Journey with us into the subculture of Beijing Rock and Roll.

Asia Art Tours now offers the first tour in Beijing that takes you into China’s thriving Rock and Roll underground!

The tour is hosted by Will Griffith of Live Beijing Music, who has been covering and writing about Chinese Rock and Roll for the past decade. On this tour, we’ll take you to meet some of the most interesting, challenging and simply incredible bands of Beijing (and Greater China if you wish!)

Meet one of the figures whose bands and venues you’ll encounter. This is our Video Interview with Michael Pettis: Founder of Maybe Mars Records.  Michael is not your typical rock and roll fan! Prior to founding Maybe Mars he was an Investment Banker, and currently teaches at China’s most prestigious school: Peking University.

Come with us to China and learn how Rock and Roll will never Die! No matter the country or the government!

Day 1 Arrive BEIJING Opposite House/ Rosewood / The Orchid

Today we will land in Beijing and transfer to our hotel via private car. We have recommended 3 properties, with price descending from Opposite House. All offer excellent value as well as impeccable service. We are happy to recommend other properties to make sure you feel perfectly matched.

Hutongs Through the Eyes of a Photographer
For your introduction to Beijing, we will begin with a gentle introduction to the ancient alleys of Beijing with a guided tour of its ancient alleyways that have inspired many a modern artists. You will explore Beijing’s Hutongs with our insider guide, a photographer who walks these alleys nearly everyday looking for new shots and candid moments. They will fill you in on stories of the Hutong both past and present. Your guide will be showing you some of the last remnants of Old Beijing life, (as many of the Hutongs are being modernized or gentrified).

Black Sesame Kitchen

Afterwards, as the sun sets around the city we will book you a table at The Black Sesame Kitchen for dinner. A private kitchen dining experience with several like-minded diners and some of the best Chinese Chefs in all of Beijing. You can explain to the esteemed guests how you will be touring deep into Beijing’s Rock and Roll underground with Asia Art Tours!

Afterwards we will return you to your hotel. We have a full day head of Rock and Roll in the PRC!

Day 2 Beijing Opposite House/ Rosewood / The Orchid The Ballad of Beijing’s Elderly

Today in the morning we will head to Ritan Park, here you’ll get a chance to see Beijing’s grey generation waking up with the sun as the elderly stretch with morning Tai Chi, ballroom dancing practice and most importantly exercises their windpipes. The seniors of Beijing gather every morning to sing, play songs from their generation and to transform Western Songs into nearly unrecognizable melodies played on instruments not part of the original composition (an accordion rendition of Country Road by John Denver anyone?)

We will take you around the park with a Beijing insider and if you’d like we can have you dancing the tango or singing china’s most popular ballad (You and Me) with the countries past generation. Before introducing you that night to its future. Lunch at Zhang Mama

Afterwards lunch will be at ZHANG MAMA, serving up incredible Sichuan cuisine in a homey setting. This restaurant is also a great metaphor for the current state of music: its in an older building, incredibly popular with locals, but also with the local and imported hipsters, who have now come to the Hutongs to live in (or own) a piece of Beijing history. Afterwards we will introduce you to your expert guide, who will be with you for the remaining majority of your tour. He is considered to be Beijing’s foremost expert on its modern music scene and Rock and Roll.

The Sounds of Ancient China

We will be heading to a private courtyard home for a demonstration on the sounds and methods of playing several traditional Chinese instruments. To

familiarize yourself with instruments foreign to the West such as the and are fascinating for the musicology of how Chinese instruments, time

signatures and playing styles evolved differently in the East, but also to see how these instruments influenced the rock and rollers you will be meeting later. . . Many who still play with traditional Chinese instruments.

After touring past Chinese Music we’ll return you to your hotel (by metro or Private Car) Dinner tonight will be at one of our favorite casual locations, the Jing-A Taproom for outstanding micro-brewed beer and conversation with one of Beijing’s most outstanding Rock and Roll Journalists.

Here we’ll give you a chance to chat about some of Beijing’s most famous rock bands (including Cui Jin, the “Springsteen” of China, and one of the few to have fought the law and won). As well as discussing the power that lyrics have in the Middle Kingdom. If available we will also have invite any musicians who are available to join in on the chat.

Our first encounter with Beijing’s Underground.

Afterwards we’ll be heading together to a rock show on the outskirts of town. Please leave your nice clothes at the door, and get ready to witness Chinese hipsters, punks and art school graduates, compare their trendiest tattoos, and offer a view into the creative and head-banging China very rarely publicized in West, this night can go on for as long as you feel up to it!

If available we can also see if the musicians are up for a drink after the show! Your expert guide is friends with nearly all of them, and will be happy to see if a drink (or several!) can be arranged with the musicians after the show.

Day 3 Beijing Opposite House/ Rosewood / The Orchid Street Art in the PRC

In the morning we’ll take in some art that straddles both the art and music scenes as we take you into the world of Chinese graffiti. This art is truly both an act of creativity and politics, as graffiti artists are in constant tension with a government that controls all property in the country. Your graffiti friend will meet you and your expert music guide at your hotel and take you on an adventure seeing the few hidden places where artists can use walls as canvas. They will also talk about how Chinese Hip Hop and breakdancing intersects with graffiti culture.

The Avant Garde of White Tower Gallery

Afterwards we will be taking you to our favorite gallery for another moment of intersectionality. The White Tower Gallery of Beijing has quickly become a genuine home for Beijing’s cutting-edge or avant-garde artists. While the guidebooks still recommend 798 or CaoChangDi, both have essentially become Williamsburg or Kreutzer… once artistic neighborhoods now gentrified and made for tourism rather than artistic creation.

White Tower Gallery however is still very much at home at the intersectional space between Beijing’s Punk Scene, Music Scene, Graffiti Scene, and others that defy categorization. While here we will be sure to personally introduce you to the manager of the gallery, who will then introduce you to one or two artists doing their best to subvert and redefine the Beijing art scene.

Meet the Tastemakers of Beijing Underground music.
That Evening we will head out to one of our favorite indie record stores with some of the founders from Maybe Mars, Beijing’s most successful indie label. They will be helping you create a personalized ‘Mixtape’ of some of Beijing and china’s deepest cuts on vinyl, introducing you to bands like Hiperson, The Big Wave and others who are famous throughout China but still remain underground (yes, even on Spotify!)

Then we’ll head out to dinner where we’ll have a chance to chat with our expert guide and our friends from Maybe Mars about the state of music in China. You’ll have a chance to unleash your inner journalist and find out the truth as to censorship, the agony and ecstasy of live shows, and the other logistics that go into making Live Music in the PRC

Our Second Encounter with the Beijing Underground.
Finally, if you’re up for it your guide will be taking you deep into another show,

which will give us the chance to meet artists, expose ourselves to another up and coming band shaping china, and if we’re lucky another chance for drinks with the musicians.

Day 4 Beijing Opposite House/ Rosewood / The Orchid Poetry, Hip Hop and the PRC

In the morning we’ll be enjoying lyrics of a different kind as we enjoy a late breakfast then head to the Beijing Bookworm: China’s Premier Bookstore. Here we will be introducing you to Matthew Byrne.

Matthew is the founder of Spittoon literary journal and art space, and has been working with both Chinese and expat musicians and poets for years, to introduce new forms of artistic expression (Hip Hop, contemporary literature, poetry) into China, with a particular focus on cross-cultural collaboration.

Matthew will be meeting you along with one of China’s exciting young musicians or poets. You’ll be able to hear from both sides on the difference between Chinese and Western Poetry as well as how poetry and literature (far more influential in China than the West) play an important role in shaping the lyrical sensibilities of Chinese Musicians. And for Matthew how Chinese music has influenced him as a poet.

An Interview with a Chinese Rock Star

In the afternoon, your expert guide will introduce you to one of the musicians outside of their rock star life. We can either introduce you to one of Beijing’s legendary acts or a young up and comer for a conversation on art, music and politics. You’ll have the chance to hear first hand from the rebels who’ve risked it all for music, what drives them to do what they do and, where do they see music heading in their country.

A Meal Under the Stars
In the evening for your final meal, dinner will be at a beautiful tree-studded courtyard will create Yunnan Cuisine for your truly authentic Chinese meal. Yunnan is China’s most southern province, its borders touching Tibet, Laos, Vietnam and Burma, provides a dynamic mix of flavors and spices, while still somehow being the most pleasing for most western pallets. We will be ordering you a set menu so you don’t have to worry about translation on your first night! Enjoy the SE-Asia and Chinese inspired flavors and perhaps a glass or two of their on-site brewed Rice Wine. When you’re done a Didi Kuai taxi will be waiting to take you back to the hotel.

Final Rock Show
That evening we’ll treat you to a final show in Beijing before you head off to your next destination.

Day 5 Beijing Departure

In the morning we’ll transfer you onward to your next destination. If you’d like we can continue to arrange your journey in China, helping you meet some more of the best Musicians, artists and chefs of the PRC.

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