When the capital city of the world’s largest authoritarian police state hosts a rock concert with headliners Public Enemy and Nine Inch Nails, how does it prevent mayhem from breaking out? Answer: police. Lots of em. The Beijing Pop Festival was an impressive contradiction of rock-fueled mayhem that brought performers and audience together, and rigid military discipline that kept them apart.
The festival was a two-day weekend event that took place in the northern section of the sprawling Chaoyang Park on the eastern side of the city. One entered the southern gate of the park and passed through a seemingly endless child-oriented amusement park before reaching the grounds of the event. The open grounds offered precious little in the way of shade, and on both days the hot Beijing sun rained its harsh light upon us. Thankfully, a generous supply of cold beers and mojitos (thank god for those mojitos) kept us cool and buzzed throughout the event. [Full Text]