Brahman incident 2003

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Brahman incident 2003, an occurrence during the Midi Music Festival 2003


On 2 October 2003 at the Midi Music Festival, just after the presenter introduced that the next band – “Brahman” was from Japan, the audiences started to swear and shout loudly. When the Brahman band got on the stage and started to test their musical instruments, water bottles were immediately thrown at them from the audience. The bassist was totally soaked, and had to get off the stage to change his T-shirt. The presenter walked to the front of the stage, and tried to calm down the audience, but before he spoke, a water bottle hit him on his face and broke his glasses. When the performance started, an egg hit the vocalist on his head, but the vocalist just wiped it away and carried on his performance. The strange thing is that many of those angry audience members later cheered the performance of Brahman. A young man almost fought with a Japanese fan who wore a “Beijing Punk” T-shirt, but after a conversation, they hugged each other and enjoyed the performance together.[1]

Criticism on the fans' reaction

Opposing those fans, rockers and rock critics strongly criticised fans’ improper behaviour. The headmaster of the Midi Music School – Zhang Fan claimed that what happened to the Japanese band was a failure of the Midi Music Festival[1].

"Freedom, equality, peace, and tolerance all these essential issues advocated by rock spirit are abandoned by this group of youth. The loss of essential rock spirit is linked to the status quo of a commercialised social environment of China… The angry youth can be divided into two groups: the warm-blooded and the cold-blooded. The warm-blooded rock fans are mainly in their thirties and some in their twenties who understand social responsibilities, have their own moral standards and clear minds. The cold-blooded rock fans are the very young generations who rely on financial supports from their parents. Their angers are aimless. They just like to show off. Consequently, when they need to undertake responsibilities and identify social values, they are very fragile… In a commercialised society where the majority of people are senseless, anger should be a meaningful response rather than this kind of showoff attitude. Regarding the unfair treatment of the Japanese band, I can clearly feel that some people are very childish, and this incident is influenced by current opinion of the press."[2]

Yan Jun takes this incident more seriously, and insists this incident is the shame of October[1]:

"The people who are really humiliated by the incident are the whole of us – the so-called loyal Chinese rock fans… Our dreamful utopia, love and belongingness were shattered at that moment… The devil inside us used blindness and hatred to tear the beautiful dream, and showed the world our inside emptiness and puzzlement… We experienced the break of dream in surprise. That kind of feeling is exactly the sadness."[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 W. Qian (2007). The Crisis of Chinese Rock in the mid-1990s: Weakness in Form or Weakness in Content. Page 325 University of Liverpool.
  2. Li, Hongyu (2003) ‘Midi Jie: Zai Yaogun Zhong Xuanxie’ (the Midi Music Festival: Released in Rock Music), Nanfang Zhoumo (Southern Weekend), October 9, 2003
  3. Yan Jun (2003c) ‘Shiyue De Chiru’ (the Shame of October), information is from the Midi Music Festival report of Netease (accessed on October 15th 2003):