草莓音乐节 - Strawberry Music Festival

Holidays are here. Finally. The first two days I wanted to play safe by not doing much to prepare for Sunday when I wanted to go on a festival with another fellow student. The festival is called strawberry music festival 草莓音乐节 and is located 70 km from Beijing city.

9 o’clock in the morning: haidianhuangzhuang subway station 海淀黄庄地铁站。 That’s where Isabelle and I met to drive all the way tot he bus station at the 6th ring in south-east Beijing from where we wanted to take the bus to the festival. Before meeting up with Isabelle I got myself a little snack. Who knows when we’ll be able to have breakfast?

It took us already 1.5h to get to that bus station. We waited at the bus station with a lot of other young Chinese people until we had a closer look at the bus time table. Then we saw it; it was written a little note on it which told us that the bus has no business hours on public holidays. Unfotunately 1st May is a public holiday in China as well. Even the 2nd is this year as the 1st of May is on a Sunday. We didn’t recognize it in the first place as Chinese bus timetables only show you where the journey is going to and during what time of the day the bus is coming but no specific time how often and when a bus will arrive. We were kinda desperate as taking a cab was not an option. Those other fancy apps to take cheaper caps we can’t use yet due to technical problems. Right when we thought we’d have to cancel our plans on going tot he festival I heard a quite familiar sounding language next to me: GERMANS. I chatted up to them asking how they are planning to get there. They didn’t know about the problem yet so we briefly explained it to them. As they are already living in Beijing for 3 years they know how to use all those handy apps and a couple of minutes later we jumped in a car and continued our journey to the festival.

Because of the public holidays we had some traffic problems on the way and it took us another 2h to get to the festival area. Isabelle and I quickly bought ourselves a dayticket which was 300 Yuan per person. A three day ticket was 600 Yuan. Jonas and Capser already had their tickets. We headed off to the festival area and after a short walk through a dusty field we entered the area at around 1.30pm. As the gigs started at 1pm weg ot there right on time.

We split up with the guys but not without exchanging our numbers to meet up later on to get back home together. After 4h on the road Isa and I first went for the toilet and something to eat. I have to tell you I was positively surprised by the conditions of the toilets. Well they weren’t clean or something but at least not those small dixi cabins which heat up badly in the summer sun. During my time in China I found myself a hobby in searching for various interesting (wether extremely pretty or extremely disgusting) toilets all over the place. At least everybody needs a passion – don’t we?

The festival area was actually very nice. I really like the scenery. I don’t want to bother you with long description I’ll just put some photos at the bottom to give you a better impression oft he festival side.

The sun was burning down on us with 38 degree, it was very dusty (which is quite normal at a festival I think) and air pollution with an index beyond 350. This circumstances seemed to make the day a lot harder than necessary but it turned out not as bad as I thought. We had a walk around the area and took a look at the different stages. The 8 stages where relatively close and the festival side was not too big which was great for me as I get lost way too easy. After our walk we decided to stay at one stage and enjoy the music.

Something I have to admit is that I should’ve prepared more on the line-up as I didn’t really know anything about the different artists on the stages so I didn’t know which gigs I really want to hear and which I don’t care that much about. Nevertheless we found some cool artists and as we didn’t know who to listen to we just kept walking around and stayed where we liked it best. The only band we really wanted to see was a band from the UK called The Prodigy which should’ve started at 7.55pm.

Sadly they were half an hour late and because it was their first time in China they didn’t know how to cope with the Chinese audience. The Chinese people love to party and flow with the music but they appreciate to be entertained more than to be the entertainment itself. So during the music is on the crowd was going nuts but as soon as the music is getting more quiet or even or turned down completely the people act just like the music – they are getting low. So screaming „where my party people at?“ or „are you ready?“ is not that powerful as they are might used to back in the UK.

A band who really knew how to deal with the Chinese crowd was the Chinese band called Second Hand Roses. They were so entertaining and fun.
Shortly before 9pm we got a text from the boys asking us when we are planning to leave the festival. So, we met shortly after that and started our way back to the entrance. Getting a car back turned out to be a lot more difficult than expected. It took us more than half an hour to find a car but we finally managed to. The car driver was a real funny man who was very talkative. Sitting in the car with the dark around me I found out how exhausted I actually was. I wasn’t in the mood of talking. I only wanted to get back to my flat, sit down on the couch and stretch out a little.

The driver talked a lot with Jonas and Capser; they talked about all the liked topics which are often spoken about with drivers. Topics like the current Chinese economic situation, alcohol, Hitler, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the relation from China with different countries like with the USA, Korea or Japan. AND not to forget about German cars which is most drivers favorite topic as soon as they discover that we’re German.

After 1.5h we arrived at Dongzhimen 东直门 where we got off the taxi and slit up with our two new friends. From dongzhimen we took another taxi to get back to Uni (haidian district 海淀区). During the ride there we didn’t speak a word. I was to tired to keep up a conversation wether with the driver nor Isa. I was grateful when I arrived in my street. After getting off the car I bought some noodles before entering my bulding. Even though it was a couple of minutes past 12 the elevator wasn’t closed yet: lucky me. To be honest I couldn’t bother myself hiking up another 7 storeys to my apartment.

Looking back on the day-trip I can say I really enjoyed the festival. The music was great so was the weather and my company. As I already told you the only thing I’d change would be the preperation on the line-up (and maybe on how to get there and back home). So now I will listen to the line-up at home. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find another love.

I also want to give you some facts about the festival: the price for the tickets I already told you. A bottle of water was from 5-10 Yuan, a 0,33 beer you could buy for 15 Yuan. Getting something small to eat was around 30 Yuan. The only thing a little more pricey were the festival clothes but I think thats just like at any other festival. So compared to living the prices on the festival are high but compared to Germany it is actually very cheap. Going to a festival in China is something for everyone even if you don’t have that much money to spend. To tell somthing about the timetable; the festvial starts at 1.30pm and ends at around 9.30pm so somparetively early.

Something I also like to mention which caught my attention more than once during the day. During the course oft he day I saw a lot of people with their little kids (3-6y) at the festival. The little ones seemed to enjoy themselves a lot though if their parents wanted to take too many pictures for capturing the moment they easily got quite annoyed. I hope some day I will stroll aournd a festival with my little ones. The only thing I’d do differently or something I’d pay more attention on would be ear protection. My children would have to wear ear protection when dancing around in front of a stage. I really don’t want my children to have an acute hearing loss at the age of 4.

I told you above that I'd give you photos to get a deeper impression but I'm not able to upload that many photos. So if you'd like to see some have a look at my blog: https://louasia.wordpress.com. You can find all my other posts there as well :)

until then...