musicians of various music styles, thus causing the conflicts between rock fans and pop fans. Pop fans always arrive very early at the site and stick firmly to the first row, waiting patiently and quietly for their idol to show up. As for rock fans, they never stand still. Pogo is their biggest fun at a live show. Pop fans consider rock fans as rude, while cynical rockers think that pop music damages the purity of a rock music festival. Hence, both sides always easily fall into quarrels especially when rock fans are pogo-dancing, it's inevitable for them to hit pop fans, though unintentionally. Apart from the conflicts, the pursuit of commercial interests also results in other problems which can be seen in the example of the 2014 Shanghai Strawberry Music Festival. That too many tickets were sold made the festival indeed full. It took more than an hour for audiences to queue up to enter the live site. Worse, they were forbidden to shift among different stages for the purpose of maintaining order. Many people even failed to get on the bus that could take them home.

Rock music festivals provide a wonderful platform for non-mainstream music to thrive and for youth to blossom. Problems may occur every now and then, but it is incontestable that music is truly an amazing thing in the world and the festival offers a stage where the ideas and thoughts of both music performers and lovers can be expressed through this marvelous stuff. Efforts needs to be taken by the whole society while coping with all the issues. With opportunities and challenges existing simultaneously, only when sponsors, performers and fans make improvements together can rock music festivals develop towards a perfect direction.


(Editor: Guo Ying     Source: English Net)

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