Live Reviews — October 14, 2013 at 5:07 pm

LIVE REVIEW: Yangtze MIDI 2013


No other people in the world can enjoy October’s first seven days off as the Chinese do – lucky us! This year’s National Holiday was a perfect combination of sunny weather, refreshing wind, relaxed state of mind, and festive music at Yangtze MIDI, a festival held at Shanghai’s Sanjia Port between October 2 and 4. The thrilling pinch was – on top of the attractive line-up, of course – the fact that the previous edition happened not a year ago but in 2011 only. After this long halt, the feeling of freedom was even more palpable, enhanced by the gigantic venue close to the sea: the festival site was 25 km2 and the camping site 50 km2 – it was a truly splendid area.

The night before the doors opened, more than 3,000 people – the most hardcore fans of the festival calling themselves the MIDI Invincible Army – were already stationed at the camping site. The festivities were beginning there with the electro music Yuan Stage. It was not exactly a night club, but you got that feeling – without the indoors’ heat and deafening sound.

This year’s Yangtze MIDI broke the record and set a new standard for music festivals in China, gathering 190 bands on 11 stages. The 70,000 festival-goers were primarily coming for the music – the second reason was to gather again as festival’s former crews. Coming from the different provinces of China, some of them even brought flags and were waving them during their favourite acts’ performances.

Legendary all-female Chinese rock band Cobra 眼镜蛇乐队 reunited during Day 1, and that was certainly one the festival’s highlights. It’s not like their name wasn’t stated in the line-up, but seeing them live after so long (their first album Yanjingshe was released in 1994 and their second, Yangjingshe II, in 2000) was something like a shock. An older fan rug from all over the country went literally crazy at the classics Cobra performed. The set was worth the trip: this band still rocks!

The Taiwanese metal band Anthelion 幻日 made an electrifying impression on Day 2 with their orchestral metal: all hands were waving in echo to the songs. Asked about the reaction of their Chinese fans, Anthelion said it was a blast and that it’s only their audiences who give them the impetus to continue their rock dream.

Beijing’s old-school metal band Bad Mamasan impeccably fit the festival’s biggest stage on Day 3 with their powerful live energy. Performing their singular repertoire, they were cheered by some “Rock will never die!” shouts. Other bands like Yaksa, AK47, Sick Pupa and NaoZhuo were also some of the most populated gigs.

The pretty good weather, all the facilities, food stalls, arts & crafts market and audience’s high-spirited mood added a special tint to the MIDI Yangtze’s atmosphere. With freedom in the air, the people unrestrained themselves from their daily routines and made most of this 3-day festival, turning it into one of the most exceptional holiday this year.


This article was written with the contributions of Gao Yue and Stacey Wu. We warlmy thank Shaun Miller, the festival, Fish Yu and He Chenyang for their photos of the event.