Over the past several years, music festivals have been popping up in random cities all over China. Lijiang has been no exception. While the city has seen its fair share of festivals, including Snow Mountain and CoArt, this October's Lijiang Tianyu Music Festival (丽江天雨音乐节) will be the first event held at a decommissioned cement factory.
The site newly-dubbed the World Artist Village (丽江世界艺术村) lies roughly 500 meters south of the Lijiang Train Station. The industrial area has been transformed into an avant-garde cultural development site, complete with a huge grassy meadow.
With Lijiang's soaring mountains, majestic cloudscapes and vibrant minority culture, the UNESCO world-heritage site provides the perfect backdrop for three days of near-continuous music and revelry running from October 2 through October 4.
The Lijiang Tianyu Music Festival will showcase more than 50 bands from across China and overseas. It will feature three stages with music ranging from mainstream pop to rock and heavy metal, folk and traditional ethnic music as well as international DJs from the United States and Europe.
There will also be plenty to do across the festival grounds, with special areas set up for graffiti, break-dancing, Cosplay, skateboarding, parkour, BMX and drum circles. In addition, there will be basketball courts, NGO booths, campgrounds with on-site showers, an extensive food court and a handicrafts market.
Perhaps the biggest name scheduled to play is pop-rock icon Wang Feng, whom a majority of Chinese people, including your ayi and your neighbor's grandma will recognize. The festival's younger crowd will probably be more familiar with the multi-colored hair stylings of Sodagreen from Taiwan.
Musical acts are dominated by punk and indie bands such as Miserable Faith and Queen Sea Big Shark with some notable regional bands including The Trouble, Mosaic and Proximity Butterfly making their way to the big stage.
Kunming favorites Hell Yeah, War Whores and The Great Apes will be making appearances at the festival. Look out for Large Forehead, an up-and-coming ska/punk band. DJ Maxi will be representing the Spring City on turntables as well.
Bands scheduled to appear
Although more than 50 different acts have signed on to play the festival, an iron-clad schedule has yet to be released. However, a tentative version can be found at the official festival website, as can an illustrated map of the venue's three stages.
Performers on the main stage
Wang Feng (汪峰)
Shang Wenjie (尚雯婕)
Escape Plan (逃跑计划)
Queen Sea Big Shark (后海大鲨鱼)
Miserable Faith (痛苦的信仰)
The Trouble (热超波)
Proximity Butterfly (变色蝴蝶)
Yellow Barcode (黄色条码)
Arms and Legs from the USA
Large Forehead (大脑门)
The Mary Onettes from Sweden
The Mystery Lights from the USA
T.R.A. from France
Like Thieves from Australia
Versus the World from the USA
Performers on the second stage
Performers on the folk and electronica stage
Tickets for the festival can be purchased online or over the phone by calling the national ticket hotline at 4000-406-506 or the Lijiang service hotline at 0888-8880367 or 0888-8889288. One-day tickets cost 160 yuan and three-day tickets are 400 yuan. Upscale VIP tickets are available as well and run 380 yuan for a single day or 900 yuan for the entire event.
Dozens of buses leave Kunming for Lijiang daily and depart from the West Bus Station (西部客运站). Train tickets are also availalbe and go on sale 18 days in advance of departure. Schedules and purchasing information can be found online at Huochepiao.com.
Festival grounds are roughly 500 meters from Lijiang's main train station. Local buses 16 and 18 stop at the station and run from 7am until 9pm. For those staying in Shuhe minibuses will also be running to and from the event grounds.
GoKunming and Lijiang Tianyu Music Festival organizers strongly encourage those wanting to attend the festival to arrange transportation and accommodation well in advance. The event is being held during the National Day holiday, which is typically one of the busiest and most hectic travel times of the year.
The weather in October may be chilly and slightly damp with chances of rain, but be it rain or shine, the show will go on! Be sure to dress warmly and bring waterproof clothes.