Chinese cities are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial in their desire to capture a greater share of the tourism market by marketing themselves as a “destination.”
Zhangjiajie, a picturesque city in central China and an UNESCO World Heritage site, announced it will host its second Zhangjiajie International Country Music Week which will run from September 10 to 16.
This is not the American variety of country music, although Zhangjiajie officials may have Nashville on its mind when this idea was conceived. Rather, it is more a celebration of diversity of ethnic or “country” music.
The organizers expect to line up more than 500 musicians and more than 30 country music bands from around the world. The country music week is billed to “promote cultural development in all the world’s regions through the medium of country music.”
The festival promises “an eclectic mix of both international country artists and some of the homegrown variety, which will highlight the musical heritage of China’s ethnic communities.”
Zhangjiajie’s foray into country music came in 2009 when the city’s major donned a cowboy outfit in a promotional video and sang a version of John Denver’s hit song “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
“Every effort needs to be made to turn the music festival into a regular event and to develop Zhangjiajie into an international country music venue,” Ye Wenzhi, general manager of one of the event’s organizers, the Huanglongdong Tourist Corp, told the China Daily newspaper.