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Rock 'n' roll's Grass Roots
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Fervent fans wave at rock stars at a music festival in Shenzhen in 2003.

Rock musicians from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Republic of Mongolia and Tuva Republic will share the same stage at the first "Green Flag - Erdos Grassland Rock Music Festival" to be held in Erdos of North China's Inner Mongolia from July 20 to 22.

Among them are Dou Wei, Zhang Chu and He Yong, three musicians representative of the new music wave in the 1990s, heavy metal group Tang Dynasty, Chinese grunge rocker Xie Tianxiao, popular rock singer Xu Wei, Tuvan singer Sainkho Namtchylak, Taiwan singer Wu Bai, and Hong Kong musician Paul Wong, former singer and guitarist of the band Beyond.

"Rock music has influenced two generations of Chinese youth, and is an important part of young people's lives," said Jiang Shilong, artistic director of the festival, and lead singer of the band Old Demon of the West Mountain (Xishan Laoyao) which will perform on the second day of the festival. "To be in a rock festival on the grass will be a very enjoyable experience."

Rock star Dou Wei (right) will play at the music festival in Erdos.

According to Jiang, "Green Flag" represents an environmental campaign by both the musicians and audience. He says the festival wants to deliver the message that Chinese rock music does not mean decadence, confusion or extremes, but love, responsibility and dreams.

"I hope our audience at the festival will pay attention to the environment, and won't litter, which has been a problem at many rock festivals," said He Yong, who will perform on the second day.

He said his program will consist mainly of classical works, but he will play two or three new songs. This is also the case with Zhang, who is recording his new album.

The festival will be the first time in 13 years that Dou, Zhang and He have performed together. Their last joint concert, in Hong Kong in 1994, is seen by many as a landmark of Chinese rock music. Luo Qi, a rock singer who migrated to Germany in the 1990s, has moved back and will also appear at the festival.

For lovers of world music, Sainkho Namtchylak is well-known for her shaved head and throat-singing, a unique singing technique of the Tuvan people usually reserved for men. She has a voice spanning seven octaves, and her music enmeshes avant-jazz, electronica, modern composition and Tuvan influences.

This will be the second time Namtchylak has performed in China. She toured Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macao in 2004.

Other musicians or bands to perform at the Erdos Grassland Rock Music Festival are AK47, Second Hand Rose, Hurd (Republic of Mongolia), Thin Man, Face, Yan, Zero Point, Zi Yue, Jiang Xin and Wang Feng.

"It's the first time that a rock festival will be held on the grassland of Erdos, and we hope that the festival will introduce Erdos to more people so that tourism will boom," said Yan Zhong, deputy director of the Tourism Bureau of Erdos, which is one of the sponsors of the festival.

The festival will be held at the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan in Erdos, about 800 kilometers west of Beijing. It takes eight hours to drive from Beijing, or one can go to Baotou of Inner Mongolia by air (one hour) or train (12 hours), and then take buses arranged by the festival to Erdos (less than two hours).

About 10,000 tents and hundreds of yurts will be provided. Together with the nearby hotels, the festival will be able to accommodate about 30,000 people.

A ticket for a single day costs 180 yuan ($23), while a three-day pass costs 380 yuan ($49).

(China Daily June 9, 2007)

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