By Cao Ruitong
A new form of tourism with music festivals at its core is now in vogue among young Chinese. Music festivals are becoming signatures of more and more Chinese cities, as many of them have been brought from first-tier cities to lower-tier ones and even remote regions.
During this year’s May Day holiday, which lasted five days from the start of May, Xiao Ye, 26, went to the Midou Music Festival held in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu province, with his friends.
The man has attended music festivals in many cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Kunming, and that’s how he spends his holidays.
This time in Nanjing, Xiao spent the first day enjoying the music festival and the rest four visiting tourist attractions in the city, which enabled him to get joy from both music and traveling.
According to statistics, during the May Day holiday this year, 40 music festivals were held nationwide, drawing millions of music fans. Hotel rooms around the sites where music festivals were held were booked up. Music festival-led tourism is becoming a new choice for young consumers.
Statistics from the China Association of Performing Arts indicated that more than 50 percent of music festival ticket buyers were outside the host cities during the May Day holiday. The consumption in transportation, accommodations, dining, and other businesses related to the music festivals during the same period surpassed 1.2 billion yuan ($170 million). These music events satisfied music lovers and boosted the tourism and popularity of host cities.
Urban music festivals have achieved remarkable progress in China in more than 20 years since the first Midi Music Festival was held in Beijing in 2000.
Today, there are many renowned music events in the country, including the Strawberry Music Festival, the Xihu Music Festival, the Modern Sky Festival, the Beijing Music Festival, the Sun Music Festival, and the Qintai Music Festival. Similar events are just happening across China, and many music fans are participating.
These music festivals are about pop music, traditional folk music, symphony, and musical play. Combining traditional and modern elements and Chinese and international features, they build a splendid music festival culture that suits everybody.
Music festivals are closely related to tourism development. Many cities, relying on music festivals and urban tourism resources, have built new business forms that feature a mix of music and tourism.
2009 the first Sun Music Festival opened in Zhangbei County, north China’s Hebei province. Ever since, the county has been visited by hundreds of thousands of music lovers every year, and the music festival has become one of the largest and the most internationalized music festivals in China.
Tourism authorities in the county tailored seven tourism routes based on the music event, significantly boosting local tourism and creating substantial economic benefits for the county.
As Zhejiang province in east China has been building a water tourism route, a recently held music festival set its stages at the core area of the way. According to a source with knowledge, the site of the music festival was divided into a performance area, dining area, and market area. Intangible cultural heritage and cultural products displayed at the event attracted many visitors, and the music festival triggered a boom in the consumption of accommodation, food, and tourism programs.
During the May Day holiday, the 2023 Huang Bo Hai Midi Festival kicked off in Yantai, east China’s Shandong province, which attracted 100,000 music lovers to the city. Yantai has launched several measures to drive its tourism development with the popularity of the music event. For instance, those with a ticket to the music festival could get access to six local tourist sites for free. Besides, the city also issued a travel guide and launched 11 accessible bus routes.
An insider noted that music festivals are no longer just entertainment but integrating with leisure tourism. As the scale of young tourists expands and tourism demands diversify, combining music festivals with local tourism resources, highlighting individuation and differentiation, would help build iconic tourism brands.