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The Flaming Lips at Summer Sonic (HESO Magazine)

Why Summer Sonic Sucks

They made me sign a contract stipulating I wouldn’t badmouth the show. By writing this I will most likely not be invited back. I am fine with this. I am of the opinion that these massive festivals should be done way with altogether. The only thing a baseball stadium should be used for is burning Celine Dion in effigy or, well, baseball. Certainly not an exposition of “music” blasted as it were through stacks of speakers like so much dynamite used to tunnel through mountainsides. But you get what you pay for, and yet despite it being the tenth anniversary of the three-day showcase put on by Creativeman, apparently the punk dudes and goth girls are fine paying nearly $175 per day and showing up well into the afternoon. That must be their rock n’f’n roll sensibility: arrive just in time for Nine Inch Nails’ last Japan tour while missing Marine Stage openers Boys Like Girls, who seemed to have trouble getting through whole songs, or maybe those were just their songs. Either way, I decided to start drinking early.

Phoenix played a strong and instrumental heavy showing on the “Mountain” 2nd tier stage at the far end of the warehouse, de facto winner of worst stage name ever Click To Tweet

Why Summer Sonic Sucks

Why Summer Sonic Sucks

I Hate Rock N Roll (at Summer Sonic)

I made my way stage by stage (seven in all) early on before absolute indifference strangled my spirit and managed to catch bits and pieces of Totalfat on the Island (it’s a parking lot with that fake golf grass) stage and Fukuhara Miho at the aptly named Beach stage (who ironically enough first appeared on a Celine Dion tribute album). Bouncing between the Dance and Sonic stages (both indoor a massive concrete warehouse) I caught bits and pieces of School of Seven bells and Fujifabric, whose guitarist needs to get a new band, before jumping back to witness Kyte’s occasionally more than interesting Spacemen 3 and Coldplay lovechild’s version of rock orchestraic shoegaze until well, enough of that 1/16th beat programmed high-hat at 2pm. It was time for Girltalk anyway, who exploded onto the Dance stage for some one-legged cross-genre mash-up fun. I now know where my ¥2000 Eco-Friendly fee went after witnessing Gregg Michael Gillis’ cut-off clad twin ingénues literally blowing through twenty packs of toilet paper and confetti with their day-glo air guns. Though this bothered me at first, as soon as the stage filled with twenty-odd crowd-turned-dancers and Gillis reiterated, “I wanna take it to the next level!” while hop-scotching on the decks with one leg (his preferred dance) and pumping his fist in the air, I didn’t mind the loss of the industrial strength single-ply so much. This is what music is all about: Dancing. The sweat and taut skin of youth grinding away in oblivious joy on some stage somewhere likely under the gaze of disapproving eyes. This is Footloose. Short as his set was it provided much of the Day One highlights, what with Katy Perry A.W.O.L., so how could Paramore or Mercury Rev ever hope to pick up the slack?

Perhaps not so surprisingly Phoenix played a strong and instrumental heavy showing on the “Mountain” stage (the 2nd tier stage at the far end of the warehouse, de facto winner of worst stage name ever) in support of their latest album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, despite all appearances of not knowing where in the world they were playing today. Mewling around for more alcohol to relieve the concrete doldrums a decision was made, and though sacrificing Jack Peñate on the Beach stage at sunset was likely the most difficult of the long weekend, Nine Inch nails managed to carry the day- despite SSSS (shit stadium sound syndrome) with an eclectic retrospective of an hour-long set including “March of the Pigs”, “Closer” and a violent “I’m Afraid of Americans” before closing with- you guessed it- “Hurt”. A thunderous downpour soaking run back to the Sonic stage to see an alternatively brilliant and uninspired set by Mogwai, flip-flopping between mirroring the Thor-like hammering sky outside and waffling around in their own piddle puddles like sad wayward children. Follow the left-brain lads. Aphex Twin was even less brilliant and more disappointing given the rehashed run-of-the-mill dj set Richard James seemed satisfied performing to the easily amused crowd. Giving my bladder the impetus to win out over my sense of dharmic duty to actually finish listening to the entire set. To pee or not to pee. Depends on the DJ.

Despite Saturday’s promise of Joan Jett, Elvis Costello, CSS, and the Specials I decided to take a personal day for consumption of proper amounts of Pizza and Belgian Ale, as well as to consider my friend’s overarching indictment that Summer Sonic was like a government-sponsored music festival in Singapore. That bad…or good? I’ll give you a moment to ponder that. While you do so, why not check out the review of Fujirock?

