Zhangjiajie Special: Bringing stunning scenery and country music together

Updated: 2011-08-02 08:19

By Zhang Zhao (China Daily)

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Zhangjiajie Special: Bringing stunning scenery and country music together

The world's classic country music hits will soon be heard in a most unusual place, at an unusual international country music festival - amid the splendor and natural beauty of Zhangjiajie, a prominent tourist site in China's Hunan province.

This major music event - the second Zhangjiajie International Country Music Week - will take place at the Wulingyuan scenic area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Sep 10 to 16.

Its hosts are China's Ministry of Culture and the Hunan provincial government.

The country music gala will draw in more than 500 musicians and 31 bands from various countries and regions, along with eight other Chinese bands from various ethnic groups.

According to the Zhangjiajie scenic area's managers, the purpose of the festival is to promote cultural development in all the world's regions through the medium of country music.

It is also expected to help promote the city's reputation globally and increase tourism, local government officials have said. They explained that culture is the "root and soul of tourism", and, the festival, as a new type of tourism and culture, "will help integrate the two".

Ye Wenzhi, general manager of the Huanglongdong Tourist Corp, one of the event's organizers, said, "Every effort needs to be made to turn the music festival into a regular event and to develop Zhangjiajie into an international country music venue."

The organizers are looking for as many as 60 volunteers, from around the world, to help out and work as interpreters during the week-long festival.

The first Zhangjiajie International Country Music Week was held in May 2009 and was seen by locals as a milestone in tourist and cultural development.

The city's mayor, Zhao Xiaoming, became a publicity agent and stuntman when he was designed as a cartoon figure in a video clip promoting the festival, dressed as a cartoon figure, playing a guitar, and singing along to John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads," and asking everyone to take part.

(China Daily 08/02/2011 page23)