100 acts to perform at grasslands festival

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

Updated: 2015-07-01

Several years ago, a group of people from InMusic Magazine visited Zhangbei, a small county in Hebei province located near the Inner Mongolian autonomous region known for its vast grasslands and nomadic scenery, and decided it would be a great place to hold a music festival.

"When I visited Zhangbei for the first time in 2009, I was impressed by the green grasslands, the beautiful sunsets and the quietness," recalls Li Hongjie, the chief planner of the Zhangbei Music Festival. "I thought it would be a refreshing trip for city dwellers tired of the urban chaos."

Launched in 2009, Zhangbei Music Festival is now one of China's fastest-growing outdoor music festivals, says Dong Yong, the general manager of Sun Green Culture Communication, one of the organizers. In the first year, around 100,000 people attended the festival. Last year, the number exceeded 350,000.

"The music festival is now a brand name synonymous with the county," says Dong. "It has also helped boost the local economy."

Since the summer of 2009, British trip-hop legend Tricky and Swedish electronic music band Little Dragon as well as Chinese rock stars, such as Cui Jian, Xu Wei and Zheng Jun, have performed at the festival.

And established rockers, such as Zhang Chu and He Yong, who had long withdrawn from the spotlight, made their comeback on stage at the Zhangbei Music Festival, which has given it a buzz of anticipation among fans.

Now, in its seventh year, the festival, which is a drive of several hours from Beijing, will take place on July 24 to 26.

Seventy square kilometers have been mapped out as the main venue, and the lineup of the three-day event features nearly 100 international bands and singer-songwriters, including Happy Mondays and Razorlight from Britain, Taiwan singer-songwriter Lo Ta-yu and Beijing-based pop singer-songwriter Li Jian.

But for the organizers of Zhangbei Music Festival, it's not just about great headliners - it's also about attracting people to experience music on the grasslands.

This year, the electronic music stage will be in the tent zone. According to Dong, more than 6,000 people brought or rented a tent last year.

Stalls are a common feature of most outdoor music festivals, and Zhangbei Music Festival is no exception, with stalls featuring the handicrafts of local residents, ranging from earrings to purses, bags and handmade shoes.

 100 acts to perform at grasslands festival

The band Miserable Faith (left) will perform at the upcoming Zhangbei Music Festival, one of the fastest-growing outdoor music festivals in China.Photos Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 07/01/2015 page19)

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