I asked some people who attended the fest to tell us about the best and worst parts of the whole affair. Here's what they said.
The Best: "DJing with Lindberg who held his ground even though I'm an asshole to play b2b with."
The Worst: "The organization, who after all these years still don't get their shit together. It's nice to get some buses to the festival, now how about you get some real PA systems for the houses and some actual DJs on those big ass stages. My suggestion would be to scale it down since they obviously are a bit overwhelmed by how big it's got. Less houses, smaller stages with better quality PA and better DJs/live acts with more time to play would really go a long way."
- Laura Ingalls (DJ & Producer @ Co:Motion))
The Best: "The fact that there were no QR code scans or big obvious brand presence. It felt underground, and felt like the beginning of a much greater movement in general in China's music scene. Also, so much local support. Respect."
The Worst: "Getting the power cut ten minutes into my set, by a very rude individual for not playing Psytrance."
- Skinny Brown (DJ @ Popasuda and not-really-a-Deadbeat Dad)
The Best: "Melrose Pizza tasting better than normal. Better overall experience than the last."
The Worst: "The throat slashing rumor* and the fact that the urban stage still wasn't set up properly -- no grass or turf and too open."
* Many attendees I spoke with described a despicable incident where a young woman was attacked at the festival. According to festival organizer Tommy Hendriks, "The person who attacked her was her ex-boyfriend. The girl is getting treated in the hospital for her scars and the police have taken measures to find her ex-boyfriend. The attack has nothing to do with MIDI, just a jealous ex-boyfriend."
The Best: "The crisp and clean quality of the microphones."
The Worst: "Forgetting our bathing suits for the pool party. We had to swim naked. Actually, maybe that was the best part."
- MC One Con (Come Correct Crew)
The Best: "Drinking Mate Mate vodka's from the Elevator house and realizing Ellen Alien was actually mixing live as she galloped through her first few tracks."
The Worst: "Getting ready for a full night's party to have every house shut down early just when everyone was getting into it. It was a pity because this was obviously detrimental to the clubs who invested time and money into their venues and left a bad vibe leading into the following few days."
- PCJ (DJ @ China Social Club)
The Best: "Michael Cignarale vocal cameo over "Strings of Life" in the Elevator house."
The Worst: "A tie between LUR live and Jess Meider. Terrible music. Half the sound system was shutting off half the time. Also was too bad MIDI put the main stage where it was instead of reversed, which meant a lot of kids just went straight to the campground after it finished [instead of to the after-party houses]."
The Best: "Shanghai Restoration Project was my favorite act of the festival, for sure. That dude is dope."
The Worst: "That girl with blood running down her leg who jumped into the pool."
The Best: "The lack of corporate branding. The festival site itself and all the amusement park rides. Hearing the sound of frogs at midnight. The fact that Delirium draft was 30rmb. The dudes from Zhujiazhao selling homemade rice wine. The friendly vibes. Those Ayis doing yoga in the grass, and also that puffy dog (if you were there, you know which dog I'm talking about)."
The Worst: "This Swedish band called LUR who played live on the urban stage was one of the worst things I've ever seen, music or otherwise. Just dudes in skintight peacock costumes jumping around playing bad rave music on fiddles and synths and light bulbs, all very off time, and pandering to the [confused] crowd in Mandarin. Feeling confused about these "urban stage" bookings. The dudes from Beijing (Syndicate), Skinny Brown, Come Correct, B-Kut, or just any good hip hop / open format DJ would have been a way better choice. Also, Ellen Allien's track selection and beatmatching were way off. Still, good times at the fest."
- Ian L
The Best: "Laughing ballon while on the swing ride! It's very philosophical somehow... Life is like a circle. And you can never hold on to the moment no matter how hard you try. It feels really good when you just let it go!"
The Worst: "Witnessing this girl running towards the Shanalaya house stage with her face fully covered in blood, people screaming "catch that guy! Catch that guy!" It was sooo fucked up.... Thank god that poor girl is still alive and they also caught that crazy ex bf. I felt like I was living in a horror movie that whole night cause they just left the festival going and that crazy ex bf was still running loose."
- MIIA (Producer & DJ @ Co:Motion)
The Best: "Midi Electronic 2016 was a pure festival with crowd going wild, camping, swimming, sports. It was the best festival spirit and audience I have experienced so far in China." (Tommy)
"Full support from the local authorities for this pioneer festival, with a special nighttime license." (Rainbow)
The Worst: "Artist and staff hotel being 45 minutes away from the festival, really hope to find a hotel that has license for foreigners more close to the festival next year." (Tommy)
"Some stupid people jumped head first into the 80cm deep round pool -- which is clearly very shallow -- and hurt themselves unnecessary." (Rainbow)
- Tommy Hendriks & Rainbow Gao (Festival Organizers / The peeps behind The Mansion)
Quotes have been edited for clarity. All photos by Aleksander Carevic, for SmartShanghai. Would you like to see some more photos from day one of the fest?.