Let me begin with the message championed by this year’s MIDI Music Festival.
PROTECT MOON BEARS, BOYCOTT BEAR BILE!
PROTECT MOON BEARS, BOYCOTT BEAR BILE!
Moon bears are farmed in China so that their bile can be extracted for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. These bears are kept in tiny cages that allow no movement at all, with a crude catheter stuck to a hole made in their abdomen to channel bile from their gall bladder. They suffer from painful dry and cracked skin, not to mention unhygienic conditions on top of the tiny cage they are kept in. Some bears have not seen sunlight since they were born.
PLEASE ... for one minute, close your eyes and imagine you are this bear.
A recorded message about the cruelty of bear farming was repeatedly played in between bands. There was also a booth which educated young concert-goers on bear bile farming and the cruelty the moon bears are suffering from. Although we were a merrymaking crowd, I am sure many of us were touched by, and learned much about the plight of the moon bears over the last 3 days. Hopefully, this trade will cease to exist soon.
The MIDI festival last weekend was the first time it was held in Shanghai. In previous years, only the lucky people up north got to see it in Beijing. Because I had to work on Friday and had the enovate Youth Connection event I had to go to on Saturday, I could only attend Sunday’s show. I hoped it would be the best day of the three because that’s how we roll in Singapore, music festivals close with a bang. Whether or not I was right, the bands on Sunday rocked the festival, and I will be sure to head out on all 3 days next year. Mark my words.
Everything about Sunday was just perfect (although it could be a little cooler and less dusty) – the sun was up and bright, we had clear blue skies and the venue – Century Park 世纪公园 – albeit way out east about an hour’s subway ride from my home, was gorgeous.
After we were past the ticketing booth and entrance, we entered a park like this. Ooh la la, I was loving it already.
A stream runs through the green landscape of Century Park. I am a self-confessed addict of rivers, any place with a river agrees with me (I live along one), but this was really pretty, yes, even though I think it's man-made.
The venue and weather were just so perfect that some people took this opportunity to picnic, not necessarily to pump to the music because they never quite got up from their resting spots.
As one walked toward the 2 stages, one could find interesting original creations from young Chinese independent artists and designers.
Fashion shades are all the rage these days in Shanghai, but these quirky ones are strictly for a party like today's.
She was so cute I was so tempted to have a picture of her. I eventually bought 3 cards of her original sketches to support this young artist.
Five stripes are the rage now, thanks to an explosion on Weibo 微博 about a 11-year-old who was elected as the "prefect" for all school children in his province. According to my friend, no one has ever gone beyond 3 stripes - 1 stripe for being your class monitor, 2 stripes for being the monitor for all the classes in the same year, 3 stripes for being the school prefect. Much controversy surrounds the responsibility of his parents in creating such a huge sense of hierarchy in the young child. Definitely the latest most talked about issue in China these days, and the beauty of it is, how people are making fun of it and recreating it in their own ways.
There were two stages at MIDI – the eArts stage for electronic music, and the Tang stage for indie rock and punk. No prizes for guessing right where I hung out most of the time. I would have loved eArts too had it served more original sets than what you get in clubs.
Could this be the third unofficial stage? Tonari-on To-toro, To-toro ... isn't quite the song for MIDI, but who knows?! "If You're My Sunshine" made it on-stage too!
The electronic music corner, where artistes played the regular fare you get in clubs. Lots of people were spread out picnicking there taking in the sun and the music.
I think it's SAL, with his Indian sitar. Too chillout for me, so I moved on.
Tang stage where the real action happened. Sombre messages about the plight of moon bears abound.
I was a little late, so I missed the first two acts, Pink Berry and Tookoo, from China. The first band that I caught was Your Favorite Enemies from Canada.
The band turned up the heat on a sweltering afternoon.
Lots of body surfing going on the whole day.
After the first act when I was up front, and caught in the claustrophobic mosh, I decided I should move to the spacious back where I could move and dance more freely when Ming’s Pretty Heroes came on. Besides, the scorching afternoon sun and dusty air were making me sweaty, sticky and grimy … yikes.
Ming's Pretty Heroes from The Netherlands. Their sound was poppish Eurodance, didn't quite get the groove on for me.
The final four bands that played – Boys Climbing Ropes, Free The Bird, Good 4 Nothing and Reflector – made me feel so proud to be Asian. We make rocking good music, yeah!
Boys Climbing Ropes from Shanghai is made up of 3 Canadians and a female vocalist Xiao Punk. She is damn cool, simply because if you rub shoulders with her on the street, it will never hit you that she plays punk. She looks just like any regular girl-next-door. I like how she keeps it real.
Free The Bird, formerly known as 自由 (ZIYO) from Shanghai. The female vocalist Helen is one amazing singer.
It was starting to get dark, the cool breeze was caressing our faces while we waited for the next band to be done with their sound check. Shadow and feet all in one single shot. Perfect.
Next up: Good 4 Nothing from Japan.
These guys worked the crowd so well, everyone was dancing so hard, including yours truly!
Everyone in the audience seemed to be waiting for this one band - Reflector 反光镜 - from Beijing. Finally, there was one song I could sing in its entirety - "You Are My Sunshine", the rock edition.
And there's finally one instrument they could play that I can too - the melodian!
Reflector gave a rousing finale to the first MIDI Music Festival in Shanghai - it's time to say goodbye and see you again next year! On all three days v(^_^)v