The company is now home to more than 100 indie ban

nds and has expanded into the United States and Britain by signing Western bands. It also promote

上海千花坊s one of the country’s most popular outdoor musical events, the Strawberry Music Festival, whi

ch was launched in Beijing by the company in 2009 and has since expanded into dozens of Chinese cities.

“The first reason to form a band was to attract more girls,” says the singer-songwriter Gao Xiaosong, who formed his own band in 1990 while he was studying rada上海千花坊

r engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “But the most important thing was that when I learned to play guitar I wanted to explore more be

autiful sounds of the instruments, so I was eager to find people who shared my interests and who wanted to play music together with me.”

Gao is credited with creating a music genre during the 1990s called “campus folk music”, which won a

上海千花坊品茶微信large fan base in China then with poetic lyrics about youth, romance and friendship, accompanied by guitar.

One of the major contributors to indie music’ development in the country is the emerg

ing live house venues and small bars, which offer the indie rock bands stages to perform.

 live bar called School is among the most popular places for indie music bands and music fans.

School, tucked in a narrow hutong in downtown Beijing, was co-founded by Liu Fei, a former band agent and music festival organizer, about nine years ago.

“We wanted to have a place to enjoy music and drink together so we decided to l上海千花坊品茶微信

aunch School,” says Liu, 36, a Beijing native. “The place connects like-minded people.”

As Liu sat in the two-floor venue he was accompanied by a black dog that he adopted last year. He spotted the stray sitting outside the l

ive bar and decided to take it in. It was the Year of the Dog, so Liu considers her as an omen of good things and named her School, after the club.

“Like us, she really enjoys crowds and loves to listen to music,” Liu says.上海千花坊品茶微信

Among the young bands that started to give performances at School and gained a fan base is Penicillin, an indie rock group whose members were all born after 1990.

“They started with performing in front of fewer than 10 people and now they have a stable fan base with about 100,000 fol

lowers on their Sina Weibo account,” says Liu, adding that the lead vocalist and guitarist, nicked-named Xiaole, has the n

atural charisma of a rock star with his solid technique, songwriting talent and onstage composure.

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