Mu­sic fest shakes up Yanqi Lake

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HOSPITALITY - By CAMILLA TENN camilla@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Yanqi Lake, an hour’s drive north of Bei­jing, was re­cently shaken to its core by what Shake the Lake In­ter­na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val Di­rec­tor Richie Loidl termed “the groove that makes you move”.

The in­ter­na­tional swing, blues and boo­gie-woo­gie fes­ti­val took over Kempin­ski’s Yanqi Is­land re­sort from Sept 8-10.

With per­for­mances at the gala din­ner in the con­fer­ence cen­ter and the jazz brunch in the nearby Yanqi Ho­tel the fol­low­ing morn­ing, be­gin­ners and afi­ciona­dos alike were swing­ing along to the mu­sic.

“It’s a very pro­found and deep ex­pres­sion of pos­i­tive feel­ing, a feel­ing which is pos­i­tive about life.

“This is just hav­ing fun, be­ing aware of good liv­ing — that’s the shak­ing, swing­ing as­pect of our ap­proach to jazz mu­sic,” Loidl ex­plained.

Shake the Lake first came into be­ing in Aus­tria back in 1995, in the Salzkam­mergut re­gion famed among tourists as the most beau­ti­ful Alps area.

Over the next 20 years or so, the fes­ti­val toured the world, and first came to Bei­jing last year, at Kempin­ski’s Yanqi Ho­tel.

“There is a com­mon ex­pe­ri­ence that ev­ery­one who lis­tens has... in the be­gin­ning, they are a lit­tle shy, ob­serv­ing what’s go­ing on. But as we saw, then you get into it and you join in and get shak­ing,” Loidl said.

China Daily asked the re­sort’s Gen­eral Man­ager Brice Pean — an old school friend of Loidl’s — whether the event is some­thing that will be wel­comed back to Bei­jing again.

“We tried it last year, it was suc­cess­ful, and that’s why I said: ‘well, let’s do it and make it ba­si­cally a jour fixe, ev­ery year, and let’s see where it takes us,’” he said.

“For us, this is part of the ef­fort to po­si­tion the des­ti­na­tion as a cul­tural hub... cul­ture is def­i­nitely one op­tion for it to re­main at­trac­tive through­out the year, by stag­ing dif­fer­ent events.”

Pean said the ho­tel is fo­cus­ing on three main di­rec­tions to con­sis­tently at­tract new guests and re­turnees.

They are cul­ture and mu­sic, via events such as Shake the Lake, although not al­ways on that scale; food and bev­er­ages, with pop-ups from high-end, Bei­jing-based restau­rants; and fam­i­lies, with star-stud­ded foot­ball acad­e­mies, in­door camp­ing and a host of in­ven­tive kids­fo­cused ac­tiv­i­ties.

“That’s on top of what we al­ready have, which al­ready speaks for it­self any­way,” Pean added.

The stun­ning is­land com­plex in­cludes the con­fer­ence cen­ter, Yanqi Ho­tel, Sun­rise Ho­tel and 14 bou­tique, stand­alone ho­tels, all on the shores of the beau­ti­ful Yanqi Lake.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Mu­si­cians stage a per­for­mance at the gala din­ner of Kempin­ski’s Yanqi Is­land re­sort on Sept 9, as part of the Shake the Lake In­ter­na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val.

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