That’s what JZ is hoping for, and to that effect they’ve changed the name from Jazz Festival to Music Festival (though the Chinese name is still “Jazz Shanghai Music Festival”). It’s definitely within the realm of possibility, as they apparently drew around 10,000 people to last year’s festival in Jingan park, and that sold out. This year’s version will be in the much larger Century Park, which is admittedly in Pudong, but some people live there right?
Obviously it will be different from the Midi fest in that its core will be jazz rather than rock, but JZ obviously knows what jazz festival organizers around the world have learned: people like to think that they like jazz but in fact they don’t. If, however, you give them pop and tell them it’s jazz they will be happy. (h/t to Bill Anschell’s hilarious piece on jazz survival techniques. If you’re curious what category various Shanghai jazz musicians are in, we’re basically all gig whores). Anyway, I like the idea of the JZ fest being Shanghai’s Midi, though surely some around here would prefer to just have something actually run by Midi. The Beijing Rock City/Shanghai Jazz City pole is an important one to preserve, I believe.
In addition to jazz acts like Dee Dee Bridgewater and jazzesque acts like Us3 and Freshly Ground, legitimate rock star Cui Jian will be making an appearance, though he has a jazzy side too, so who knows what that will end up being like. It will pretty definitely draw people though. Incidentally, did you know that the Father or Chinese Rock is actually Korean? Okay, well not really, but still. There will be a jazz stage, a rock stage, and an “electrograss” stage, which will be staffed mostly by DJs.
The aforementioned Dee Dee Bridgewater will be opening the festival with a performance at the Yunfeng theater in Puxi on Friday October 16th, with the rest of the festival will take place the next two days in the park. They’re shooting for around 20,000 people this time and will have at least ten restaurants operating food and drink stalls to avoid the problem they had last year (due to municipal regulations) with people going to eat and not being able to get back in. Hopefully leaving and coming back in for any reason will also not be a problem this year. Stay tuned for more info on the JZ Music Festival Shanghai, including a more complete lineup with links and a review of the demo/compilation we got from Danish organ trio Ibrahim Electric.