Eric van Eerdenburg says the Mojo-promoted festival is reckoning with the financial impact of two Covid-related cancellations
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"We are determined to bring back the live industry in Japan to the same standard as the rest of the world," says the international promoter
By IQ on 06 Sep 2022
Creativeman’s Layli Odamura has spoken to IQ about the challenges of being an international promoter in Japan, amid some of the strictest Covid-19 measures in the world.
Last month, the leading promoter held its marquee international festival, Summer Sonic, in Tokyo and Osaka for the first time since 2019.
Though the events in both cities sold out and were deemed a “great success,” the festival was unable to return to its full glory due to ongoing and prohibitive Covid-19 restrictions.
Event capacities were reduced (Tokyo to 55,000 and Osaka to 30,000) and both artists and fans had to adhere to a number of requirements in order to attend the annual events.
International artists were required to present proof of a negative result from a pre-departure PCR test, submit personal information including vaccination history and sign a written oath in order to perform.
Of the 100 acts that appeared at Summer Sonic 2022, 40% were international – which Odamura says is “a lot less than in previous years as we are cautiously working within pandemic travel restrictions”.
Despite the stringent measures, 110,000 tickets sold for Tokyo and 60,000 tickets sold for Osaka across the two days
The 1975, Post Malone, Megan Thee Stallion, St Vincent and Carly Rae Jepsen were among the overseas artists that performed across the six stages in Tokyo and four in Osaka.
Attendees, meanwhile, had to undergo a temperature check upon entry, wear a face covering, maintain social distancing and be silent in the audience.
Despite the stringent measures, 110,000 tickets sold for Tokyo and 60,000 tickets sold for Osaka across the two days. A further 20,000 tickets were sold for Sonicmania, which is an all-night festival that ushers in Summer Sonic.
“The challenge for us as an international promoter was striving to bring the festival back to a fully recovered state just as the rest of the world already has, while still abiding by the domestic restrictions given,” says Odamura.
“We made it work though, like we always do, and we are thankful to those artists who have supported us by keeping within the given restrictions, while not compromising their incredible shows.
“And, thanks to the fans who have been eagerly and patiently waiting for the return of large-scale international festivals, Summer Sonic this year was a great success and this definitely was a big step towards financial recovery for us.”
“Summer Sonic this year was a great success and this definitely was a big step towards financial recovery for us”
With Japan’s government starting to roll back restrictions, the live industry is finally on the road to recovery – though Odamura says it may be a while before consumers regain their confidence.
“While we had a fully sold-out festival, in Japan the general public is incredibly cautious,” explains Odamura. “We are a diligent group of people and tend to stick to rules and in the hope of keeping the spread of the virus to a minimum – a lot of people are restraining themselves from going out and will carry on wearing masks as a personal choice.
“Even some who will come to shows will suppress cheering or even enjoy the show fully, somewhat holding themselves back. This may continue until Covid is beaten globally which will then impact Japan to relax more.
“Regardless, we at Creativeman are determined to bring back the live industry in Japan to the same standard as the rest of the world.”
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