Midi Festival commenced at Zhenjiang this year, a mere 11 hours away from Beijing by train. Musical highlights on May 1 included Shouren (Thin Man) and Cui Jian doing an extended set. Other things I will remember: the singer of Turdus Musicus tangled in his microphone cord, trying to get through into the audience past a panicked security line and members of Mike TV tripping over the phrase “niu bi” (eventually it was decipherable enough to understand). Beer and kebobs were available. All in all, the first day of the festival was a well-organized affair. Who knew Zhenjiang could rock?
By Jeremy Breningstall