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Preview: Stone Forest Perfect Music Festival

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Many of the music festivals held in Yunnan center around nationally known headliners who fly in for a few days and then leave just as quickly. Not so this weekend, as the Stone Forest Perfect Music Festival (石林石全石美音乐狂欢节) — while replete with pop stars of its own — focuses on Yunnan minority musicians, many of whom got their start while growing up near one of the province's best know tourist destinations.

Billed as a "star-studded show", the three-day event looks to highlight Yi culture, tradition and music, while also providing the opportunity for "non-stop eating and drinking". The setting for the first ever Perfect Festival is inside the Stone Forest Scenic Area at Sentry Hill (步哨山), one kilometer south of the park's main entrance.

The Stone Forest was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 for its unique Karst geological formations, rich biodiversity and indigenous Yi culture. It is amidst this backdrop that the Perfect Music Festival — its name a homophonic play on words — will be held August 26-28. Musical performances by 12 acts will be held each day from 4:30-6:30pm. Ticket holders are encouraged to arrive early and explore the confines of the Stone Forest before settling in for a few hours of music each afternoon.

Artists and bands scheduled to perform

Individual acts

Duan Linxi (段林希): winner of Hunan TV's Super Girl 2011
Bi Huixian (毕慧仙): weekly winner of CCTV's Star Avenue
Dou Qing (窦青): top ten finisher on CCTV's Amazing Chinese
Li Chuanya (李传亚) top ten finisher on Dongfang TV's Chinese Idol
Na Ri (娜日), Ge Yijun (葛奕君), Lü Yang (吕洋): all top ten on Hunan TV's Super Girl 2016
Li Li (李黎): champion cover artist

Bands

Rough Tiger (蛮虎乐队)
Black Stone (黑石头乐队)
Agate Gauze (沙布玛组合)
Clear Agate (清玛组合)

Ticketing, travel and accommodation

Tickets to the Stone Forest Perfect Music Festival are available at the park gates as well as in advance online. A one-day pass costs 198 yuan, and provides access to the concert and the Stone Forest scenic area — admission to which normally runs 175 yuan.

Options for getting there are plentiful. Hiring a car and driver to the Stone Forest can be quite spendy, with a round trip costing more than 500 yuan. This will be much cheaper if you have a car service app. Also, buses depart from the Kunming East Bus Station from 7am-7:30pm daily and cost 25 yuan per person for the 90-minute trip. There are also five daily trains to the Stone Forest, the fastest of which takes 90 minutes, while the slowest is three hours. Tickets range in price from 14-19 yuan.

The scenic area has several hotel and dining options, as well as restaurants specializing in local Yi dishes. There are also a handful of small supermarkets selling homemade lufu (卤腐), a pleasantly pungent fermented tofu that may remind Western palates of blue cheese.

Images: Stone Forest Perfect Music Festival

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