UPDATE, 17:15: An article over on Sina (link in Chinese) is pointing to policing problems and a lack of adequate security as the cause of Midi’s demise (a claim seconded by theBeijinger) whilst also quoting festival organiser Zhang Fan as saying that “a postponement is possible, but only possible, there has not been a definitive decision yet”. Meanwhile, CityWeekend also quote Zhang: “I’d rather not say right now. There will be an announcement tomorrow”. That, to Shanghaiist at least, sounds like a stall for time to inform all the artists/promoters etc. before making the postponement public. CW do state however that the (obviously) smaller-scale Mini Midi festival will still go ahead.
Anyone planning, like Shanghaiist, to go and stand in a train ticket queue this week for a May holiday trip to the capital should think again. We told you before that Shanghai’s attempts at a May 1st fest had fallen by the wayside, but we’ve just got word that China’s premier and longest running music festival, the Midi Festival at Haidian Park, will not take place this May holiday. It’s still unclear as to whether this is a cancellation or a postponement, but chances are the festival might be moved to after the Olympics, probably the October holiday, instead.
So far there has been no official announcement and therefore direct reasons for the cancellation/postponement have not been forthcoming, however Shanghaiist Music Editor Abe Deyo has heard from some of the bands involved that the festival will not go ahead on May 1st as planned. An official announcement is expected in the next couple of days.
Our hunch is that the government, unsure exactly where all this pre-Olympics nationalist furore is going, are viewing the festival — featuring a number of foreign bands (some of whom are French) and taking place as the 100 day countdown to the Olympics begins — as a potential flashpoint for trouble. Some of the foreign bands coming over were planning on playing shows around the capital during their stay in China too and it is currently unclear whether these gigs will be affected, but the main reason for their visit was clearly the Midi Festival and this cancellation is a huge blow to them and the organisers.
Shanghaiist will keep you updated as this story develops but, in the meantime, you might want to consider buying the 2005 Midi Festival DVD (also available at Yu Yin Tang’s CD shop), getting some beers in, and having your own private festival for the May holiday.