Nanxi River Beach Music Park
Song flavor and Yongjia Kunqu opera in accord
Song-flavored Yongjia with picturesque landscape
B&Bs where you may feel the wind that shakes the wheat
Jiangnan Song-Style Village
“The Heart of the Grassland” Art Troupe from Hongyuan County performed at the Nanxi River Music Festival
Once again, the ROCKTOWN Star Nest Mystery Music Festival rocked the Nanxi River Beach Music Park. Under the scorching sun, visitors from all over the world flocked to the viewing area, many dressed in costumes and evening gowns. Their interaction with the singers set off a fervent wave of zest that lasted from the day to the night. It is reported that the 2-day ROCKTOWN Star Nest Mystery Music Festival attracted nearly 20,000 people to the Nanxi River in Yongjia, of which 33% came from outside Zhejiang Province, and 58% of the visitors from Zhejiang Province hailed from cities other than Wenzhou.
Capitalizing on Nanxi River’s positioning as the “birthplace of landscape poetry” and its “Chinese landscape village group”, and by dint of the “Yongjia School of Poetry”, “Yongjia School of Thought” and “Yongjia Kunqu Opera”, Yongjia County has been exploring the rural construction model of “art + agriculture + tourism”, digging deeper into the cultural brands of “Song-Flavored Nanxi” and “Nanxi River Country Music Town”. It has blazed a new trail to cultivate new momentum for enriching people, and found a path of rural revitalization for common prosperity significantly different from that of introducing the industrial and commercial capital to the countryside.
Mobilizing its cultural and tourism resources, Yongjia has successfully fostered such cultural tourism IPs as Ruoxi Art Village, Nanxi River Music Town and Lishui Street Historical and Cultural Block. By implanting art into the countryside, it meets the villagers’ demand for a better life, helps the countryside to “enrich people’s mind and purse”, and materializes the power of art in raising rural residents’ income and collective economic income, making an indelible contribution to the systematic undertaking of rural revitalization for common prosperity.
Just as the old saying goes, give a man a fish, and you have fed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you have fed him for a lifetime. It is people’s own initiative that will make rural revitalization a reality. By “implanting culture and art”, allowing artists to take root in the countryside and enabling art to flourish and blossom in the countryside, Yongjia County stimulates the villagers’ internal motivation with art, gives full play to their autonomy and creativity, boosts their cultural self-confidence and puts them into action for a better life, thus driving the elderly and low-income groups in the village to embark on the road to common prosperity.
Fusion of culture and tourism to shape a “Song-flavored Yongjia”
Beach Music Festival makes a name in China
Covering an area of over 67 hectares, the Nanxi River Beach Music Park is currently the only beach park in China with the theme of music culture and leisure, and is also the one that holds the most music festivals with the most comprehensive brands in China. The fan-shaped planar structure of the park is divided into six functional blocks, including a camping area, a dining and shopping area, a sports area, a study travel base and a rafting area, with two music lawns that can accommodate 30,000 and 6,000 people respectively, a 1,000-space car park with north and south entrances, etc.
The four well-known music festival brands, namely, the Nanxi River East Sea, Star Nest, Strawbe(RE-) and ROCKTOWN, closely connected to the Nanxi River Star Nest Music Camp and Nanxi River COART Art Camp (hereinafter referred to as the “two camps”) and complemented by a variety of products such as “music + camping + bazaar + food + culture and creativity”, target at young consumers and achieve a perfect marriage between music festivals and tourism in Nanxi River. Statistics show that since the four major music festivals were held, the number of tourists and total tourism revenue of Nanxi River scenic area have increased by more than 20% year-on-year, and the number of night visitors has surged by more than 35% year-on-year. Villages around the “two camps” saw the annual income of its collective economy to exceed 100,000 yuan, and its annual per capita income to grow by 5,000 yuan.
As the birthplace of Chinese landscape poetry, Yongjia landscape has been soaked in the subtleties of poetry and song for more than a thousand years. In recent years, Yongjia Tourism Investment Group Co., Ltd. is beefing up its effort to promote the industrial development of the integration of music and tourism. By constructing a “Nanxi River Beach Music Park” and two “music blocks”, introducing the “two camps” and “four music festivals”, the company goes to all lengths to build a “National Country Music Town” and initiates a “Yongjia path” of high-quality development featuring cultural tourism. Up to now, nearly 1,000 music events have been held in Nanxi River, and famous musicians such as Pu Shu, Cui Jian, Black Panther and Escape Plan have come to Yongjia to perform.
Yongjia County attaches great importance to the protection, excavation and inheritance of Song-flavored culture. To invigorate and pass on the millennial Song Dynasty culture in the new era, it continuously promotes the construction of Jiangnan Song-Style Village and the revival of Fenglin Millennial Ancient City, establishes the first county-level academic and practice base of the Zhejiang Song-Flavored Culture Research Center, makes full and thorough use of Song Dynasty’s culture, and creates the local and elegant cultural brand of “Song-Flavored Yongjia”. Since the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee launched the Song-flavored culture transmission project, Yongjia County has established the Nanxi River Song Dynasty Culture Research Institute, the Yongjia School Research Institute and the Zhejiang Song-Flavored Culture Research Center (Yongjia) Academic and Practice Base, held the Nanxi River Song Dynasty Culture and Tourism Integration Development Summit for two consecutive years, and formed a good cultural exchange atmosphere in cooperation with experts and scholars in the province.
