Saturday, October 03, 2009

But one thing is beyond the Ogre's reach

The Ogre cannot grasp PR.

Modern Sky Records is putting on an open-air rock & pop festival here in Beijing during this National Holiday, in Chaoyang Park from the 4th to the 7th.  Most of the headliners were to have been bands from overseas, including classic British punk group The Buzzcocks (christ, how old are they now?) and well spoken-of up-and-comers British Sea Power (who, I think, have played in China once before, although I missed them).

It always seemed a bit improbable to me that such an event could go ahead at this time, what with the government's well-known paranoia about the potentially riot-inciting effects of open-air music.  But all credit to Modern Sky - they seemed to have pulled it off!
Well, no, perhaps not. A couple of days ago it was announced that, at the very last minute, all 14 international acts scheduled to appear had been denied performance permits (and/or visas) by the government.  The organizers are desperately rushing around trying to find more Chinese bands so that they can salvage the festival.  I hope they can pull it off, because it looks as though the weather's going to be lovely for it.  But it will inevitably be much less of a draw - for Chinese and foreigners alike - without the foreign 'big names'.
I don't know if this move was prompted by misgivings over the possible political sympathies of some of these foreign musicians, as with the furore over Tibet-lovin' Sonic Youth's visit here a few years ago, or if it is just the current excess of nationalistic sentiment driving the government to try to prove that we can have a successful rock festival entirely with home-grown artists.
It might well be the latter.  Either way, it's incredibly STUPID, another massive PR blunder from the goons in charge of this country.

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