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Record attendance marks Summer Sonic’s 20th year

Creativeman’s Summer Sonic overtook Smash Corp-promoted Fuji Rock to become Japan’s biggest outdoor music festival this year, welcoming 135,000 visitors over three days to its twin sites in Osaka and Tokyo.

Taking place from 16 to 18 August, Creativeman debuted a new three-day format, in celebration of the festival’s 20th anniversary. The pop- and rock- focused line-up featured the Red Hit Chili Peppers, Babymetal, the Chainsmokers, Fall Out Boy, the 1975, Blackpink and Japanese rock bands Sakanaction and B’z.

All tickets sold out for the Tokyo-based side of the event, held at the adjoining Zozo Marine Stadium and Makuhari Messe exhibition hall. The Osaka leg of the festival, which took place at the Maishima Sonic Park, shifted all Friday tickets and weekend passes.

Speaking to IQ ahead of the event, Creativeman director Sebastian Mair said one festival day sold out three months before the festival started. “I don’t think we have ever had a day that has sold out that early,” Mair told IQ.

“[Japanese festivals] are safe and peaceful, and people are there for the music as opposed to anything else”

Just like fellow Japanese rock festival Fuji Rock, Summer Sonic suffered from adverse weather, with Typhoon Krosa causing the cancellation of performances on Tokyo’s beach stage on Friday.

Summer Sonic will take a one-year break in 2020 to accommodate the Tokyo Olympics.

The Japanese festival scene has become fairly saturated in recent years, with international brands such as Ultra, Electric Daisy Carnival, Download and Ozzfest setting up shop in the country.

Mair comments that the festival market remains “stable”, saying that international managers and agents are “always astounded by how well they [Japanese festivals] work”.

“They are safe and peaceful, and people are there for the music as opposed to anything else,” Mair told IQ.

Read more about the “booming” Japanese live scene in IQ’s country feature below.

Land of the rise in fun: Why booming Japan is such a tough market to crack

 


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Fuji Rock to move dates after successful 2019

Smash Corp.’s Fuji Rock, Japan’s largest outdoor music festival, will next year move to August from its traditional last-weekend-of-July dates, to accomodate the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympic games (24 July–9 August 2020).

The 2019 edition of Fuji Rock – with Creativeman’s Summer Sonic one of Japan’s two marquee rock festivals – took place from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 July, welcoming a total of 130,000 people (5,000 more than last year) for its 23rd event, held at the Naeba ski resort in Yuzawa, in central Japan.

Despite more challenging conditions – for the second year in a row, programming was disrupted by a tropical storm (dubbed, with typical Japanese understatement, ‘Typhoon #6’) – Fuji Rock “finished all three days with cooperation and understanding from the audience”, according to organisers.

Some 15,000 people attended Thursday night’s free opening party, with capacity crowds of 40,000 on Friday and Saturday, and 35,000 on Sunday. Headliners were the Cure, the Chemical Brothers and Sia, with other performers including Thom Yorke, James Blake, Janelle Monáe and Martin Garrix.

Fuji Rock 2020 will be held on Friday 21, Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 August, after the Olympics. Summer Sonic 2020, which would have taken place in Tokyo and Osaka, has been cancelled altogether.

 


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