Why Summer Sonic Sucks

Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne rolling overhead

I arrived early-ish Sunday with high expectations that the lineup would overshadow the venue’s shortcomings. The Sonic Stage alone could be depended on to deliver one from the melancholy humidity and violent sonic reverberations. Repeat after me: Grizzly Bear, The Vaselines, Teenage Fanclub, Sonic Youth & The Flaming Lips. The Veronicas, Five Finger Death Punch and Gogol Bordello, among other compelling acts appearing strewn across far-flung stages, would have to be sacrificed for the greater good.

It’s possible I may be being overly harsh but Tame Impala sounds like a really lame Sterolab, which I suppose is better than a shitty Keane, who are pretty shitty, so kudos for that. After a refreshing slam of the head against the concrete and the first of quite a few contraband whiskeys, The Temper Trap came on and actually reclaimed some of the pride they lost when they chose that name, solely by the intensity of their live set, though the guitarist has to get a new move because Girltalk already has the one-leg-hop-fist-pump trademarked. Though the Vaselines entered to a subdued midday crowd, their three guitar strong call and response post punk ditties soon got the audience ready for the three other 20+ year old bands on tap. Power pop progenitors Teenage Fanclub, who despite putting out nothing but strong albums since the early 90s, always sound better live. So good in fact I decided to kick up my heels with the other flashbackers in the back with a drink, almost tasting that special blend of tea I drank one night in the mid-90s while locked in a room with only Bandwagonesque and an iguana named Ray. Great. Album.

For the third day running the pounding rain outside the cattle-pen-esque warehouse quartered into “stages” and separated by the same movable walls you had in your elementary school when the budget was slashed made it an easy choice between Ne-yo at the Chiba Marines Stadium and Sonic Youth alongside another two boilermakers where I stood. Since the addition of ex-Pavement bassist Mark Ibold has freed up Kim Gordon to occasionally double him on bass, pick up a guitar or just jump her ass off in her silver go-go girl skirt, the quintet has found an even happier equilibrium- if that can be believed- between their straightforward punk and their trademark harmonic dissonance, which is the balance the band struck amazingly well throughout their eleven-song set. Performed in a dueling banjo-like fashion with Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore cross-riffing with Gordon and Ibold to Steve Shelley’s constant beat in time to the positively and negatively charged ions making their own beautiful clash of sound skyward pouring down and dredging up on their closer “Death Valley ‘69”, quenching the thirst of the sonically deprived audience. Hands raised to toward the heavens- Hallelujah.

Why Summer Sonic Sucks

I went to Summer Sonic and all I got was stranded in the rain

There is always a certain point when even the most die-hard sexual participant (or in this case concert-goer) recognizes that all-too-familiar lower backache and the tired, cramping legs which inevitably come in between overlong bouts (waiting between sets…) and with unstimulating partners (…for shitty bands). Yet seeing as how the Flaming Lips began their ninety-minute show (long by S.S. standards) by emerging from a video projection of a psychedelic vagina in close-up shooting day-glo sparks, I would doubt the Oklahoma City denizens have ever had problems with either, not that I would know in the latter, but I do have to admit that the adrenalin pumping through my veins when they started in with “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” as Wayne Coyne rolled overhead in his plastic bubble certainly eased two days of concrete stupor. After which Coyne, perpetually decked out in his natty godfather of rock threads, urged everyone to, “C’mon Motherfuckers!” before launching into Soft Bulletin classic “Waitin’ For A Superman”. Careening through less familiar Zaireeka and newer At War With The Mystics material (though oddly omitting the excellent Clouds Taste Metallic completely) the foursome of Lips- accompanied on stage by a bevy of frogs, bunnies and the random light saber guy- happened on more familiar ground with a stripped down Dylanesque revisioning of “The Fight” and “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1” in ethereal organic gospel beauty amid comments like, “Never thought we’d be playing at the same time as Beyonce…” as well as more bullhorn blared, “C’mon MFers!” That was when they almost destroyed their carefully crafted momentum by marching everyone through a somber “Taps” (as a simultaneous eulogy / protest song for the Iraq War) to only the second completely silent audience I’ve ever been in with minimum 1000 other people (Mogwai live at El Rey in LA. circa 1999). Their rather obvious closer, “Do You Realize??” punctuated by gong peals and confetti blasts- was preceded by heartfelt gratitude toward Summer Sonic (“We played the first Summer Sonic in 1999…I mean 2000!”) which perhaps clarified for me why western bands and local fans alike revere this celebration of commercialization and concrete.

