Modern Sky brings US mu­sic and sports fes­ti­val to China

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Entertainment - By CHEN NAN chen­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY Jersey

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Modern Sky, one of the largest in­die record com­pa­nies in China, has launched its sports la­bel, Modern Sky Sports, re­cently in Bei­jing. Its first project is to stage the Wan­der­lust Fes­ti­val, a sum­mer event first held in Squaw Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, in July 2009, which is known for com­bin­ing mu­sic with yoga.

On Nov 18, the one-day in­door event will be held in Shang­hai and Bei­jing, and will see 1,000 peo­ple in each city prac­tice yoga while en­joy­ing live mu­sic.

In 2018, the fes­ti­val will be ex­panded into an out­door four-day fes­ti­val, both in Shang­hai and Bei­jing, and is ex­pected to at­tract more than 10,000 peo­ple in to­tal.

“About three years ago, we made a push to make the Wan­der­lust Fes­ti­val go in­ter­na­tional. We’ve opened up in Europe, South Amer­ica, Mex­ico, New Zealand and Aus­tralia. But this is our first en­try into Asia,” says Sean Hoess, the co-founder of the Wan­der­lust Fes­ti­val, who was in Bei­jing to an­nounce its link with Modern Sky.

“We are on our phones all the time and we need time to be calm and to de-stress. The core of the Wan­der­lust Fes­ti­val is about mind­ful­ness, caus­ing the body to calm down within a fes­ti­val at­mos­phere,” says Hoess.

“It’s a life­style fes­ti­val that com­bines world-class yoga in­struc­tion with out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, lec­tures, mu­sic and the arts. Wan­der­lust Fes­ti­val in Squaw Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia. Modern Sky’s re­cent launch of its sports la­bel, Modern Sky Sports, in Bei­jing.

Since its 2009 launch, the Wan­der­lust Fes­ti­val has at­tracted more than 100,000 peo­ple ev­ery year with more than 100 events held in 17 coun­tries.

The Modern Sky link took off af­ter Hoess met Shen Li­hui, the founder of Modern Sky at South by South­west, an an­nual mu­sic, film and in­ter­ac­tive me­dia con­fer­ence and fes­ti­val in Texas in the United States last year.

Shen had been map­ping out plans for ex­pand­ing his com­pany into the sports field and he shared his vi­sion about mu­sic and sports with Hoess.

“I do not set any lim­its for Modern Sky,” says Shen.

The Bei­jing-born Shen, who was an art stu­dent and lead vo­cal­ist for rock band, Somber, in 1988, started his own la­bel, Modern Sky, hop­ing to re­lease al­bums for his band.

Later, he signed two Bei­jing­based rock bands, New Pants and Su­per­mar­ket.

Modern Sky, which is 20 this year, has re­leased more than 200 records for Chi­nese in­die mu­si­cians.

Since 2007, the com­pany has held the an­nual out­door Straw­berry Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Bei­jing.

Now the out­door mu­sic fes­ti­val is held in around 20 cities in China ev­ery year, at­tract­ing tens of thou­sands of mu­sic lovers.

In 2006, the la­bel opened its first over­seas of­fice in New York. And, this year, it opened Modern Sky UK in Liver­pool.

The la­bel also holds the smaller Modern Sky Fes­ti­val in New York, Seat­tle and Helsinki, show­cas­ing Chi­nese tal­ent such as the rock band, Queen Sea Big Shark, and the folk-rock band, Sec­ond Hand Rose.

Speak­ing about Modern Sky, Hoess says: “I was very in­trigued when I was told that Modern Sky had started record la­bels in US and UK to sign West­ern artists. It’s very in­ter­est­ing and bold. We’ve tried to book artists who are fan­tas­tic mu­si­cians and who also re­flect the val­ues of the event. And with the link with Modern Sky, we ex­pect to see Chi­nese mu­si­cians per­form at Wan­der­lust Fes­ti­vals out­side China.”

Ac­cord­ing to Zhang Chong­shuo, vice-pres­i­dent of Modern Sky, more than 20 mu­sic fes­ti­vals are held each year in China and Modern Sky in­tro­duced sports el­e­ments into its Straw­berry Mu­sic Fes­ti­val years ago, such as show­cas­ing ex­treme sports and sports work­shops.

Many of Modern Sky’s mu­si­cians are sport lovers and the part­ner­ship with Wan­der­lust Fes­ti­val will draw sports and mu­sic tal­ents to­gether, says Zhang.

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