China's top rock fest delayed to October

Midi Modern Music Festival can't offer security

BEIJING -- Just days after receiving performance permits, organizers of Beijing's Midi Modern Music Festival have been told by local police that they cannot provide security, meaning the festival will not be held.

The ninth annual Midi festival -- China's longest-running outdoor rock event -- was to have been held May 1-4 at Haidian Park in Beijing's Haidian District. Midi had planned to expand the event to Shanghai on May 1-2, but organizers previously confirmed that the Shanghai Midi Festival has been canceled.

They said the Beijing festival will be postponed to China's Oct. 1 National Day holiday. The festival has been postponed from its traditional May time slot to October for security reasons in the past, most notably in 2003 because of SARS.

Sources close to the festival attribute the sudden about-face to the Chinese government's nervousness amid the pro-Tibet demonstrations that have followed the Olympic flame around the world and anti-foreign protests within China.

Although Midi is known primarily as a showcase for Chinese rock bands, in recent years it has featured more international acts. This year's lineup would have been Midi's biggest ever, with 100 Chinese and 30 international bands. Swedish band Mando Diao, which was to have headlined the festival, also was scheduled to perform several club gigs around Beijing. But sources tell Billboard the band has canceled its China tour because of Midi's postponement.