Beijing's iconic Great Hall of the People will reverberate to the sound of Taiwanese pop next week when the venue plays host to its first rock concert. A joint concert by Taiwanese stars Richie Ren and Huang Pin-yuan next Friday is the first of four similar shows planned for the hallowed 6,000-seat hall. Taiwan's Jeff Chang Shin-che will perform two days later, while Hong Kong singer Sandy Lam Yik-lin and local singer-song writer Xu Wei will appear in the following days. Authorities say audience members will be allowed to wave glowsticks in the monolithic, Soviet-style building. A spokesman for Beiqing Wenhua, the organiser of the concert series, said the hall was the only place available in the city because other venues were being renovated for the 2008 Olympic Games. He said that though only high-brow music events had been held in the hall previously, it was ideal for large-scale pop concerts because it allowed the audience to get close to the performers. 'I don't think the Great Hall of the People is by any means different from other venues available in Beijing,' he said. 'The building may be the meeting place for the National People's Congress so people think it is different, but it is really no different in terms of its function.' The hall is becoming a popular place for activities such as press conferences, business meetings and even wedding banquets. It was built in 1959 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of the people's republic and has been the backdrop for important political and diplomatic meetings. Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher once stumbled on the building's steps after a meeting in which Deng Xiaoping told her that China would take back Hong Kong. Renmin University sociologist Zhou Xiaozheng said the hall's administrators needed to make money because the government did not allocate enough funding. 'A lack of funds means they have to start exploring new ways to make money so that they can keep part of the extra income for their own use,' he said. Not all Beijing residents endorse a more commercial image for the Great Hall of the People. University student Lin Lin, 21, said the hall was supposed to be a sacred national place and should be used only for state affairs. 'It is weird to have pop music and the constitution coming from the same place,' she said.