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Dragon-Boat Weekend Guide 2015

Music festivals. Dragon-Boat races. Zongzi-making workshops. Sunday night parties. The complete guide to the three-day weekend.
2015-06-16 18:22:37
Saturday, June 20 is Duanwu Jie (端午节), a.k.a. Dragon-Boat Festival. That means three days off work, including Monday, unless you work on Craigslist, or in a language sweatshop, or you are, in fact, a dragon. Here's everything you need to know about the three-day holiday weekend in Shanghai, illustrated by some time-traveling kid wizards we've never met.


Dragon-Boat History, Abridged

Boats, rice triangles, suicide, and dragons. It's one of China's most emo stories...

Back in the day (340–278 BC, Warring States Period), there was this poet named Qu Yuan who worked for the government and loved his country, but the king was not feeling his suggestions. Depressed, Qu Yuan committed suicide by jumping into the Milou River clutching a rock. The public feared the vicious fish would eat the poet's body, so they made thousands of glutinous rice triangles (zongzi) and threw them in the river to distract the fish (and possibly dragons).

So, the Dragon-Boat part...One version of the story says that when the locals heard of the poet's death, they flocked to the water, paddling frantically and searching for his body. They beat the waves in hopes of scaring away the fish and evil spirits...

In the more colorful version of this story, in another town, another really chill guy saved a little dragon from drowning in a small river. Turned out that little dragon was a god. The little dragon god wanted to say "hey, thanks village dude," so he turned the small river into a huge river, and the village had sparkling water and giant vegetables forever. Jah bless. So every year people race Dragon–Boats to say, "Hey, thanks little dragon god for giving us this chill river."

Actual Dragon Boat Races

Registration has closed, but you can still go and watch the races. A word of advice -- go down early. In past years, races have ended really early. People showed up and didn't find any Dragon Boats, and lit up our comments section. So just go down early and make a day of it.

Suzhou Creek Dragon-Boat Race | Friday, June 19 @ 8am

Ok this is biggest race in Shanghai. It's going down on the Suzhou Creek between the Jiangning Lu Bridge and Changhua Lu Bridge. Best place to the Jiangning Lu bridge, marked with the red icon on the map.

The "dragon club" people / cheer–squad will meet at Jiangning School at 8am (star on the lower left). The first races will end around 10.30am, followed by a ceremony. Then there are more races starting at 2pm. Their phone number is 5256 4588, if you want to confirm. Note: they only speak Chinese.

Songjiang Dragon-Boat Races | Saturday, June 20 @ 8am

Songjiang has a race too, according to this travel website and several others. This race also starts at 8am, with afternoon races from 3pm. Again -- go early. You can call them at 5771 4496 to confirm, but they only speak Chinese.

This is happening at: Songjiang Thames Town, east side of Huating Lake.
Chinese Address: 松江新城泰晤士小镇东侧华亭湖

That's a five minute cab ride from the Songjiang University Town metro station on line 9. Supposedly they have double decker buses that will take you to the place.

Kids Dragon-Boat Race And Zongzi Workshop | Friday, June 19 @ 3pm

Right, this one is easy. Awesome Kid's Club has a race for kids at the Ambassy Club pool on Huaihai Lu. Inflatable boats to ride and race in a 25 meter pool. Runs from 3–5pm. The ticket is 50rmb and adults get in free. They've asked people to RSVP to Kids should bring a swim cap, suit, and floaties if they need them.


So, there are five festival-ish happenings this weekend...

Bachatamemucho International Latin Festival | June 18–23 @ Various Places

So, there is this five day long festival for Latin dance, music and culture happening this weekend, starting with a party on Thursday. Events are happening at venues like Unico, Zapata's, and more. It's a bit confusing, so if you're interested, check out their website for the full list.

On Saturday and Sunday from noon–2am each day, MAO Livehouse has some dancing workshops for styles like Salsa and eight different types of Bachata (shine, sensual, tricks, etc.) and more, all taught by these big name professional dancers. Saturday night they've got an "international dj" on Saturday, and a live band on Sunday night. This has been trending in our search bar, so...should be big. Details.

Fête De La Musique | June 19-21 @ Various Places

World Music Day a.k.a. Fête de la Musique is a free, three-day, multi-venue / multi-genre concert series, featuring French, Chinese, and other performers. Always draws a big crowd. Information on their website is a bit spotty and they have not returned emails. What we do know is this.

The opening party is Friday, June 19 from 7–11.30pm at the QSW. Bunch of live music happening and that's free entry.

One big, confirmed event happens at Calypso in the Jing'an Shangri-La on Saturday, June 20 from 6pm–2am. That's an MVP thing, and they have live music from the John Jam Session crew and Sovnd of Shanghai from 6pm, then DJ sets by Super Attractive Ghetto Blaster and Love Bang. Party goes until 2am. Free entry before 9pm, then it's 100rmb, including a drink (two drinks for those who RSVP). Details.

They are daytime parties at Sinan Mansions on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, too. Guess the French gov has better guanxi than the Sinan Mansions Beer Fest people, who got denied their permit this year. Anyway, full list of events on their website.

