May Day holidays crammed with performances as art market recovers
Seize the day
Published: Apr 27, 2023 12:18 AM
People attend a music festival. Photo: VCG

People attend a music festival. Photo: VCG

No longer twiddling their thumbs anymore, young people across the country are gearing up for the upcoming May Day holidays. Many are ready to go crazy and indulge themselves in unfamiliar city's music festivals, exhibitions and art activities during the five-day holidays in China.

In Beijing alone, data from ­Beijing Municipal Bureau of ­Culture and Tourism shows that during the holidays, a total of 1,170 performances will be staged for ­audiences. These agencies and performers clearly have confidence in people's passion for enjoying their holidays by going to theaters, live houses or ­music festivals. The Global Times found out that since a week ago, tickets for many classic theater plays and shows have been sold out.

But compared with Beijing, ­another community in Qinhuangdao, North China's Hebei Province, is growing into a popular tourism ­attraction for many young Chinese. 

In a cultural community in Aranya, a seaside community in Qinhuangdao, music performances from very niche musicians are highly anticipated. From jazz to rock'n' roll, music from over a dozen Chinese indie bands, which have become increasingly popular in the past several years, will perform at the community.

Poster of Hupan Moment Folk Camping Festival Photo: Courtesy of the festival

Poster of Hupan Moment Folk Camping Festival Photo: Courtesy of the festival

A musical gathering

No matter the city, music festivals are always highly anticipated. ­Almost every famous music festival organizer in China, many of which were severely impacted by the ­COVID-19 pandemic, are placing their bets this five-day holidays.

But things are bouncing back. 

From Saturday to Monday, the Strawberry Music Festival will return to Beijing. Also in Beijing, another music festival, the Infinite Music Festival, will gather music fans in the open space by the Wenyu River, while the Hupan Moment Folk Camping Festival will bring people in Beijing to the great outdoors. In Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, at least two music galas, the 2023 ­Hangzhou Music Festival and Jinhuagu Life ­Festival, are ready to entertain audiences during the holiday period.

Shanghai will also see at least six music festivals open across the city. 

According to the China Performances Industry Association, starting from the second quarter of the year, concerts and music festival projects have entered an intensive period in which performances are set to "explode" in many cities.

"­During the recovery of the performance market, audiences' desire to watch performances has continued to rise, and the numbers of performances have entered an intense period. But the next step is to be able to hold more performances that meet the needs of all ages, rather the solely targeting young people," Liu Lu, a ­music industry insider, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

A visitor explores an exhibition in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province on April 26, 2023. Photo: VCG

A visitor explores an exhibition in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province on April 26, 2023. Photo: VCG

'Rare chances'

However, increases in art-related travel inquires from young people have been accompanied by rising accommodation prices. 

Jin Fan, a medical intern from ­Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi Province, told the Global Times on Wednesday that after she and her two friends decided two weeks ago to go to the Mogu Music Festival in Shanghai during the holidays, they struggled to find a place to stay.

"We knew that it'd probably be a nightmare to travel during the holidays, but we didn't expect that we'd hit a road block before even starting the journey," Jin said.

She said that it was hard to find a satisfactory place to sleep considering the fact that the prices at most hotels have doubled and even tripled.

"We used to book a Home Inn with a price of 400 yuan [$57] per night in ­Shanghai's downtown area, but now the prices have nearly tripled so we had to raise our budget," Jin said.

Meanwhile, soaring prices have not dampened the enthusiasm of these young Chinese as "this is one of those rare chances to travel with friends after work."

In Nanjing, capital city of East ­China's Jiangsu Province, performances such as classic theater plays, including Chair by actor/director Zhang Tielin, and musicals and concerts are scheduled to hit the stage during the holiday.

A similar situation has happened in Zibo, East China's Shandong ­Province, which shot to fame recently its local barbecue restaurants. The city's new calling card has drawn countless Chinese university students. 

During the holidays, more than 120,000 tourists are expected to visit the city with a population of 4.7 million, according to data from a train booking website.