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Fall 2015 Festival Guide

'Tis the season...
By Aug 21, 2015 Nightlife

TELL EVERYONE

Here's the big festivals going down in Shanghai and surrounding cities this fall. Go ahead and bookmark this page -- we'll update it regularly. We've heard rumors of a few more festivals, too, so stay tuned...

Donghai Music Festival

Dates: Aug 28-30 @ An Island In The Sea



Just The Basics: Locally-focused music festival on a beach island about 3-4 hours outside of Shanghai. You'll need to take a bus and a boat, which could be fun. They have a decent line-up for a small scale festival; each day has a couple of fairly big headliners, like Lisa Ono, Lenka, 窦唯, Blademark 刃記, and EXITA. For local support, if you are familiar with the Chinese pop / rock scene, you might have seen these acts a thousand times already: Chang Shilei, Top Floor Circus, Shao Yibei, Zhou Yunpeng, and Li Zhi. One pick for this festival is Douwei, who put out some great experimental albums in recent years. A bit of DJ action comes from T-Plus, OSHI, DJ Roo, and DONN, who tend to drop bass, electro, hip hop, and house. Could make for a good weekend getaway.

Noteworthy Acts: Lisa Ono, Lenka, 窦唯, Blademark 刃記, EXITA, Douwei, Chang Shilei, Top Floor Circus, Shao Yibei, Zhou Yunpeng, Li Zhi.

Tickets: Pre-sale tickets are 120rmb per day, or three days for 300rmb. On-site, tickets are 150rmb per day.

After-Party: Probably no club on this island, so, likely some bonfire / tent action.

More Info: Douban.

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The Second East Asia Shoegaze Festival

Dates: Aug 29 @ Yuyintang



Just The Basics: An evening affair dedicated to the hazy, layered-guitar / pedal-heavy style of rock that got popular in the late '80s and early '90s. Fans of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive will find much to like here. Definitely not a raging, full-on festival, but sounds good. And it's at Yuyintang -- one of the city's finest spots to catch a show.

Noteworthy Acts: The fin, City Flanker, Forsaken Autumn, RUBUR, The White Tulips, Thud.

Tickets: Pre-sale tickets are 180rmb, though door tickets are just 200rmb.

After-Party: Maybe some BBQ and street beers on the curb, then perhaps Dada Bar.

More Info: Douban. Seems there's a lot of interest in this, with 232 people confirmed attending at the time of writing and another 435 interested.

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Moma Festival

Dates: Sept 3-5 @ Expo Park



UPDATE: This event has been canceled due to the national holiday on Sept 3.

Just The Basics: The "Magic Horse" festival is the first of several happening in the lush Expo Park this fall. This one has a decent line-up if you want to check out local bands and DJs, but to be fair, said line-up is almost the same as every Strawberry Festival -- minus the big international names. Headliners include Kimbo, Luo Qi, White+, Carsick Cars, Acid Arab, YAMPAPAYA, and more. The "Magic Dance Stage" has DJ sets by the SVBKVLT crew and familiar names like MHP, ILLsee, and Doggy. Overall, the music is indie-rock, world music, and folk, since the organizer is Chinese 4AD wannabe Tree Music.

Noteworthy Acts: Carsick Cars, Acid Arab, SVBKVLT, White+, Swimful.

Tickets: Pre-sale tickets are 150rmb a day, which is a bit steep considering the lineup -- but for a three-stage festival there's a decent amount to check out.

After-Party: Nothing that we know of yet.

More Info: Douban.

***

Spotlight Rhythm & Trends Festival

Dates: Sept 12 @ QSW



Just The Basics: A one-day hip hop festival / "block party" focused on Chinese artists, put on by CityMoments, the website who threw that Electric Circus rave last year. Performers include Boom.Xu, Iron Mic, CNDY, Kafe.Hu, Double Poom, Conrank, Cavia, Wes Chen, Tsunano, Asuka, Busy Gang, and more. There's also live art, DIY clothing, fashion shows, and pop-up shops. Considering it's free and QSW has a nice soundsystem, this should be a good call.

Noteworthy Acts: Iron Mic, Kafe.Hu, Conrank, Cavia, Busy Gang, Come Correct.

Tickets: This one is free before 7pm with a QR code scan, or 50rmb with a drink after that.

After-Party: Perhaps. This one goes until 2am though.

More Info: Not yet.

***

Echo Park

Dates: Sept 19-20 @ Shanghai Rugby Club



Just The Basics: Back in 2011, Split-Works threw what's widely considered Shanghai's best music festival ever -- Black Rabbit. They tried to bring it back in 2012, but...mei you. Well, this is the reincarnation of Black Rabbit, with the new name Echo Park, a.k.a. "a place less ordinary". Expect a huge, diverse lineup of bands and hip hop acts, quality F&B, and just good vibes. Definitely the most well-rounded festival this fall, happening in Pudong about 30-40 minutes from the city center.

Noteworthy Acts: Black Star, Kelis, Bok Bok, Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance), Jay Park, Chase & Status, Young Fathers, We Are Wolves, 小老虎 & Soulspeak, Pennywise, Star Slinger, Howie Lee.

Tickets: Pre-sale tickets going for 200rmb per day, or 300rmb for a two-day pass.

After-Party: One big after-party is going down at The Shelter, which will have re-opened by then. Expect some names from the festival throwing down.

More Info: Douban.

***

Shalanaya Festival

Dates: Sept 25-27 @ Zhujiazhao



Just The Basics: Now on their third year, Shalanaya Festival -- organised by the people behind Shiva Lounge -- is the most grassroots, down-to-earth jam of the fall season. If you like drum circles and far out hippie dance music, this is probably your bag. Expect DJs dropping psytrance, psyambient, house, and tech-house, plus cheap vegetarian food, fire dancers, cheap camping, two big bonfires, UV lights, UV paints, and a proper soundsystem. This all goes down in Zhujiazhao, a laid-back water town about 40 minutes from the city center in Qingpu District.

