China Focus: Live performance industry bounces back in post-COVID era
BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Ramification, a band comprised of four Beijing-based college students, is now a frequent performer in the city's popular live-music venues, captivating a growing fan base with its unique and psychedelic sound in the post-COVID era.
"We have played shows one after another since this school term started, and our schedule is quite packed," said bass player Gao Zexu. "Everything seems to be coming alive now."
The quartet of undergraduates from Beijing Foreign Studies University still remember how exhilarated they were when their newly-formed band was invited to play outside their campus for the first time in early 2022.
To their dismay, however, the show in a downtown bar was eventually cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Although they gained several performance offers later, the band members would describe these shows more like open rehearsals with very small audiences due to COVID-19 restrictions.
As China emerged from the epidemic and entered a new phase of COVID-19 response with optimized measures, the country's live-performance industry started to pick up momentum, offering new opportunities to performing artists from home and abroad, including Ramification.
Since the start of this year, many well-known singers and bands have announced their concert tours, and a variety of outdoor music festivals, such as the Midi Music Festival and the Strawberry Music Festival, have released their lineups to cater for the pent-up demand of music fans.
Ramification's keyboard player Gang Yuhan is impressed by the change. "Not only is the size of our audience significantly bigger, but the atmosphere of our shows has also changed. When listeners can enjoy themselves more without worrying about COVID-19, we as performers will naturally become more passionate in playing our music," said Gang.
According to statistics from the China Association of Performing Arts, in the first quarter of this year, the number of commercial performances nationwide totaled 68,900, an increase of 95.42 percent year on year.
Their revenue totalled 4.98 billion yuan (about 696.5 million U.S. dollars), up 110.99 percent year on year. Concerts and music festivals sold more than 1.1 million tickets, making it the highest-grossing category.
During the five-day May Day holiday only, the first spring break after the country optimized its COVID-19 response measures, the total revenue from commercial performances nationwide increased by almost 10 times to 1.519 billion yuan.
As industry insiders observe, with the optimization and adjustment of COVID-19 response, the demand from audiences has been released and long-pending performances reinstated.
Meanwhile, government support for the cultural performance industry is further increasing, and market participants are ever more vigorous, buttressing the recovery and development of the performance market.
Ramification's guitarist Yao Sipu now sees more possibilities in the post-COVID era. "The number of opportunities for us has skyrocketed. We get to perform on larger stages, and let more people hear and recognize our music."