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LGBTIQ+ List 2023: Ippei Kimura, Creativeman

The LGBTIQ+ List 2023 – IQ Magazine’s third annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.

The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s third Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Check out yesterday’s profile with Kane Kete, client development manager for major events, promoters & music venues at Ticketmaster in Melbourne, Australia.

The series continues with Ippei Kimura (he/him/his), booking/marketing/tour manager at Creativeman Productions in Tokyo, Japan.

Born and raised in the big city of Tokyo, Ippei’s younger days were spent working in restaurants, with most nights spent at clubs, where he made a lot of connections. He started working in the live music industry at Creativeman in 2010, where he has booked the tours of many international pop acts in Japan, as well as tours for Japanese acts overseas.

Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2023 so far.
I have a few… starting with the successful tour of Rina Sawayama in January, which was something I am very proud of. I was touched to see not only her music but also her message make a huge impact on younger generations of all genders.

I also toured a few cities in the US, Europe, and the UK with Japanese popstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and was happy to see people enjoying her kawaii (cute in Japanese) pink pop world. I am very thankful that lots of the queer crowd showed up to give unconditional support to her. And I just booked the tour of my new favourite act for next year! Can’t tell you who yet!

Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
Just one?! Okay… I am excited that Sam Smith is coming to Japan this October. I’m very curious how Japanese people will react to their new openly queer proud looks in the show.

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Respect others if you want to have them respect you. Working in the music live industry is all about teamwork! You cannot do it all by yourself. I was very lucky to have people respect who I am, so I want to do the same. I guess this goes for all genders in all types of work. And work hard and play hard! Don’t ever forget to have fun! You might find new work ideas.

“Manpower shortage is a serious issue in the live music industry in Japan these days”

What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
I am making mistakes every day… Very hard to track what I have done but I try not to make the same mistakes no more than three times!

In terms of challenges in the industry, what’s currently keeping you up at night?
Manpower shortage is a serious issue in the live music industry in Japan these days, especially in the production department. We have to be very careful not to book the big tours in the same time period. So young queer friends in Japan… you have a lot of chances here to work in this exciting world!

How do you see the live music business developing in the next few years?
Japan is a very undeveloped country for gender matters generally. Especially for LGBTIQ rights. The live music industry here is still very much a man’s world. But these days, I am happy and excited to see many young ladies working very hard in many sections/departments.

Unfortunately, I’m still rarely meeting out queer people in the industry. I am hoping the industry will become an environment where people can feel comfortable being true to who they are at work, so we can have more young queer folks who enjoy working together. You know, us queer people sometimes bring some good ideas along that turn the whole world upside down. I feel our industry might have the chance to lead the way with gender balance in the country!

“Members of the audience told me that it was their first time seeing real-live drag queens”

Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
Giving equitable chances to any gender acts at festivals is very important. The majority of rock festival lineups are still male performers. Every summer, we run one of the biggest music festivals in Japan called Summer Sonic. We are very proud that we have female headliners in our history, such as Beyoncé back in 2009 and Rihanna in 2012, and I am very much looking forward to seeing more names in the near future.

At Summer Sonic, we also have a very unique stage event called SummerSoNichome. We bring the fun and excitement of a queer club atmosphere to the rock/pop festival with wonderful Japanese drag queens, go-go boys, dancers, and DJs. We have been doing this for more than ten years now, and it has become very popular at the festival.

Members of the audience told me that it was their first time seeing real-live drag queens and that they loved dancing with the queens. A few weeks later, I bumped into them at gay clubs! How exciting is that! It was unique and rare to have something like this on the Japanese festival scene, and I am very proud to be the pioneer of this.

Shout out your biggest ally in the live music industry.
Everybody at our office! Without their help, I am not here right now for sure!

Shout out any LGBTIQ+ cause(s) you support.
In Japan, we still have a very long way to go to get equality rights. I am very thankful to everybody who keeps fighting for it. Thank you!


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Bring Me The Horizon announce festival in Japan

British rock band Bring Me The Horizon have announced their own one-day festival in Japan later this year.

The event, titled Nex_Fest, is touted as “a one-of-a-kind festival directed by the band, from the line-up to the artwork”.

Bring Me The Horizon will headline the festival, with support from Japanese bands Maximum The Hormone, Yoasobi, Paledusk, CVLTE, HANABIE., VMO aka Violent Magic Orchestra and Kruelty.

Produced by the country’s leading international promoter Creativeman Productions, Nex_Fest is slated for 3 November at Tokyo convention centre Makuhari Messeon.

Nex_Fest is touted as “a one-of-a-kind festival directed by the band, from the line-up to the artwork”

The festival will conclude the band’s run of shows in Japan, which includes stops in Osaka and Nagoya with support from Babymetal, Yungblud and I Prevail.

The outing is in support of the band’s forthcoming album POST HUMAN: NeX GEn, due on 15 September.

It’s the second time the band has curated a festival, after curating a four-day event in Malta with the now-collapsed UK-based music, travel and experiences start-up Pollen.

Nex_Fest is the latest addition to an increasing trend of artist-curated festivals, which includes Jawbreaker’s 1234FEST, J.Cole’s Dreamville, Tyler the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw CarnivalSmashing Pumpkins’ The World Is A Vampire, Travis Scott’s Astroworld, Pharrell Williams’ Something In The Water and Meltdown festival.


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