Modern Sky brings US music and sports festival to China
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.