Chinese EDM fans may feel a little disappointed with Ultra China’s recent announcement. They’ve announced they’ll be postponing their Shanghai event due to reasons that are “well beyond” their control. Much like the Beijing Ultra Music Festival of last year, it will instead become a club takeover event. The organization says purchased tickets will be refunded in 10 business days, but insists the club takeover will feature an array of international talent.
Despite the event’s difficulty taking off, Ultra China also announced that Ultra Beijing will go ahead as planned. The two-day festival will be on China’s Beijing NHC base on September 15 and 16. Full lineup and ticket information is said to be coming soon. The announcement comes as a disappointment for many, but demonstrates the commitment of UMF China in an unpredictable environment.
Chinese citizens love EDM, and a range of clubs have been opening up since their economic reform. Partying in China has become much more acceptable in the past couple decades. However, organizing events like concerts or music festivals remains easier said than done in the PRC. What seems like a smooth sailing music scene in the west is thriving in China, but goes against many odds.
Bureaucracy and regulations make Chinese festivals an uphill battle
The nation is seeing intense interest in the dance music scene. Their market of over one billion people is there, but it’s not exactly accessible. Organizing an event like a music festival, though not impossible, is a logistical nightmare in the Chinese government’s framework. Even opening a club faces tons of obstacles, such as sky high rent, local licensing, and national approval.
Often governments will refuse to support big festivals, focusing more on the celebration of ancient culture. Investment is also hard to come by, meaning grassroots efforts supporting the music are what carry these events. To make matters worse, “tornado regulations” happen every few years to regulate and rezone event spaces. Ultimately, the Chinese market is very hard to crack, even for its citizens.
While the EDM scene in China may be especially difficult for entrepreneurs, it remains a vibrant music culture. Their internet censorship known as the “Great Firewall” allows for Chinese music to thrive and create a community. Online platforms like Weibo and Xiami Music allow for an authentic culture to grow. What Ultra Music Festival finds challenging may prove to help it grow into a national treasure for China’s EDM scene.
What are your thoughts on the cancellation of ULTRA Shanghai? Have you ever attended an EDM event in China? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!