Live performances becoming a hot ticket after COVID-19

By Wang Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-28 08:56
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Pop singer Wu Bai sings at a concert in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, on Sept 23. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The concert sector's reemergence after the epidemic is helping to stimulate economic growth. Wang Xu reports from Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

In May, when Taiwan rock band Mayday announced concerts on the Chinese mainland, some 300,000 tickets completely sold out within a mere five seconds across all booking platforms. That not only illustrated the band's great popularity but also indicated a high level of demand that highlighted the rebirth of China's live concert market.

"I refreshed the ticketing website nonstop, but every time I clicked to purchase, it was already sold out," said Jia Jun, a student at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Jia added that he had tried every venue where the band was playing, but the results were the same.

He wasn't the only one who had a hard time getting a ticket. It became a common experience among fans, with topics such as "Mayday ticket frenzy" and "Who got Mayday tickets?" trending for several weeks on social media.

Data from the Damai ticketing site shows that more than 1 million people were interested in attending Mayday's concerts in Shenzhen. However, the three shows, on July 7, 8 and 9, could only provide a maximum of 144,000 seats, meaning only 14 people out of every 100 who applied would have the opportunity to attend.

Those who couldn't get tickets found another way to celebrate the return of the band to the tech hub — by singing along in areas outside the open-air stadium.

"I know that there are many fans outside who can't enjoy the concert with us in the venue. When we performed here last time, we never expected we would have to wait more than 1,000 days to return and meet you again," said Ashin, Mayday's lead singer, during one of the Shenzhen concerts. "Let's be quiet for a second to listen to their (the fans outside) voices."

COVID-19 delivered a severe blow to China's live performance industry for the past three years, as large groups of people were strongly discouraged by strict social distancing regulations.

Nearly 9,000 shows were canceled or suspended in the first three months of last year, when the country was affected by the third wave of the outbreak, according to the China Performances Industry Association.

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