During the Labor Day’s holiday this year, Chengdu Spring Outdoor Concert joined into the “pitched clash” of major music festivals. Jointly held by Chengdu Culture, Radio and TV, Express and Publication Bureau, Chengdu Media Group and Sichuan Conservatory of Music, this concert expressed the local government’s mission to build “the capital of culture, the capital of music”.
On the New Year’s Day of 2016, Chengdu made an outdoor music festival successfully. Then in April, Chengdu music development leading group confirmed to put the “Chengdu Outdoor Concert” as an important cultural brand of the city for the mission of “the capital of culture, the capital of music”.
Eventually, the 2016 Chengdu Spring Outdoor Concert attracted 350,000 people and activated the surrounding festival consumption for nearly 30 million yuan. During the New Year’s holiday this year, 305 performances and activities on 18 stages of “Chengdu Eastern Suburb Memory” appealed to 170,000 citizens and tourists in total.
At the end of last year the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued the “Opinions on vigorously promoting development of China’s music industry”. Since then qualitative improvement can be seen on local government’s attention to the music industry. As one of the most positive responder, Chengdu committed frequently to build the capital of music and gave tangible support from policy and financial aspects to music companies.
Now Chengdu continues to force. Chengdu Culture, Radio and TV, Express and Publication Bureau announced in a press that “the Chengdu Municipal Government’s Opinion on the support for the development of the music industry” (hereinafter referred to as “Opinion”) has recently been introduced.
“Opinion” established the development goals till 2025 of Chengdu- to cultivate a number of industry arenas and leading companies to boost the development of music in the whole country; to build a high-end and obviously outstanding modern music industry system; to exceed the annual output value over 100 billion yuan; to become the
country’s leading music producing center, musical instruments and facilities/equipment
distribution center, copyright trading center, performances gathering center; to
become a leading city with worldwide influence on modern music industry.
It is understood that the construction project of the Urban Concert Hall of Chengdu, with an area of nearly 30,000 square meters and a total investment of 1.97 billion, has already started its design bidding round. It will contain a concert hall, an opera house, a theater hall and a number of ancillary buildings (including the art training center, the art theme hotel, etc.)
As an upcoming new landmark in Chengdu, the Urban Concert Hall of Chengdu, will be located next to the Sichuan Conservatory of Music (SCCM). In order to improve its surrounding supporting education facilities, the former Primary School of SCCM has been changed to a kindergarten, and a new primary school will be built in the vicinity.
The principle of the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, Mr. Lin Geer said, “the ancillary hardware facilities are musts to create a the capital of music.”
“Opinions” also pointed out that the music companies which have been included in the “Chengdu Music Enterprise Directory” can benefit from the support of high-tech enterprises, cultural enterprises, SMEs under “the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policy” and preferential tax policies for modern service enterprises. The capital to support the development of music will also be arranged from the city’s cultural industry development funds, and be included in the city’s budget for the ultural industry development funds from next year.
Chengdu government has warmly embraced the music industry. If you are an entrepreneur, will you be attracted? For example, Kugou’s industrial incubation base has been located in Chengdu recently, with an area of over 3,000 square meters (government supports). There will be Kugou’s deep involvement, and musical training, live broadcasting, creative incubation and other services will also be integrated.
We can find that the commercial music festival market is particularly eye-catching. The Strawberry Music Festival also came to Chengdu again the year after its tours in Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xi’an, presenting a young and high-quality lifestyle with coffee, leather, tattoos, literature and craft beers. Budweiser Storm Festival landed in Chengdu on July 1 this year as well.
Apart from Chengdu, other local governments are also strengthening their support and focus on the cultural area. Tibet has established a music industry base; Harbin has launched a travel show season; Xiamen has invested 500 million yuan to build up musical and cultural ancillary service facilities; Ningbo has signed a cooperation agreement on the music industry base with Beida Jade Bird Cultural Industry Group……
No matter by press releases or by action, more and more cities have put music industry into urban development plans, or even have explicitly proposed to build the “China’s capital of music.”
Anyway, despite of good support policies and sound infrastructures, the patience is more important to cultivate a musical culture. CMBN had an article to summarize the common core characteristics of successful music cities: abundant artists and musicians resources, strong music atmosphere, suitable spaces for musical performances, audiences who really love music and good development of record companies and related business.
When Austin was awarded as the “Live Music Capital of the World” in 1991, Don Pitts, the director of Austin’s urban music project, said, “It is a long-term process to build up a music city. A multibillion-dollar industry cannot be created within a day. A city’s music development is deeply correlated to the city itself, thus the city plays a very
important role. ”
Music in Austin has reached an unparalleled height. From the airport to the grocery stores and then to the City Council Hall, more than 250 various types of venues are ready for music performances. This means Austin was constructed with fostering a new culture, or to some extent a kind of unique musical culture.
In this context, Harbin, the city that has splendid classical music inheritance does have some advantages. China’s first symphony orchestra was born in Harbin. In 2010 the United Nations awarded Harbin as the “capital of music”. US media pointed out these were owing to the Jewish community in Harbin at that time. Their colorful cultural activities helped cultivate a unique Chinese generation towards music.
“The people in Harbin have a totally different attitude to art,” said Jindong Cai, a Stanford professor, to the “New York Times”. “All cities in China are trying to find their own special positions, and obviously, Harbin found its one.” Sarah Brightman, who had performances in Harbin told her staff once, “I never thought about such high music professionalism of Harbin audience!”
However, some Harbin indie music fans said to CMBN, “Chinese local rock and folk music almost cannot develop in Harbin. I have been thinking about making a livehouse at home, but afraid of improper localization.” “It is difficult to enjoy a real performance in Harbin. From the public to the practitioners of bars and nightclubs, most people cannot accept indie music performances well. Musical instruments and equipment are not easy to acquire either. Most bands rely on the training schools, and then look for opportunities to go to Beijing for greater stages. “……
According to the data from an insider player (MoFei), during this year’s Summer Sonic, about 150 live houses (excluding restaurants and bars for commercial shows) provided more than 1,000 performances in Tokyo, Japan. Therefore, even the first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai cannot compete with the capitals of music like Tokyo and Austin.
Austin upgraded to the “Live Music Capital of the World” with more than a decade of hard work. Who can be China’s “capital of music”? In general, a city’s musical culture needs to be fostered step by step practically. Especially to those numerous cities without music genes, making themselves as the “capitals of music” requires the patience and long-term investments of the governments.
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