China can export just about anything, but they clearly can’t export rock and roll.
Two years ago, China had five music festivals. This year, they’ve already had almost a hundred. Festivals proliferate, but as can be expected they’ve co-opted a perfectly good American tradition and sucked the all life out of it.
They look just like any other American music festival: large outdoor venues with young crowds that dance, smoke, party and camp out in tents. Yet there’s something unsettling about the way this staple of American culture is being imported:
These festivals are sponsored and regulated by the Chinese government. They hint at social censorship, especially considering that all band rosters and song lists at these festivals must first be approved by the government.
This is the second time this year alone that I can remember the Chinese importing American cultural infrastructures. The Chinese government has also been dumping money into their own film industry, building hundreds of movie theaters and funding highly regulated domestic filmmakers, hopefully to birth the Hollywood of the east.
The Chinese government appears to be trying to mass produce culture as if it’s an iPod or a MacBook. Are they succeeding? Take a look a the video below and let us know what you think.
Here’s a look at the Chinese music festivals: