The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


This weekend's Beijing Pop Festival had everything. Bag ladies collecting plastic bottles, a Chinese camper van maker showing its wares, lamb skewers, marijuana, and lots of freeloaders selling their VIP tickets for RMB200 at the gate. We paid RMB250 for our day tickets at the official van, which sold a two day ticket for RMB450: "you get RMB50 discount."

And then we meet a friend inside with an access all areas VIP wristband, snapped up with the VIP invite she bought for RMB200 outside. Go everywhere, for two days, and use the VIP loos at the back of the stage. In China you give flash looking invites to officials, police and anyone else who might be able to put a spanner in the works. Even if they've no intention of going Beijing bigwigs regard free tickets as an acknowledgement of their might and if they don't get them they can exercise their ability to pull one of those many permits you need to put on an open air rock festival in China. Big shows like this one warrant a few hundred such tickets - and a special VIP area of arm chairs and tea service. 

When Alisha Keyes played on the Great Wall a few years ago organisers handed out 500 free tickets out of 5,000 sold and sat the paying public behind about six rows of armchairs reserved for big shots and/or their families. Many of course didn't show, or went home when the novelty wore off. Ticket scabs usually know the likely recipients and approach them for the tickets. Given than construction workers earn about RMB600 a month in Beijing, a ticket sell for RMB200 isn't a bad takings.

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Nuggets from our archive

2006 - Review of Neosupervital's debut album, written by Doctor Binokular. The famously compelling review, complete with pie charts that compare the angst of Neosupervital with the angst of the reviewer. As you do.