It is often unfortunately taken for granted that due to the relative affluence of its large middle class, its rampant consumerism as well as acceptance of foreign medicines, technology and cultural values, that Japan is a western nation. This occasionally causes individuals to overreact to what are viewed through ethnocentric eyes as social peccadilloes, which is another essay altogether. Yet, in general, due to its relative comfort, high salaries and lack of laws pertaining to alcohol, it is often easy to forget that Japan is an island in the far east- the pacific gateway to Asia- and that being so located, the majority of North American and European artists popular on the tour circuit don’t necessarily have the means or resources to pull off an extended tour of Asia, or even a mini-tour of Japan. Flights, equipment costs, hotels number among many other obstacles facing touring artists, who often have to depend on their labels to fund trips due to local promoters offering bare bones remuneration to all but the biggest attractions. Sure, ticket prices are higher here, but so are all domestic charges, so bands rarely see an extra cut. Pedestalized (but not paid) as they are, what they do get is the best service in the western music-loving world. Delivery, translation and succinct efficiency have come to define Japan’s concert industry so much so as to guarantee Summer Sonic the hottest acts at the peak of the summer festival season. Though all this has come to actually guarantee both artists and fans only one thing- a single appearance (maybe two or three if you count Osaka and Nagoya) once every new album cycle or reunion tour grab for cash. Beyond saving the artists exorbitant travel expenses, logistical headaches and giving the Japanese fan what they crave in an otherwise dry international music scene Creativeman can pack as many people as possible into probably the worst venue that ever was. And sadly, boasting their Sex Pistols t-shirts and ripped jeans, these sardines willingly part with their hard earned cash.

Soylent Green is People! © Zebriography

Soylent Green is People! © Zebriography

The setup at Makuhari Messe is a fire hazard, pure and simple. As well as being ripe for a disaster, which I realized might be tap for Sunday’s 8pm headlining Lips’ set when a 7.1 earthquake set anxious feet prematurely to dance. Few paid any real attention to the temblor, despite the obvious risk to the thousands of avid fans crushing ever closer to the stage, as staffers packed them in like so many tuna in Tsukiji. Creativeman’s exit strategy looked woefully similar to Bush Jr.’s in Iraq until the Lips (Read as Obama) came in with musical advice to avert battle weary troops from further PTSD. Which is the reason the fans don’t mind the crowds, the lackluster sets, the high prices, the shite sound, the constant rules shouted through megaphones, all set in an acoustic nightmare of a wharehouse just made for corporate seminars: Music trumps all.

It’s specifically because of this- apart from the inherent and ignored danger (though that is kind of punk isn’t it?), the ubiquitous concrete and heavy-handed commercialism- Summer Sonic’s producers look to have at least a few more years of success left, what with the stature of the bands they can attract (what can’t massive ego-stroking accomplish when coupled with cold hard cash?) and the intelligent decision to have bikini-top clad cuties pouring drinks to cleavage-starved lads. It might surprise you to know, but among the other western amenities adopted by Japan, drinking milk for strong bones and lean bodies has had an increasingly positive effect on the female population. Now if only we could get Celine Dion to defect…

**Editor’s Note**

Apart from attempting to dictate the content of the article, Creativeman also was quite fascist about cameras, not allowing us any access other than what the rudimentary fan would get, thus maintaining the monopoly on imagery for their DVD sales and sponsored quid pro quo write-ups, hence the eclectic shot selection.

The opinions contained herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent HESO Magazine.

Fujirock Festival – Rebel Without A Raincoat

Japan’s Music Festival Mania

As any casual observer can tell, Japan is all about seasons and as the Japanese summer gets underway, there are a number of ways to not only survive the onset of the rainy season (and soon thereafter the typhoon season), but revel in it, most of them having to do with the sundry music festivals happening across the country from Hokkaidō to Okinawa. If you’re going to try to hit all thirteen of Japan’s major music festivals you are going to need fairly deep pockets (less so if you hitchhike), access to more than one boat and just about all summer to do it. So pack your ponchos and portable chopsticks, your sunglasses and mosquito coils and get your thumbs warmed up. It’s Go Time!

