Cranking it up in Emperor's retreat

Updated: 2010-08-19 14:01
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It was once the ritual location for the summer solstice of Emperor Jia Jing of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), but, until Sunday, Ditan Park has been transformed into an outdoor music venue showcasing some of the country's best underground acts.

The soft Chinese ballads that normally play as elderly couples waltz among the trees are being drowned out by heavy metal, pop, folk and rock music as hundreds of fans descend on the park for the 2010 Max Star Music Festival.

The seven-day festival features 60 bands from across China, playing live to hundreds of revelers at a cost of 40 yuan a person on weekdays, rising to 80 yuan for the weekend shows.

"I'm completely amazed they were able to arrange this location," said Dutch festival-goer Broderick Heitbeink. "The park is absolutely beautiful, if a bit strange for a music festival."

But the contrast is exactly what drew the Max Star event coordinators to Ditan Park, said Chen Yi, a promoter for the festival.

"One of the biggest attractions for the festival is the venue itself," she said. "I think the contrast plays really well. The contrast between the young and the ancient, the rational and the subversive - it's the perfect message for our festival."

While attendees may be left wide-eyed at the spectacle, the raucous rock show is not music to everyone's ears.

A resident of the area and a frequenter of the park, 60-year-old Wang Xiaomei, said while it's interesting to see a music festival in the park, the noise is too much for her.

"Personally, I'm not against [the festival], but it's too loud and it affects our life, especially in the evening," she said. "We old people like our quiet."

Though Wang said she has yet to make a formal complaint, a few local residents have aired their grievances through the proper channels.

"We've received a few complaints about the noise, especially in the first few days," Chen said.

However, after promising to end the music at 10 pm, quite early for a rock concert, and offering free tickets to residents concerned about the noise, Chen said they have received fewer complaints.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Cranking it up in Emperor's retreat

About the broadcaster:

Cranking it up in Emperor's retreat

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.