The past couple of years have not been easy for live music events in Beijing (no prizes for guessing why). However, things may looking up, according to Eric de Fontenay, founder of Beijing-based music promoter MusicDish.
In April, MusicDish successfully held the Beijing SKIN Tattoo Festival. And, this Sunday, June 11, Fresh Out The Pot will be held in Beijing’s 798 Art District (scroll to the end of this article for the QR code to get special discounts).
Fresh Out The Pot takes place this Sunday, June 11 at Hill Space in 798 Art District. Find all the details on the poster above
You may recall some of MusicDish’s previous events in the Chinese capital, including the groovy 60’s-style Summer of Love festival…
READ MORE: Summer of Love Coming to Beijing?
… as well as the mellower Get Unplugged acoustic performances.
READ MORE: 'Unplugged' Live Music in Beijing
We caught up with de Fontenay, who told us all about the recent success of Beijing SKIN Tattoo Festival, what to expect at Fresh Out The Pot this Sunday and why his New York “survivor” spirit makes him upbeat about the future of Beijing’s live music scene...
MusicDish recently hosted the Beijing SKIN Tattoo Festival. How did it go?
It was great. When the bar starts running out of certain beers, you know it’s a successful event. We had a really engaged audience who were eager to get inked and catch some new bands.
I’d say most of people stayed throughout the event. I think they enjoyed the eclectic nature of the event, mixing lots of tattoo art with Beijing indie rock and punk bands, as well as the outdoor market with DJs and live window artists.
The event has inspired us to try to include tattoo artists in more of our events. It’s so yaogun!
We understand that this is the one-year anniversary of Fresh Out The Pot. What’s the event all about?
We launched Fresh Out The Pot initially to support young China bands that emerged during the pandemic, and whose options to grow were obviously limited.
We started with a livestream concert at SOI Baochao (no live audience, of course) and did manage to pull off some shows in 2022, such as our Halloween party and New Sounds series at Gulou’s Space & Bar.
One year on, we’ve grown our roster to 14 bands. So, we really want to celebrate passing through that particularly difficult first year crucible by showcasing six of our bands.
Tell us about some of the artists who will perform at the event.
We’ve always strived for an eclectic roster. We feel that diversity is a strength, and that’s reflected in the lineup.
Pictured above are 24 Personality Dogs who will perform at Fresh Out The Pot
Three of the bands on the lineup will be touring China over the next months, including Red Marlboro, who recently released probably one of the best 70s-80s classic rock albums I’ve heard in China; post-punk shoegaze (with a violin) band, 24 Personality Dogs; and rockers East Cotton Hutong No.7, who will be playing songs from their upcoming album slated to be released later this month.
Pictured above are Red Marlboro who will perform at Fresh Out The Pot
Pictured above are East Cotton Hutong No. 7 who will perform at Fresh Out The Pot
Why did you choose to host the event at Hill Space in 798?
I’ve always felt that 798 Art District is an ideal location for some dedicated live houses. Art is not just paintings and sculptures, but also music too.
After attending their debut event, I knew Hill Space could play an important role in that vision. But talk is cheap. If you want something done, you got to do it yourself.
We felt a certain obligation to put some skin in the game and support its development with our own show.
It’s also a good opportunity to reach a new audience that might not be going to live house shows, which is why we have the event starting in the afternoon.
Other than live music, we understand there’ll also be tattoo artists at the event. Can you tell us more?
Like I said, after Beijing SKIN, I knew I wanted to make tattoo artists a bigger part of our events. Getting a tattoo is in some respect carving out your unique identity and your independence. It’s so rock ’n roll!
It just fits so well with what MusicDish 独立小炒 is all about. On top of that, Qian Yao (潜瑶) is my first and only tattoo artist, so I’ve literally put my skin in her hands. (That’s what I call trust!)
Following the difficulties of recent years, what is your overall feeling regarding the holding of events, including those with live music, in Beijing?
Nothing was more difficult than 2022 (I think for everyone across the board), so compared to that, it’s been smooth sailing recently.
The regulatory hurdles are bigger than around four to five years ago, and the economy is not great, but that just goes with the business. I’m from NYC, another city of survivors who don’t complain much and just get stuff done.
On the bright side, there are more venues than ever in Beijing and the fans never disappoint.
Scan the QR code to add MusicDish on WeChat. You can then be added into the group with the chance to get a special discount for Fresh Out The Pot:
[All images via MusicDish]