China’s biggest international rock music festival, the Beijing Pop Festival, has been canceled, organizers said today (May 30).
The festival has been held in Beijing’s Chaoyang Park each September since 2005.
“We’re not going through with it this year,” says festival director Jason Magnus, president of Beijing-based promotion company Rock For China.
“It’s not because we’ve been told not to, but because we don’t want to take the risk,” he says, citing the recent uncertainty surrounding live-music events in China in the lead-up to the Beijing Summer Olympics.
The move follows the postponement until October of the Midi Modern Music Festival, which had been scheduled for May 1-4 at Beijing’s Haidian Park. That festival’s organizers announced April 25 that it would be postponed until October after local police said they could not provide security.
Sources close to Midi attributed the sudden about-face to the Chinese government’s nervousness amid pro-Tibet demonstrations that followed the Olympic flame around the world, and anti-foreign protests within China.
Magnus says Icelandic singer Bjork’s pro-Tibetan independence remarks during her March 2 concert in Shanghai have had a big impact on the Chinese live-music scene.
“It was really bad timing — right before the torch relay,” he says.
Past Beijing Pop Festival headliners included Placebo and Supergrass in 2006, and Nine Inch Nails and Public Enemy at the event’s 2007 edition, which attracted more than 30,000 people over two days.
“We had a great line-up for this year,” says Magnus, declining to provide names of specific acts that had been booked. Tickets had not yet gone on sale, since exact dates for the festival had yet to be announced.