2019 Spring Festival Gala: A sneak peek of the performance sub-venues
Updated 17:32, 04-Feb-2019
By Hong Yaobin

Chinese Lunar New Year is around the corner, and the curtain of the 2019 Spring Festival Gala, also known as Chunwan in Chinese, will be raised to celebrate it on Monday night.

Since the gala was first broadcast live by China Central Television (CCTV) in 1983, it has evolved into a new tradition, become overwhelmingly popular in the Chinese diaspora communities and is now the ultimate festive TV show with billions of viewers worldwide.

The gala itself also makes it a point to include people from all across the country in the show by setting up multiple sub-venues besides for the main stage in Beijing.

A combination photo shows the views of Jinggangshan, Changchun, and Shenzhen (L-R). /Photo via Sina Weibo

A combination photo shows the views of Jinggangshan, Changchun, and Shenzhen (L-R). /Photo via Sina Weibo

In 1996, the gala was staged at the main CCTV studio in Beijing and in the sub-venues of Nanjing and Shanghai, but only in 2016 did this become a fixture of the event. 

The 2019 gala will be produced by the China Media Group (CMG) and broadcast from separate studios in the cities of Jinggangshan in southeastern Jiangxi Province, Shenzhen in southern Guangdong Province, and Changchun in northeastern Jilin Province, addition to its major venue in Beijing.

A rehearsal for the 2019 Spring Festival Gala in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, on January 24, 2019. /VCG Photo

A rehearsal for the 2019 Spring Festival Gala in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, on January 24, 2019. /VCG Photo

The gala's crew revealed that the rehearsals held in the past two weeks all ran successfully. 

Each venue has its own highlights and we will now bring you a sneak preview.

Back to the fields and folk culture

Terraced paddy fields near Jinggangshan City, southeast China's Jiangxi Province, June 1, 2013. /VCG Photo

Terraced paddy fields near Jinggangshan City, southeast China's Jiangxi Province, June 1, 2013. /VCG Photo

Known as the “cradle of the Chinese revolution," Jinggangshan is a county-level city situated in the southwest of Jiangxi Province, southeastern China, which is famous for its environment and rich culture.

Its important position in modern Chinese history, as well as stunning scenery, make it stand out as a venue for the gala.

One of the stages in Jinggangshan is nestled among the mountains and has been designed to blend theater with nature. 

Actress Liu Tao attends the Jiangxi TV Spring Festival Gala, February 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

Actress Liu Tao attends the Jiangxi TV Spring Festival Gala, February 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

An 11-layer terrace-like stage with a small part stretching into a small lake in the front has been built into the hillside and performers in traditional costumes will play onstage as if they were singing and dancing on the terraced fields and along the river.

Folk songs passed down through the generations and new adaptations will be showcased to present both the old and new spirit of the local people. Celebrated actress Liu Tao, a native of Jiangxi, will perform a song there.

Local plants and flowers, including more than 10,000 bamboo and tea tree leaves, will also be featured. 

Cutting-edge tech builds the ‘City of the Future'

A view of the gala's performance venue in Shenzhen, south China, which is encircled by skyscrapers, February 2, 2019. /VCG Photo

A view of the gala's performance venue in Shenzhen, south China, which is encircled by skyscrapers, February 2, 2019. /VCG Photo

Aside from showcasing China's diverse culture, the gala's sub-venues have been further upgraded to create a brand new visual experience as the country's biggest festive extravaganza has embraced today's hottest scientific and technological achievements, including virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Shenzhen, in south China's Guangdong Province, is in the spotlight again this year as this is the second time the city has been a sub-venue for the gala.

A real-time VR transmission broadcast via a 5G network from the Shenzhen sub-venue to Beijing studio. /CCTV Gif

A real-time VR transmission broadcast via a 5G network from the Shenzhen sub-venue to Beijing studio. /CCTV Gif

For the first time, the performances from this sub-venue will be broadcast live in 4K ultra high-definition through a 5G network.

Located at the central plaza, which is surrounded by the skyscrapers of downtown Shenzhen, the gala's stage is being billed as the “City of the Future,” due to the amount of emerging technological elements that are featured.

During Shenzhen's seven-minute segment, you will see arguably China's youngest metropolitan city put on a fantasy light show with 43 high-rises decked out in synchronized neon lights showing gala-themed animations.

Drones flying information during a rehearsal at the Shenzhen sub-venue in south China on January 24, 2019. /VCG Photo

Drones flying information during a rehearsal at the Shenzhen sub-venue in south China on January 24, 2019. /VCG Photo

More than 1,000 drones will also put on a performance in the sky, and on the ground are 150 LED-covered pianos while will be played by “a secret guest” and renowned pianist Lang Lang.

The ‘Motor City' turns into a magnificent stage

Vehicles  on the streets of Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, on January 14, 2013. /VCG Photo

Vehicles  on the streets of Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, on January 14, 2013. /VCG Photo

The performance venue in Changchun, in northeast China's Jilin Province, has been sets up with the China FAW Group Corporation, playing up to the reputation of being China's "Motor City".

The China FAW Group Corporation is a local automotive manufacturing company that is currently the forefront of the domestic automobile industry.

Their vehicles will serve as props and take part in a grand and unique light show, while a tribute to the hardworking people of China will be performed by actors Liu Ye and Bai Yu, accompanied by a chorus of autoworkers.

A real-time VR transmission via a 5G network will be broadcast from the Changchun sub-venue. /CCTV Gif

A real-time VR transmission via a 5G network will be broadcast from the Changchun sub-venue. /CCTV Gif

Besides for this, the northernmost performance sub-venue will showcase winter sports and a fantastical, larger-than-life world carved out of ice and snow. 

Real-time VR transmissions will also be broadcast via a 5G network live from the sub-venues, further highlighting China's technological advances.

Cover image by Jia Jieqiong

Copy edited by Josh McNally

Read more: 

2019 Spring Festival Gala to embrace advanced technology and innovative performances

The 2019 Spring Festival Gala performance list

Fun facts about the Spring Festival Gala