Fan faces at Fujirock (Manny Santiago)

Fan faces at Fujirock

6/12-13 Miyako-jima Rock Festival: Often Japanese festivals are distinguished more by setting than by the music, located amidst amazing natural surroundings, the forest and the mountains, the sun and the sea, allowing us an access to the stars at night Tokyo wouldn’t think of dimming its neon for, yet more often than not it is the Zen sense of ephemerality that tinges the Japanese Music Festival with unforgettable moments. So you won’t be too disappointed that this rock and dub based festival on Miyako-jima is already over. Rather, your excitement for this festival held on the tiny island of Miyako in the Okinawan archipelago in its fifth year will continue to grow as 2010 swings around. Don’t dwell on the past (nor the future) and head north young traveler.

Japan’s Music Festival Mania

Info: 2-day pass ¥7000 – Miyakojima, Okinawa
Miyako Festival

7/16-23 Total Solar Eclipse Festival 2009: An opportunity to see one of the longest solar eclipses (7/22) in your lifetime comes two days before Fuji Rock and in possibly one of the remotest locations in Japan, making travel to and from difficult. But dem’s da breaks when it comes to experiencing the only total solar eclipse you’ll probably ever see on a lost little tropical island in the east pacific with all the other young, gyrating creatures and their summertime inhibitions at an all-time-solar-eclipse low. Mostly DJs spinning wax all week long. Though it’s probably too late to get a hotel anywhere, book travel and make tent arrangements asap.

Info: 9-day Pass ¥30,000 ¥5000 campsite – Amami Island, Kagoshima
Amami Total Solar Eclipse Music Festival

You will walk a lot...especially in the rain...come prepared

You will walk a lot...especially in the rain...come prepared

7/19-20 Nano-Mugen Festival 2009

Hosted by Asian Kung-Fu Generation since 2003, Nano-Mugen is one of the year’s major rock festivals, finally garnering the likes of Yokohama Arena in 2005. Of course Yokohama Areana is convenient and within easy reach of Tokyo so, depending on how you look at it, this could be a good warmup just before Fujirock, or your last chance at meeting a yamanba that’s not actually a mountain spirit. Featuring Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Ben Folds, Manic Street Preachers, Nada Surf, Straightener, OGRE YOU ASSHOLE, SPITZ, Sakanacushion, and more.

Info: 2 1-day passes EACH ¥9,600 – Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Kanagawa
Nano-Mugen festival

7/24-27 Fuji Rock Festival

More than a month after the Miyako-jima Festival gave us a taste of pristine Okinawan beaches, some strong Awamori hangovers and a great variety of music, arguably the biggest-longest running festival rolls up her summer yukata to show a bit of backwoods leg. The Fuji Rock Festival being nowhere near the haunted forests of Mt. Fuji, but rather nestled in Mt. Naeba, a ski resort in Yuzawa, Niigata, a large rural prefecture located on the northwest shores of Japan (Yuzawa is the setting for Kawabata Yasunari’s classic Snow Country), which has been hosting the 3-day, 130,000 strong festival since Hidaka Masahiro started it in 1997. The morning fog, the inevitable rain and ensuing deluge, all add to the inescapably mesmerizing atmosphere of the self-styled “world’s cleanest festival”. Cleanliness aside, once the rain starts and clears and starts again, there will be plenty of mud and lots of space provided by stunned rubber-neckers should you opt to slip and slide in any of the eleven or so performance areas, so be sure to pack your slicker, a sturdy pair of shoes and extra beer money to treat all the people who pick your muddied person up (should you decide not to camp on an incline) hitchhiking to and from the isolated area. Featuring Franz Ferdinand, Paul Weller, Public Enemy, Brahman, Melvins, and Tortoise among innumerable others.

Info: 3-day pass ¥39,800 Camping ¥3,000/person Parking ¥3,000 – Naeba Ski Resort, Yuzawa, Niigata
Fujirock Festival

8/7-9 Summer Sonic: Little need be said about Summer Sonic. It’s a massive affair in every aspect, spanning three days of heatstroke inducing conditions in both Tokyo (the site says Tokyo, but it’s actually Chiba) and Osaka. Besides flaunting one its best lineups for its 10th anniversary, SS offers a maelstrom of interactive booths, exhibits, artworks, a movie and photo gallery, seaside village (depending on which venue), basically any kind of food you can imagine, oh, and lines…long ones. This being Japan bring plenty of cash, sunscreen, sunglasses, squirt guns, walkie talkies to find lost friends, anything to distract you from the improbable task of getting from Nine Inch Nails in time to see Mogwai. Cheer up though, if you can handle the crowds, maybe Beyonce will share her portable bootie fan with you backstage or the Flaming Lips will bounce giant water balloons through the crowd just as Lightning Strikes The Postman crescendoes.

