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Music Festival Adds Spice to Holiday
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A cooling rain failed to dampen the fervor of more than 10,000 rock music fans in Beijing's Haidian Park on May 4.

"The rain won't extinguish our passion for rock-n-roll!" shouted Qin Tong vocalist of the rock band Honey Gun as the crowd shouted its agreement and kept dancing to the music.

From May 1 to May 4, China's capital became a paradise for thousands of rock fans from all over the country. Forty bands, many playing punk and heavy metal music, and dozens of DJ's were featured at the 7th Midi Music Festival.

From crowd-surfing fans, beer-spitting bands, to black T-shirt-clad groups with colorful tents the festival had all the traits of a typical rock festival.

The four-day festival attracted 50,000 young Chinese some of whom camped out in tents, said Zhang Fan, head of the Midi music school and organizer of the festival.

"This year's participants are more diversified, with not only diehard rock fans, including students and office workers," Zhang said, adding that attendance grown by 10 percent a year.

Waving, shouting and pogoing in raincoats or going topless was a common scene in front of the stage.

"I absolutely love the atmosphere here, only free bodies can fully enjoy it," said Zou Lili, who works at a radio station in neighboring Tianjin.

There were four stages, the main stage for rock bands, and three others for experimental, electronic music mixed by DJs.

"I hope the festival can present a new lifestyle," Zhang said. Enjoying the open air and grass in the park, going between the four stages to find music that suit one's taste and meeting new people who share a love of music are what seemed to attract a lot of fans to the festival.

As the festival, which coincided with the country's week-long May Day Holiday, continued it was more than the music that attracted people to the festival. Rock fan Xu Ning from Beijing said he went to the festival every day where he played football, flew kites and bought some music.

The Midi Music Festival first made its debut in May, 2000, which featured performances from the bands from the private Midi Music School. The first festival attracted an audience of no more than 1,000. Music fans are now saying this week's festival parallels the famous Woodstock Music Festival which was held in United States in the 1960's.

(Xinhua News Agency May 6, 2006)

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