Today is the first of three days of jazz music in Fuxing park, and if you aren’t into jazz then perhaps the enticing prospect of being allowed to sit on the grass field is enough reason to show up. Yes, folks, you heard it right- an outdoor music festival on a lawn, in China. The last time they had a music festival here, the grass was covered with some protective hard lego-like pieces of plastic that fit together and were more uncomfortable to sit on than concrete. It appears that this time things will be a bit more like the music festivals of yore, with food and drink, picnic style enjoyment of music, and a mellow sunny atmosphere.
Now, of course, we just have to pray that the rain shower predicted for today is short and isolated. It would be just like Shanghai to have perfect sunny weather for two weeks before the outdoor festival and then rain all weekend. Today only three bands are featured for the opening evening of the jazz fest, which starts at 7 pm with the Latin Percussion band, continues with the JZ All-star Big Band led by Rolf Becker, and the concludes with the Latin Project who finish around 10. Then they rush back to JZ Club to play their regular friday night set.
Luckily, the forecast is back to mostly sunny for Saturday, which will exclusively feature bands based in Shanghai and Beijing. Starting it all off is the Red Groove Project at 3 pm and finishing up will be the band Coco Zhao brought to the Montreal Jazz Festival earlier this year, his Possicobilities Band, from 9-10 pm.
Sunday is the day we’re both waiting for and dreading the most, because it will feature all the foreign acts. Since we’re acting as stage manager, that means a lot of very picky musicians for which every little thing on stage will have to be perfect. But as a musician, we can’t wait to hear festival closer Wallace Roney’s band and some of the other foreign groups that all promise to inspire.
In any case, it will be lots of fun, and perhaps the last fun outdoor event before the icy winter wind moves in to take over for five months. Tickets for individual days are 150 RMB, and there is a slight discount for buying three tickets at 400 RMB. The tickets are not marked with specific days so you can buy one first and decide later which day to go. For more info about the bands playing, call 5403-6475 or check out the page on JZ’s website about it. The festival is located inside Fuxing Park, which has entrances on Yandang Lu off Nanchang Lu, Gaolan Lu by Park 97, and the corner of Fuxing Lu at the raised highway. The grassy area where it will take place is next to the long building that houses Cashbox (Partyworld) and other restaurants and bars on the east edge of the park.