FLVR Soundwave Water Park Fest | Sunday, June 21 @ Playa Maya Water Park

This looks really good. Boogatti Records and Dragon Adventures are teaming up to throw a rave at Playa Maya Water Park in Songjiang. They've booked two really solid Russian producers, Pixelord and 813, plus lots of local talent like Conrank, Yeti B, Love Bang, Peanut Butter & Jellyfish, and more. Tickets are 250rmb early-bird, available on Yoopay, or 280rmb there. We've been to the park -- it's great. Goes all day. Playa Maya is about 40 minutes from downtown by cab. If it rains, this will get moved to Monday, which is a public holiday. Stay tuned to the wire for updates.

Forest Rave | June 20 & 21 @ Anji Forest

Newcomer Guilty Pleasure in collaboration with Logo Bar, VOID Livehouse (Nantong), and some others have organized this holiday weekend deep house / tech house / funky house rave in the forests of Anji, home of the Hello Kitty Theme Park. They have buses leaving from Yongkang Lu on Saturday at 1pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are 150-180rmb, then bus tickets and sleeping bags are another 120–150rmb. DJs include Mau Mau, Verse@ille, some Mansion DJs, and some cats we've never heard of. You can scan the QR code on the flyer to get more info and purchase tickets. Right on. Might be rad, might suck. Hard to say.

Yin Yang Music Festival | June 20–22 @ The Great Wall Of China

Finally, there is this. The Mansion is going back to the Great Wall for another of these Yin Yang music festivals. They have buses leaving from Shanghai. They're probably gonna rage hard. These are the same people who brought you "Electronic Midi Festival" and "The Enduring Hatred of Everyone Actually Promoting Underground Electronic Music in Shanghai". Lineup is... pretty much exactly the same as E-Midi. But on the Great Wall. If The Mansion is part of your lifestyle, you're probably already volunteering or something. Here's details, tickets, and times.

Travel & Cultural Activities

So, rave-free options like hiking, beaching, and classes on how to make zongzi, those pyramid shaped rice dumplings. If none of these interest you, you can check our travel deals tag for more weekend trips.

Cook In Shanghai Farm Visit / Zongzi Making Sesh | Saturday June 20

This is a really kid friendly trip with lots of games and activities during the day, including a tea tasting, zongzi making, and picking vegetables and firewood. Cook In Shanghai has the day planned out from 9am-5.30pm, and will take you to the farm round trip from Jing'An temple. That's 399rmb per person, or 299rmb for kids ages 4-11. See the full itinerary and register here.

Ok, Deal! Club Trip To Qinhu Lake | Saturday June 20–21

Then there's this trip with actual Dragon Boat races and more zongzi making. Tour organizers Ok, Deal! Club are taking a bus up to Qinhu Lake for hiking in the wetlands and watching races. That's from Saturday morning to Sunday evening, June 20-21. The 950rmb cost includes four meals, round trip transportation, accommodation and park entrance fees. More info on that here.

Ok, Deal! Club Trip To Tantou Island | Saturday June 20–22

The same guys also have a three day trip to Tantou Island, off the coast of Ningbo. That includes two nights of beach camping, where they might throw bonfire parties. It's pretty bare bones out there, but you can opt to sleep in a homestay instead of on the sand. That's from June 20-22, and costs 920rmb for transportation and meals. Get the full itinerary here.

Uther Pendragon's Sunday Parties Roundup

Sunday holiday parties are hit or miss. Sometimes they rage, sometimes it's crickets.

Daily Vinyl Vol. 4: Music Magic (奇兵突袭) @ On-Stage

Super cool, laid-back, family friendly afternoon vinyl market with live acts and DJ sets, put on by the friendly kids who run the Daily Vinyl Taobao shop. Anyone can bring records to sell or play, just email Music starts at 3pm, with a lineup including Pantoo, MADPETE (live), LJ, DJ FuShiKang, MC Amine, and more. Goes from 3–10pm. Details.

Pool Party @ Shangri-La Pudong

MVP have another pool party at the Pudong Shangri-La. The first one was a banger. This weekend they have the Lola residents playing from noon–6pm. Free before 2pm with the password "MVP". Details.

Bashment @ The Shelter

Big one for reggae and dancehall. The Come Correct Crew (T-Plus & DJ Caution) host, with DJ Mase (one of China's best selectors), Deejay Laobang, Far East Lion, and guests.

Circuit Party @ Icon

The biggest gay club in Shanghai always goes hard on holiday weekends, and Dragon Boat festival is no exception. Promo group Angel has parties there on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Details.

Cold Blooded @ Dada

Dada is usually a good look on holidays. This Sunday they have Sacco, who writes our Music Monday column, and DJ Pleather Williams laying down a night of retro beats. Music like Prince, Egyptian Lover, Afrika Bambaata, Rick James, New Order, and Debbie Deb.

And of course, after-hours spots like Downtown and Amber will likely rage until dawn.

Worst Dragon-Boat Flyers 2015

June 13, 2015: Brainstorming Session For Upcoming Beach Party

"How about a vintage party?"


"80s Beach Party?"

"Fucking Lame"

"I know! Prison Break!"

Little known fact -- DJ Steve Money invented dragons.


That's all, folks. Don't be that guy who swims in the Huangpu river on Dragon Boat Weekend. They probably won't throw any zongzi in the water to save your rotting flesh. Jah bless.