The 380-meter waterfront street is home to more than 90 shops. When you step into Lishui Street, the shop of “Wheat Cake Beauty” stands out, where from time to time, visitors are seated to taste the wheat cakes or pack them away. The staff told that more than a thousand wheat cakes could be sold every day recently because of the music festival. Shops including Venfun Bistro, Qingshi Restaurant, “Music in everywhere” Café, Herb Shop, Song-Flavored Bistro and “Super Good” Long Play Shop also reported a remarkable increase in customer traffic.
During the construction and operation of cultural tourism projects and products, Yongjia County has provided a great many of employment and income-generating opportunities for local people, boosting the production and sale of local agricultural and sideline products. Projects such as the Nanxi River COART Art Camp and the Village School have offered training and practice to more than 3,000 local villagers in handicraft production and re-creation of local cuisine, enhancing villagers’ skills, widening their employment channels and raising income for village collectives and villagers.
Idle farmhouses resurrected into fancy hotels
Hundred-mile Nanxi River presents a special B&B strip
“Love for Waterwheel” in Lishui Street is a café that doubles as a B&B. Mr. Lin at the café said that all the four rooms in the B&B were full these days, with three guests from Shanghai, Guangdong and Heilongjiang respectively, all of whom were fans of the Star Nest Mystery Music Festival and had booked rooms online.
It is reported that during the music festival, the B&Bs and hotels were almost jammed, with the rooms of featured B&Bs like Lake West Hostel and Junlan Yunshang being hard to come by even at an average price of 600 RMB a night. Tourists also favored such local food and specialties like wheat cake, dumplings made of sweet potato flour, Lingshang Roast Whole Lamb etc., and surrounding hotels and farmhouse restaurants like the Nanxi No.1 Inn, Nanxi Little Kitchen were full of customers.
The Covid-19 pandemic plunged the domestic B&B industry into a trough. To help the B&B industry weather the winter, Yongjia pioneered a business right mortgage model for the landed B&Bs, which fundamentally solved the collateral financing difficulties faced by the B&B industry, and practiced a shortcut to business capital helping revitalize the countryside, empowering Yongjia to build “ten B&B villages” and “hundred-mile Nanxi special B&B strip”. The B&B has become a major engine for the transformation and upgrading of the county’s rural economy and the enhancement of its overall strength.
Through the business right mortgage model for the landed B&Bs, Yongjia County has tailored more than 400 characteristic B&Bs, which can offer over 6,000 beds, greatly improving the rural tourism reception capacity. Up to now, the county has transferred 1,540 idle farm houses and brought the number of B&B featured villages to 10. Focused on the Song-flavored elegant experience, characteristic farm produce, accommodation and food, it has created a healthy travel world that is exquisite, entertaining and ecological.
In line with the dynamism of the cultural tourism industry and the new demand for cultural tourism consumption in the context of consumer upgrading, Yongjia County has integrated the creation of B&Bs into the overall layout, architectural style and humanistic customs of ancient Song-culture villages such as Furong Village and Cangpo Village. By attracting social capital and implanting Song-flavored elements, it has created ten B&B villages such as Shangrichuan Village, Yanshang Village and Jiangfeng Village, and launched cultural experience areas with their own characteristics. Besides, it has welded a train of themed B&Bs featuring Song Dynasty culture and landscape poetry roads, and improved the cultural taste of boutique B&Bs such as Nanxi Huakai B&B, Xuli B&B and Yueting Nanshe Boutique Hotel, forming clusters of B&Bs with agglomeration and large scale. At present, there are more than 230 boutique B&Bs in Yongjia, and the county was awarded the first national and the only B&B industry development demonstration area in Wenzhou.
Art + countryside that work like magic
Culturally characteristic countryside springs up
Substantial changes have taken place in Ruoxi Art Village, which invested less than 8 million yuan in the forward-thinking idea and unique design of “Art + Countryside” to enhance its core competitiveness. Following the road signs in the village, you will be greeted by Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Museum, Countryside Gallery, Linglong Pavilion, Ruoxi Humble Cottage, Peacock Garden, the pleasing Artistic Vegetable Garden, Ruoxi Bailu Ridge, etc. The farmers’ vegetable plot was transformed into an artistic vegetable garden, the abandoned primary school was turned into an art display exhibition hall, and the idle farmhouses were remolded into an artist’s studio, art bar, gallery, etc.. No wonder painting enthusiasts come and go in a continuous stream to sketch from nature.
