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The Best and Worst of MIDI Electronic Festival

By Jun 13, 2016 Nightlife
MIDI and The Mansion held their big festival in an old amusement park in Jiangsu province over the long weekend. Maybe 2,000 people (rough estimate) traveled two hours by bus and cab to listen to some electronic music in a field and camp overnight. Music and sound quality was all over the place, but overall the fest was a good time, with zero corporate branding, and a really grassroots, underground vibe. Overall, a good escape from the city that didn't cost too much.

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."

- Anonymous

* 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]."

- Anonymous

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."

- Anonymous

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?.



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  • 5 years ago DJ BOBBY

    Hi Skinny Brown, I am DJ BOBBY, I very  admire your honesty because you say the WORST is you're in the PSY TRANCE stage not play PSY TRANCE

  • 5 years ago memeda Unverified User

    I am from Shandong Province and I would call myself a party person as I follow parties nationwide. The recent E-MIDI festival by far is one of the most exciting events I've ever been to.
    I've listed pros & cons below to share with fellow party people, or shall I say party animals.
    - 4 outdoor stages plus 4 indoor stages (night time only) were dedicated to different music genres, catered for everyone's need.
    - The sound effect is far better than most other music events.
    - Clean & tasty food! This is the 1st! I've been to all these parties serving kababs only, this time there were actually many food choices! Fab! Fab! Fab!
    - Thumbs up to the security guards! They made me feel safe! I mean after all nobody wants to get hurt while having fun. Their hard working was highly appreciated.
    To be honest there was only one bad experience. On 9th around 7pm we were dancing to the stomping music at psytrance outdoor stage. Our fellow Shandong DJ was supposed to be DJing as we flew to Suzhou to support him. He did not show up but the music was so good we could not care less. But all of sudden, a foreign DJ showed up on the stage, and he started to play music my mum likes: House! I mean is this a psytrance stage, or a stage for anyone to show their egos?! This foreign DJ was so poorly talented, people started to leave the dance floor, so did I and all my friends. The dance floor was almost empty. We had no idea what was going on. Luckily this DJ was quickly replaced, the good music was back! As we were going back for a good dance, I heard this DJ was cursing at his fellow DJs, F this F that, I mean the one he really should F is himself. Such a loser!
    Anyway, apart from this everything else was fantastic! But I would love to know that foreign DJ's name, for no other reasons but to avoid his gigs at all cost!

  • 5 years ago Unverified User

    Skinny Brown got a big head

  • 5 years ago sal_hawk

    DJ Bobby. Awesome!

    Firstly dude, I don’t play house.

    No disrespect to house. I just don’t really play it

    Now Bobby you guys booked me.

    When I get booked to play, I take time and plan something unique. I started that set with Dub-Reggae, then moved into a Kalimba track (made in Durban South Africa, by a bunch of poor kids who build their own synths), I was going to move into cool Indian classical music with psy influences, then cool Psy-dub with samples of Gu Zheng and Gu Qing. I was going to end my set with classic Goa Trace (off Transient, Tip, and flying Rhyno) which all sampled Indian and Chinese elements, bringing you back to the very roots of psy.

    But you cut me off after ten minutes, so I didn’t make it that far.

    I won’t play you an hour and a half of straight 140bpm psy-trance, because everyone does that. I will however, plan something different, something unique, perhaps something you haven’t heard, but I would’ve ended up with psy trance (well, Goa).

    I’ve always liked the psy-trance crew, they’re usually very open-minded. But you most certainly were not.

    Secondly, I think you’ll find my head is actually pretty small. In fact I always have a hard time finding hats that fit.

    Thirdly, Bobby, dude! DJ Bobby has to be the worst Dj name ever, especially for a psy-trance Dj. You’ve got Slinky Wizard, PsyNova, Hillight Tribe, Lifeforms….and then DJ Bobby. And do you ever mess up writing it, like accidently use two “O’s” instead of two “B’s”, so it’s like “Dj Booby”. I feel like that’s probably a common mistake.

    Sorry that was immature.


    No disrespect to the Shalanaya Crew. You guys are awesome, and I mean that! You’re party in Zhu Jiaojiao is my favorite party. Big Love and Respect for putting that on. Your Kunming Party is awesome as well. And I did have a great time at your psy-trance stage at midi, until the unfortunate incident with Bobby.

    Big Up Shalanaya Every time

    Much Love and Respect


  • 5 years ago Pinball Lizard

    Sal, great response, and I would have loved to hear that set. big ups man and sorry for your shitty treatment.

  • 5 years ago DJ BOBBY

    To Skinny Brown:

    1) shalanaya do booking for you, but you for 3 hours later than scheduled performance time arrived at the scene, so that your performance has been cancelled.

    2) it happened in Qingdao DJ when has the accident, he could not continue to perform, and before you came to power and managers to ensure broadcast PSY TRANCE

    3) When you not get on stage , dance floor is full, get on stage 15 minutes no one in the dance floor. you didn't play PSY TRANCE, managers remind you when you came out on stage Foul language, this is also the audience a lot of people watching.

    This just want to remind you again, the play time is not belong to you, please comply with the contents stipulated in the managers play music, has nothing to do with who invited you to the festival.

    --DJ BOBBY

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