Under The Radar: Great Wall Festival

Under The Radar: Great Wall Festival

Great Wall Festival 2018

Great Wall Festival 2018

nr. Beijing, China

Ask most people what comes to mind when thinking of music festivals and the answers are likely to be similar: big name bands, big stages and a vast open space (be it field, beach or forest). While that sort of experience is obviously great, that's not the only form a music festival can, or should, take.

It's important to recognise and celebrate some of the smaller festivals that aren't always able to shout as loudly as those with bigger budgets and grander set-ups. Festivals that have their own unique charm, and portray exactly what is so great about the huge diversity in music festivals across the globe.

For the latest instalment of our ongoing series that has seen us visit a Scottish mountain range, a rural Portuguese village and a German ex-military bunker, we've picked a festival that can conceivably lay claim to having the most iconic setting of any festival in the world. 

Where is it set?

What better place to start than this? As the name suggests, the festival takes place on the Great Wall of China. The actual Great Wall. Of actual China. The one that can't really be seen from space but is famous enough for that to be a widespread myth. One of the new 7 Wonders of the World. You know, that one.

To avoid making it too difficult to get to, the organisers wisely decided to keep things fairly close to Beijing, with coaches taking people between the capital city and the site. Not many festivals can claim a setting as iconic as that.

What's the festival's ethos?

As you might expect given the setting, the festival is all about bringing people together for a truly unique and unforgettable experience. As the festival themselves have said "we respect ancient glory, we also try to change… Now we sprinkle a layer of different light on the magnificent Great Wall"

In addition to the music, there's also the chance to take on the challenge of a 5km run along the wall to really feel like you've conquered it. Well, some of it (0.025% to be precise).


What kind of people am I going to find here?

The crowd at the festival is a real mix of nationalities. Plenty of Chinese natives, and all manner of travellers and visitors from across the globe, all coming together to party. It's also a fairly young crowd, which isn't hugely surprising given the music on offer.

What kind of music am I going to hear?

Techno is very much the order of the day, with international stars of the scene taking top billing and 'local heroes' offering the support.

The Queen of techno herself Nina Kraviz is making her Chinese festival debut at the 2018 edition. And she'll be joined by perennial poll-topper Dixon playing a 'sunset set', Recondite bringing a full audiovisual live show, Detroit pioneer Carl Craig representing the legendary techno city, and German veteran Chris Liebing closing proceedings with a 4-hour set. 

A hugely impressive set of headliners for any electronic music festival worldwide. Let alone one with this setting – did we mention it's on the Great Wall of China?.


Great Wall Festival 2019 takes place on 18-19 May. Book tickets, accommodation and transport here, and see our guide for more info.

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