Ten projects were incorporated in the construction of the “Song-Flavored Yongjia”, including the Jiangnan Song-Style Village, the Music Households, the Cylinder Kiln Cultural Village and Community, the Yantou Historical and Cultural Block, and the Elegant Song Dynasty Life Experience Neighbourhood. Artistic aesthetics was organically blended into rural appearance to facilitate the “micro-transformation and fine upgrading” of rural art, so that “every village will have its own characteristics that greatly refine its image”. Villagers are encouraged to use various channels such as leasing or co-hosting to transform their vegetable plots into artistic gardens, abandoned primary schools into art exhibition halls, and idle farmhouses into such “art micro-spaces” as rural art galleries, art bars and galleries. 16,000m2 of spare old houses were put into use and more than 90 shops such as cultural and artistic restaurants and 24-hour bookshops were introduced to intensify the artistic atmosphere and visibility of the countryside.
Besides, Ruoxi Village also saw some high-end art activities being held there, “Academic Exchange in Yongjia”, “When Paris Meets Wenzhou — Sino-French Artist Sketching and Exhibition”, “When London Meets Wenzhou — Sino-British Artist Sketching and Exhibition”, to name a few. The sharp contrast between the scene of cattle and sheep passing by the door and the international forums being held indoor smacked of poetry as well. With one cultural activity after another, now Ruoxi Village has enriched not only the purse but also the mind of its villagers. Its villagers are better educated than before, as shown in their genteel manner and their speech with buzzwords when conversing with the correspondence.
As farmers have turned richer and no longer worry about their livelihoods, how to improve their life quality has become a new headache. The “Art Village Construction” integrates art into the construction of villages, and the artists-in-villages program has attracted a slew of cultural and artistic celebrities in Yongjia to gather in the “Jiangnan Song-Style Village”. Those celebrities established studios in Furong Ancient Village, Lishui Street and Beach Music Park in Yantou Town, conducted cultural and artistic demonstrations, performances, training, study tours and visitor experiences, giving villages a greater sense of gain and happiness both materially and mentally, and in turn contributing to the realization of common prosperity.
East-West bonding by arts and culture, a deed praised far and wide
A brand of “Sino-Tibetan music” exchange grows in stature
The Tibetan opera “Snowland Celebration” unveiled the “Song from the Grassland - 2023 Nanxi River Yak Music Season”, which reached the climax when the song “Encountering the Grassland Pastoral” was sung: the eagle hovers high in the blue sky, the fragrant gerbera blossom on the grassland. We encounter each other in the grassland pastoral, the rhythm of which connects our hearts. It is the third time for “The Heart of the Grassland” Art Troupe from Hongyuan County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province to present its performance in Yongjia. During the rehearsal at Yongjia Beach Music Park, Nigme, Director of the Art Troupe, said that the Tibetan songs and dances enabled Wenzhou citizens and visitors to Yongjia to experience the original grassland culture and the style of China’s west on the doorstep.
Though 2,400 kilometers apart geographically, Yongjia and Hongyuan have common cultural carriers: the former has the Nanxi River East Sea New Year’s Eve Concert while the latter has the Yak Music Festival; the former is the revolutionary base of the 13th Red Army while the latter is the grassland where the Red Army walked through; the former has Ouyue culture while the latter boasts minority culture. Since the twinning with Hongyuan County in 2017, Yongjia has been spreading its culture to its twin city, hosting a series of thematic activities and literary and artistic programs to facilitate both cultural progress and literary prosperity. Through songs and dances, the two places vividly demonstrate their ambition and enterprise on the road to common prosperity, and further cement the great unity of the ethnic groups.
According to Nigme, during the one-month “Encountering the Grassland Pastoral” - Nanxi River Yak Music Season in December 2020, “The Heart of the Grassland” Art Troupe went to such places as the “Poetic and Picturesque Nanxi”, “Jiangnan Song-Style Village”, “Wenzhou Cultural Industries Expo (WZCIE) ”, cultural auditoriums and private enterprises to stage more than 20 wonderful cultural feast characterized by the Red Plains culture like the yak culture and grassland art. During the Yongjia New Year’s Eve concert, the Red Plains artists were invited to participate in exchange performances, where Ando nomadic folk songs, yaks and other elements debuted to stun and amaze the local people and tourists.
In August, 2022, the “Meet Yongjia Kunqu Opera - Yongjia and Hongyuan Bonding Activity” was celebrated at the Hongyuan Yak Music Season, during which more than 23,900 tickets were sold offline that earned nearly 4 million yuan, 8,689 tickets were sold online with a revenue of 78,200 yuan, and the comprehensive income from advertising and sponsorship reached 2.67 million yuan. The event also received 334,700 visitors, achieving tourism income of 251 million yuan.
A cultural exchange and interaction implementation plan was initiated in the two places, which demands no less than 5 million yuan of special funds each year from the aid funds for cultural exchange and interaction activities. By both “going out” and “inviting in”, Yongjia and Hongyuan have achieved coordinated development of cultural tourism. They have conducted multi-level, multi-disciplinary, multi-form cultural exchanges and mutual learning activities through the “Nanxi River Music Festival” and “Yak Music Season”, and have held 9 large-scale activities during the Yak Music Season that attracted nearly one million visitors and generated tourism revenue of over 600 million yuan.