Noteworthy Acts: YOUR MIND, MANNNNNN…

Tickets: Tickets are 220rmb pre-sale (available by emailing awakenyrsoul@yahoo.com), or 300rmb at the gate.

After-Party: The bus-ride back to the city-center around 11am on Sunday.

More Info: People can find out how to get involved by emailing awakenyrsoul@yahoo.com.

***

MIDI Electronic Festival

Dates: Oct 1-3 @ Camp MIDI Taihu (Suzhou)



Update: Here is a full guide with lineup and transport information.

Just The Basics: Originally scheduled for early September, this is The Mansion's second big festival out in Suzhou, about two hours from Shanghai. Expect about 80 DJs -- too many DJs, some might say -- playing techno, house, bass music, electro, and trap, plus several domestic rock bands, extreme sports, craft beer, a small water park, and some outdoor documentary screenings. While overly ambitious and focused on quantity and inclusiveness over quality, they do get points for their grassroots freak ethos and anti-corporate stance. We don't have much info at the moment, so stay tuned. Rumor is that a full-on rock MIDI will not happen around Shanghai this fall, so this might be the closest thing.

Update: Several bands in the lineup now, including Finnish melodic death metal act Children Of Bodom on October 3, along with Japanese metal band GYZE. Seminal American punk outfit Sick Of It All play on Oct 2, with support from HK hardcore act King Ly Chee.

Noteworthy Acts: Lineup has changed due to the re-schedule. News as we get it. Expect a mostly local / domestic lineup and a couple of international acts.

Tickets: Ticket prices TBA, but should be affordable.

After-Party: Goes down at The Mansion on October 3.

More Info: Coming soon.


***

Storm Festival




Update: Here is a full guide with lineup and transport information.

Just The Basics: What happens when venture capital and corporate brands collide over the oceans of EDM cheese? A big 'ol STORM. China's biggest EDM festival returns to Shanghai for the third year (and they launch in Shenzhen in November). Expect impressive production, with huge stages and booming sound systems, a loose alien theme, and the looming presence of Budweiser. If you're young and into EDM, you'll probably love it though.

Noteworthy Acts: Skrillex, A-Trak, Tiesto, Avicii, DVBBS, Blasterjaxx, Laidback Luke, Yellow Claw, Keys N Krates, Booka Shade.

Tickets: Pre-sales going for 380rmb per day on SmartTicket.

After-Party: Nothing announced yet, but expect several. Info as we get it.

More Info: Storm Official Website.

***

Simple Life Festival

Dates: Oct 4-6 @ Expo Park



Update: Macy Grey is the international headline act. She plays at 5pm on Tuesday, October 6.

Just The Basics: Welp, this festival started out sounding alright. Then they canceled their only two big international acts: Lauryn Hill and Rufus Wainwright. But that shouldn't really affect their target audience: Chinese pop music fans. For now, confirmed headliners include Jolin Tsai, Peggy Hsu, Lisa Ono (again), and Tanya Chua, but they still have more to announce. Last year's performance by seminal rockers Television was quite underwhelming in terms of occupancy anyway. This is the music festival where you'll find the most mainstream pop music lovers in China. Lots of teenage girls / boys crying in excitement beside your ears. Four stages, markets, workshops...lots to kill time if you don't dig the music.

Noteworthy Acts: Do the names 林忆莲, 刘若英, 梁静茹, 周华健, 小野丽莎, 蔡健雅, 张震岳, 许美静, 万芳, 林宥嘉, 范玮琪, or 韦礼安 get you pumped?.

Tickets: Pre-sales are 230rmb per day, available On Douban.

After-Party: Hmmm, maybe the Line Café? That's probably where the target market hangs out.

More Info: Douban.

***

Shanghai International Beer Festival 6

Dates: October 16-18 @ Wharf 1846



Just The Basics: The Shanghai International Beer Festival returns. Again. An orgy of food and craft beers by the water with 250+ kinds of beer, 25+ food vendors, and a bunch of DJs and performers, put on by one of the city's biggest alcohol distributors. Sensory overload and high alcohol content. Pretty commercial affair. They do this like three times a year. This one is only three days, though, instead of the usual four.

Noteworthy Acts: Ummm…beers? Skinny Brown usually DJs these, and that's pretty cool.

Tickets: Hasn't been announced yet, but probably 50rmb. Or free -- they tend to pass out about 8888 free tickets for these.

After-Party: Bed.

More Info: Coming soon.

***

JZ Festival

Dates: Oct 17–18 @ Expo Park



Major Update: All the info you need is in our JZ Festival Guide.

Just The Basics: The 11th annual JZ Festival returns to Expo Park, with nine stages and areas showcasing jazz and all its manifestations. This year's lineup is not as impressive as past years, which had acts like Bootsy Collins and Mos Def. But we do get Earth, Wind, & Fire, multi–platinum UK singer Joss Stone, bassist Victor Wooten, and multi-instrumentalist Lord Echo. On top of that, there's jazz from Shanghai and abroad, plus an electronic stage with local DJs playing left-field sets. Definitely a nice couple of days in the park, and one of Shanghai's finest, most professional music festivals.

Noteworthy Acts: Joss Stone, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Victor Wooten, Lord Echo, Crowd Lu.

Tickets: Pre-sale tickets are 230rmb per day on SmartTicket.

After-Party: Nothing announced yet, but you can bet it's going down at one of JZ's many venues.

More Info: Douban. Also, our interview with festival founder Ren Yuqing.

***

Remember -- water no get enemy. Stay hydrated.

TELL EVERYONE

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