A local indie band performs in Wuhan Men's Nike Air Force One Deconstruct Premium Grey Sale , Hubei Province in 2014. Photo: IC
Chen Hongyu and Ma Yuyang, two independent musicians, kicked off their Z-Turn music tour of China on March 11。 Covering 27 cities across the nation in 100 days, the duo decided to set themselves apart from other tours by not heading out in a tour bus, but instead relying on the kindness of others as they hitchhiked their way to each destination。

Setting off from Beijing, the two have already held shows in seven cities so far and are expected to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province on Friday。 With each performance the not-for-profit tour has been gaining momentum, currently tickets ($10 and under) for the next three concerts - Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen - have sold out。

Chen is the founder of a music community called Zhongyueji, which releases an annual music compilation and holds monthly performances with the intention of gathering music enthusiasts together。 In 2015, Chen and his partner Ma launched their first compilation。 Surpassing the duo‘s expectations, countless fans began asking for tickets to their shows online。 Based on their increasing popularity, Chen received 2 million yuan ($300,000) in angel investments。

Chen knows how to take advantage of the power of the Internet。 While producing his first personal album, he initiated a crowdfunding program on musikid that helped him secure the funds he needed。 Along with the publishing of the liner notes on music site xiami, the album was extremely popular among young literature and art lovers。

On March 11, loads of fans and musicians gathered at the duo‘s first show in Beijing, which was something of a debut concert for the tour as well as a farewell party。

“I‘m crazy about the unknown and looking forward to every stop on this tour, especially Xiamen, because I’ve never been there before,” Chen told the Beijing Times。

When it came to planning a budget for the tour, Ma explained that they didn‘t worry about the details。

“Most of our expenses are for food, because hitchhiking and couch surfing are totally free, ” he said。

“But we‘re bringing our bank cards just in case。”

As part of their planning, the entire tour is being filmed into a documentary。 Additionally, Chen and Ma are sharing their pictures, video clips and recordings via their personal microblog, as well as an audio diary on Zhongyueji‘s public Wechat account。

“We have been very lucky in that we‘ve met nice hosts all the time,” Ma said。 He recalled that when they were in Wuhan, Hubei Province, their host took them to try lots of local food。 After a short chat they learned that the host heard of them through a well-known figure and had fallen in love with their songs,“ Ma said。

Each host has been friendly, sharing their stories with the duo。 Chen explained that this has made them feel like they are really “on the road,” something which he greatly appreciates。

Actually, this is not the first time Chen has taken a hitchhiking tour。 Back in 2013, he accomplished a 60-day tour that covered more than 6,500 kilometers and 16 cities in China。 Accompanied by music, Chen slept in tents or acted as a “couch surfer。” He got free rides 58 times, and lead a life that many youths who love culture and art dream about。

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