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Preview: Dali Erhai World Music Festival

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Live music aficionados may have been wondering what happened to the Snow Mountain Music Festival (雪山音乐节), which debuted in Lijiang in 2002 and was held again annually from 2007-2011. Kunming's 500KM music festival (五百里音乐节) has also fallen off the radar since its most successful incarnation in 2011. Unfortunately, neither of these two festivals are scheduled to be held again anytime soon.

The past two years have seen a variety of festivals come and go, mainly as a means of promoting tourism at various Yunnan scenic spots. The musical talent on hand has never been lacking, but the festivals have often been plagued by poor planning and even poorer follow-through. Some have even been preempted by national power handovers.

There is hope however for Yunnan's festival music scene. The end of April will see the inaugural staging of the Dali Erhai World Music Festival (大理洱海世界音乐节), taking place in the shadows of the Cangshan mountain range.

Mayuan Poets frontman Kuguo (苦果) playing with fire
Mayuan Poets frontman Kuguo (苦果) playing with fire

Dali Erhai World Music Festival

The possible heir to Yunnan festival preeminence will not be held in Dali Old Town, but instead in Xiaguan (下关), 20 kilometers to the south. Unlike the most recent Pu'er festival, which had big headliners but no schedule, or even the last Snow Mountain extravaganza, which was announced only two weeks before it was staged, this year's Dali event looks to be well organized.

The festival will be held outdoors on the grounds of the massive Dali National Fitness Center. It is also scheduled to coincide with Labor Day — a national holiday when people actually have time to travel. The three-day festival will take place from Monday, April 29 to Wednesday, May 1.

Although it's billed as a 'world festival', the overall music style is decidedly Chinese pop-rock. No international bands have been scheduled but several nationally-known rock headliners are on the bill.

These include seminal Beijing metal band Black Panther (黑豹) and Chinese punk rock pioneer He Yong (何勇). The festival is headlined by Chu Qiao (褚乔), a recent contestant on the wildly popular television show Voice of China. Local rock stalwarts Mayuan Poets (麻园诗人) will represent Kunming and perform in support of their most recent album release.

Tickets can be purchased online and cost 150 yuan for a single day pass or 300 yuan for all three days. Tickets are also available in Kunming at the Windsor KTV on Chuncheng Lu.

Dali National Fitness Center, where the Dali Erhai World Music Festival will be held
Dali National Fitness Center, where the Dali Erhai World Music Festival will be held

Festival Schedule

April 29

11:30-12:00 Red Rainbows
12:40-13:00 Happy Avenue (幸福大街)
13:40-14:00 Zuan ()
14:40-15:00 Liangsu Sanshi (梁旭三时)
15:40-16:00 The Way of the Dragon God (龙神道)
16:40-17:00 Yaksa (夜叉)
18:00-18:10 Video interlude
18:10-18:50 Shuangzi (爽子)
18:50-19:00 Video interlude
19:00-19:40 Brain Failure (脑浊)
19:40-19:50 Video interlude
19:50-20:30 Escape Plan (逃跑计划)
20:30-20:40 Video interlude
20:40-21:20 He Yong
21:20-21:30 Video interlude
21:30-22:10 Black Panther

April 30

11:30-12:00 Local Dali bands (TBA)
13:40-14:00 Misandao (蜜三刀)
14:40-15:00 SMZB (生命之饼)
15:40-16:00 Lure (诱导社)
16:40-17:00 Recycle (再循环)
18:00-18:10 Video interlude
18:10-18:50 Tiantang (天堂)
18:50-19:00 Video interlude
19:00-19:40 Miserable Faith (痛仰)
19:40-19:50 Video interlude
19:50-20:30 Reflector (反光镜)
20:30-20:40 Video interlude
20:40-21:20 Xu Wei (许巍)

May 1

11:30-12:00 Local Dali bands (TBA)
13:40-14:00 The Trouble (热超波)
14:40-15:00 Jimuyu (积木鱼)
15:40-16:00 Hai'anxian (海岸线)
16:40-17:00 Little Wizard (小巫师)
18:00-18:10 Video interlude
18:10-18:50 Yang Shunlin (杨顺鳞)
18:50-19:00 Video interlude
19:00-19:40 Mayuan Poets
19:40-19:50 Video interlude
19:50-20:30 Chu Qiao

Miserable Faith playing Kunming's Camel Bar last year
Miserable Faith playing Kunming's Camel Bar last year

Venue image: Baidu
Mayuan Poets image: Cheng Junjie

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Tangential question out of recent interest... anyone know if there's evidence the line-art approach to waves shown in the festival logo image is of Chinese rather than Japanese origin? In modern times, the most popular image showing this rendering style is undoubtedly Hokusai's 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa' at truefaith7.hubpages.com/hub/japanese-wave-art

I have since seen renderings by Edo period Japanese artists in a few countries; never Chinese. However, a Chinese watercolour instruction book I acquired in Hong Kong recently also includes the same rendering technique.

Sorry to deflate or inflame any nationalist sentiments. Just interested in the historical origin of this technique!

Yunfest has indeed be cancelled...once again. But it is not connected in any way to the Dali music festival.

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