Info: 3-day pass Tokyo- ¥39,500 – Chiba Marines Stadium & Makuhari Messe – Osaka ¥37,000 – Maishima Summer Sonic Osaka Site
Summersonic

8/8-9 Festa de Rama: The alternative to Summer Sonic’s massive commerciality, this demure festival offers a bit of everything for fans seeking a musical escape from the humidity of the mainland. Now in its fifth year, it’s slogan is a truism for the ages, “One good thing about music: when it hits you feel no pain.” While FdR- whose other mantra is “PEACE. MUSIC. LOVE. SUMMER. BEER.”- is technically in Hiroshima, it is actually in another world altogether. Set in Setoda Sunset Beach on Ikuchishima, one of many islands in the Seto Inland Sea between Hiroshima and Okayama, Festa de Rama has alternately kept a low profile among Japanese festivals while growing in abundant influence annually. A worthwhile trip, indeed.

Info: 2-day pass ¥9900/¥12,500 w/Campsite
Festa de Rama

8/8-9 Isla de Salsa: Come August Fukuoka is on the map with the largest Latin music festival in Japan, which is good news for all those who didn’t want to traverse the country during the high end of the tourist season for Summer Sonic. Stay at home, see a ballgame (the festival site is right next to Yahoo Dome where the Hawks play) and then head to the beach for some salsa, some grinding and what is described as “Borderless music, borderless mind” in its 13th year. Don’t forget your bikini. ¡Qué bueno! Vamos…

Info: 2-day pass ¥8800 – Momochi Beach, Fukuoka
Isla de Salsa

Over 2-3 days...gotta sleep sometime

Over 2-3 days...gotta sleep sometime

8/9 World Happiness 2009: So far as I can tell the only summer festival actually in Tokyo proper, World Happiness is, aptly enough, being held at Dream Island Park. If Gautama Buddha were here today (shhh…he is) he might suggest that this dreamy (manmade) island park would be the perfect place to catch some oneness with any of the number of artists appearing at the show with names like Love Psychedelico, Granola Boys, The Dub Flower or Moon Riders. The final performance is done around 8pm which means clocking in at roughly 8-9 hours this will be the pound for pound most expensive “festival” all summer. At least early has the benefit of allowing plenty of time to get back to reality for a drink before the last train home.

Info: 1-day pass ¥8500 or ¥9000 w/ 1 kid – Yumenoshimakoen, Koto-ku, Tokyo
World Happiness

8/14-15 Rising Sun Rock Festival in Ezo: Like anything in a country as collectively uniform as Japan, one must search a bit harder to find distinction, but once you do watch out someone doesn’t lose an eye or go out of their way to find yours and pick it up for you. The Rising Sun Rock Festival in Ezo, barely taking the prize for the northernmost festival in Japan (just beating out Teine Highland), is described as an “handmade, outdoor event,” but if the name “Ezo” gives any indication, this festival is its own little world. Ezo is the ancient name of Hokkaidō and was at one point (1868-69) a separate republic from Imperial Japan. Festival frequenter J. Hadfield attended last year’s event and called it “a two-day extravaganza where goodwill is taken to occasionally ridiculous extremes.” That’s old Ezo, where people smile and high-five, the winter comes early (dress warm for cool nights) and the music doesn’t stop until the sun rises.

Info: 2-day pass ¥21,000 w/campsite – Ishikari New Port, Otaru, Hokkaido
Rising Sun

8/29 Wire Music Festival: Started in 1999 The Wire is an all-night Techno Fest featuring more talented European (largely German) and Japanese DJs than anyone would even think about shaking a glow stick at. Not to fear, with a handful of live acts and a few VJs to round the evening, the Wire should prove to stick around at least another ten years. Located just a few minutes walk from Shin-Yokohama station this may very well be the most conveniently located festival in Japan, so why not hit it up for kicks?

