Dandong Beer Festival

Last time we were in Dandong we saw an advertisement for the Dandong Beer Festival. We planned to finish our holiday with some excessive beer consumption.

After returning to Dandong we rested up in our hotel for a short while. The we headed over to Peter’s for some food. Over lunch we realised that none of us knew the address to go to the Beer Festival. A frantic search over the wireless internet didn’t turn up anything.

We decided to just go to a taxi driver and tell him “pijiujie” – Beer Festival. The taxi driver smiled when we asked – he knew where to go. We hopped in and he took us to the other side of town. Before we got out he offered to take us back and gave us his number.

Before us lay a glowing neon sign. In both Chinese and English it declared “Dandong New District International Beer Festival”. Several of the locals had set up market stalls selling souvenirs and toys. People were going back and forth to and from the entrance of the festival.

It didn’t take us too long to find tickets and get inside. Once inside we saw a corridor lined with tents. Tents that weren’t selling beer. They were selling property. It turns out this whole thing was a set up to get people to invest in Dandong New District.

We hastily made our way past the property market and made our way to the large beer tent ahead. Buying a beer proved to be rather difficult. They had a system where you had to go to one place and get tokens then come back and fight your way to the front of the crowd at the bar then shout loud enough that the bartenders would pay you attention and finally tell you that they were out of beer.

It was a little annoying.

We moved past the first big tent and on to the next tent. There was a live music performance here. We finally managed to find a bar that would sell us beer. They had cheap wheat lager for sale. We paid up and stood impatiently as they took forever to pour our drinks.

Finally we got a taste of beer at the Dandong Beer Festival. It tasted stale. We stayed for a while watching the music and forcing our beers down us. It was clear that we weren’t going to have a good time here.

We decided to leave after our first beer. We called the taxi driver who had offered to take us back. He was surprised to hear from us – he had expected us to take much longer. He had taken another fare so it took him a while to come back for us.

In the meantime we looked through the wares being sold outside. There were Transformer rip-offs and dolls and other cheap toys.

Our taxi driver arrived and we went back to Dandong Old District. We returned to the bar we went to on our first night and knocked ourselves out with some real beers.

More choice than the festival
More choice than the festival

Mongolian Metal Mosh Pit at Midi Festival

Climbing Wall
A climbing wall, because why not?

The Midi Festival runs every year in Pudong in Shanghai. Some of our friends from the Mansion were running one of the stages, so we donned our raincoats and followed them there.

Raincoat ready
Ready to take on the rain and the mud.

The festival was a lot less busy than any we’ve been to in England. There were no official campsites at the festival, but this didn’t stop people from camping near the stages.

People camp right next to the stage.

The dance tent being run by the Mansion had DJs playing electronic music and, due to the rain, was probably the busiest part of the festival.

We wandered around and ended up in a tame mosh pit dancing to a Mongolian metal band called “Nine Treasures” (九宝). Their music was based on traditional Mongolian music, and it reminded me a lot of Celtic metal.

Mongolian Metal
Nine Treasures delivers Mongolian metal.

Other bands we saw were a variety of Chinese and Western bands, including Israeli metal band Orphaned Land.

Israeli Rock
Orphaned Land.

After seeing several bands and getting not-too excessively drunk we wandered back to the Mansion’s tent and danced until we were ready to drop.

Shanghai International Beer Festival

In its third year running, Shanghai has been running a beer festival on Wharf 86. With a great view of the Bund you can listen to live music and drink the best beer China has to offer. You will be surprised not only at the import beer, but the home brew beer that can be found here. Most of the beer tends to come from local Shanghai pubs, however there are some Beijing pubs with stands here as well.

The lights point you towards the entrance.

One of my favourites this time was the Pochos stand – they had a good atmosphere going and were serving beer mixed with tequila and lime (or tequila and spice if you’re really brave).

A view of the infamous Bund from the beer festival.

After having drank enough beer you can dance the night away and hopefully remain sober enough to stumble into a taxi on the way home.

A small tip: the nicer beer tends to be the locally brewed beer. I decided to get some London Pride for nostalgia purposes and it tasted awful.

The Shanghai International Beer Festival runs once a year during beer week in Shanghai.