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The day the music kept on living

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-15 11:20
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Had it not been for the coronavirus outbreak, Modern Sky, one of China's largest indie record companies, would have released its lineup schedule for the annual outdoor Strawberry Music Festival.

However, with millions of people confined to their homes as a result of the coronavirus, Strawberry Music Festival has been postponed, Modern Sky announced in early February.

However, that does not mean the music has died. The record company launched an online streaming program on Feb 4 titled Hi, I am at Home Too, featuring more than 70 indie music groups. There were six hours of online streaming daily on the social media platform Bilibili until Feb 8 that featured indie musicians including the singer-songwriters Ma Di and Zeng Yike, and the rock bands Mr Sea Turtle and New Pants, who performed live. They also talked about song writing, and cooking and played video games. Highlights of last year's Strawberry Music Festival were also displayed during the program.

Zeng Yike performed her song The Hottest Day of the Summer and dedicated it to those working on the front lines in the battle against the novel coronavirus.

Within an hour of the program going to air on Feb 4 it had had more than 200,000 views.

Strawberry Music Festival, founded by Modern Sky in 2010, is an annual outdoor event held in a number of Chinese cities and attracts hundreds of thousands of music lovers.

"I planned to go to Strawberry Music Festival this year but since the outbreak has made a dramatic effect on every aspect of our lives, I have to stay at home," one fan said under the online streaming program, with a sad-face emoji.

"Let's pray for Wuhan and pray for China," another fan wrote."We'll get through this viral outbreak."

Midi Music Festival, the country's oldest outdoor music festival, also offered online music programs through its social media platform, saying: "Some say that music heals. During these special days let's comfort our hearts with music".

Songs and music scores are offered on the platform, the aim being to get more people to join and play musical instruments at home as a way of entertaining themselves.

Midi Music Festival, popularly known as "China's Woodstock", a reference to the legendary music festival in Bethel, New York state, in 1969, was first staged in May 2000 in the Midi School in Beijing and has helped propel many rock bands to fame.

Midi School, founded in 1993, which was China's first school of contemporary music, has become an incubator for young Chinese contemporary musicians in various music genres, including rock, jazz and hip-hop.

As a celebration of Midi Music Festival's 20th anniversary this year, a series of special events had been planned, but because of the virus outbreak this has been put on hold.

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