Info: Advance ticket ¥11,550 – Yokohama Arena
Wire Festival

8/29-30 Sapporo Teine Highland All-Night Music & Art Camp: If you listen to talk on the festival circuit there is quite a bit of mystery surrounding what actually transpires at Teine Highland All-Night Music & Art Camp. Situated in the Teine Ski Resort, the website “about” section makes reference to a lot of “magical” this and that, dropping adjectives like “moving”, “unique”, and “living” alongside nouns the likes of “nature”, “forest” and “hope”. What do we get for our hard-earned yen besides hippy allegory? Apparently a tent space (which despite it’s “all-night” boast, might actually come in handy), possibly a bike (what is a natural bicycle?), lots of art (40 or so works / installations) and over 80 musical acts (50-50 DJ-Live). Is that worth the trek? If you have never been to Hokkaido before, that alone necessitates the journey, and likely the most “natural” festival experience you’ll experience anywhere let alone in Japan.

Info: Natural Bicycle & Magical Campsite ¥7,500 – Sapporo Teine Ski Resort
Magic Camp

9/4-6 Sunset Live: Sunset Live takes the prize for longest running music festival in Japan, going on its 17th summer out at Keya Beach on the immaculate Maebaru peninsula just an hour south of Tenjin in Fukuoka. Surrounded by mountains and the ocean the ongoing mantra is “Love & Unity”, which should ward off any stray Yakuza if the granola and hackey sack doesn’t work. If you’ve seen Sonatine you know it could take a lot of sand to do that. Crossover artist Gilles Peterson, instrumentalist extraordinaires Special Others, and Fukuoka’s own Zazen Boys headline this laidback event on three stages.

Info: 3-day ¥16,300 – Keya Beach, Fukuoka
Sunset Live

If you happen to be in town all summer, you’ll notice that the beaches have mysteriously become vacant some September. While the new school year and the jellyfish migration may have this effect on the majority of the population, there’s no reason for your hitchhiking adventure to end because of a little sting in the water. Keep on trucking! Though if you’ve made it this far you may be having a touch choice to make come the first weekend in September when the Metamorphose and Otodama Festivals both compete for your musical yen.

9/5 Metamorphose: Originating on Mt. Fuji, this all-night festival will showcase about 30 – 40 eclectic international and Japanese artists on three different stages just outside of Tokyo’s megalopolis in Shizuoka. So while you’re in the area, why not head on down to the Izu peninsula to close up the summer festival season in style, get yourself in a hot spring, and try to recreate Hokusai’s majestic view of Fuji through The Wave? It’s definitely one of the better places Japan has to offer. Featuring Prefuse 73, Afrika Bambaataa, Richie Hawtin, Tangerine Dream.

Info: Advance ticket of ¥11,500, parking ticket of ¥2000, tent ticket of ¥2500 are available from 7/1 – Cycle Sports Center in Shizuoka
Metamorphoses Festival

9/5 Otodama: Otodama, meaning the “Spirit of the Sound” is the official festival of Shimizu Onsen, or vice versa. It’s unclear from the website. As is much about the festival altogether, except that there will likely be guitars, amps, meat on sticks and lots of beer, which could all be good enough reasons to trek into the heart of Osaka’s harbor area. Though not exactly the forbidding place it must have been during the samurai’s reign there could be some action. After all Osaka can be seen as the tough and cool little brother to Tokyo’s buttondown sterility. Even Osakan salaryman walk and talk fast. You never know what great bands or trouble (or both) you might find.

Info: 1-day ¥6500 – Itsumiotsu-Phoenix in Osaka
Otodama

Taicoclub’09 Kawasaki: This all-night festival in Kawasaki Higashi Ogishima Park will close out the summer festival circuit in Japan with what looks to be a promising lineup, featuring Múm, British electronic duo Plaid, Isolée, and techno DJ Carl Craig. All the way the future in mid-September away, the staff probably figures they have time to work on the website, you know, providing maps and prices and other small details like that. A big suggestion to all festival websites that don’t already have them: English versions will increase sales! Annoying but true. Let’s rock, trance, jazz and samba out on islands (manmade or natural), in the mountains (ski resorts and golf courses), on the docks or in seaside big parks (like where the Taicoclub will be held in Kawasaki- whose lead-in description begins “the park will serve as a staging ground for foreign aid and staff in the event of a major earthquake disaster in the Tokyo metropolitan area), better than before and do it together.

Info: 2-day ¥? – Kawasaki Higashi Ogishima Park, Kanagawa
Otodama

To see a bit more what kind of hot water you may be getting yourself into, check out the plotted trip map below.

View Japan Music Festival Mania in a larger map

*Big thanks to Madman Hadfield for providing many of the above links.

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