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Creativeman on Summer Sonic’s triumphant sell-out

Creativeman’s Naoki Shimizu and Layli Odamura have spoken to IQ about how they’ve triumphed over a myriad of challenges in the Japanese industry to sell out Summer Sonic 2024.

The flagship festival will return to its longstanding locations, Tokyo’s Zozomarine Stadium and and Osaka’s Maishima Sonic Park, between 17 and 18 August.

Bring Me The Horizon, Måneskin, Christina Aguilera, Greta Van Fleet, Major Lazer, Lil Yachty, Belle & Sebastien, Bleachers, Madison Beer, Oliva Dean, PinkPantheress and more are due to perform at the twin events.

Here, the Creativeman executives tell IQ how this year’s festival has prospered over the headliner drought, the weak yen, rising costs and extreme weather…

How are the Summer Sonic dates in Tokyo and Osaka selling?
Naoki Shimizu (NS): We’ve sold out Tokyo and Osaka, which comes to 220,000 tickets. If Sonicmania on Friday sells out at 30,000, that would come to 250,000 total.

Summer Sonic 2024 is headlined by Maneskin and Bring Me The Horizon, two bands that haven’t yet headlined many festivals. What’s your thinking behind that decision?
NS: In the past, these two bands have played in Japan at Summer Sonic, headline tours etc which were all very successful due to their strength locally. This year many festivals across the world struggled to book headliners but for I believe in developing and growing artists into headliners and these two artists are prime example of this.

Layli Odamura (LO): After the pandemic had gradually calmed down, we have been lucky to have many incredible artists committed to play in Japan at the return of Summer Sonic in 2022. The fans were so ready and hungry for it and this included a new generation of them.

Maneskin’s first-ever show in Japan was at that Summer Sonic in 2022 and it was an instant, magnetic love, perfect match for Japanese audience to feel connected. Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) had cleverly built their career and fan base in Japan gradually to the level where they even held their own festival called NEX_FEST in Tokyo, which sold out at approximately 20,000 people. This is a big achievement for this genre of artist as it has never been done before here and all due to BMTH’s exquisite artistry.

“Many festivals across the world struggled to book headliners but for I believe in developing and growing artists”

How have fans responded to these choices?
NS: Very well. The majority of our audience were seeking for a fresh act to be chosen, and a rock band in particular. One of the factors would be due to Summer Sonic audience becoming younger post pandemic.

What kind of impact is the weak yen having on booking, especially when it comes to big international artists?
NS: This is a big damage. The countermeasure we have put in place to survive the weak yen is to decrease the number of offers to those artists requiring fees in USD$ or GBP£, while increasing domestic and Asian artists to play instead. And this has proved that the festival can sell out even without the appearance of expensive acts.

LO: With the current exchange rate, as you can imagine we are paying approx. x1.6 or even more than a few years ago. This is a big problem because even when we are technically paying more in yen, from artist’s point of view in USD, the fee is still low.
Also touring costs overall such as airfare, freight, production costs etc has increased globally in the recent years so this is a double knockout situation for us.

Does this mean future lineups won’t be so Anglo-centric?
NS: I will stick to international music at the forefront. In Japan there are countless number of festivals with just domestic artists and K-pop. If that differentiation from these festivals disappears, the uniqueness and individuality will be lost. This year at Summer Sonic there are approximately 40 international artists and this ratio feels right.

“To survive the weak yen, [we have to] decrease the number of offers to those artists requiring fees in USD$ or GBP£”

There’s a trend of Asian festivals linking up and making offers together, are you doing this with your stable of festivals?
NS: Summer Sonic Bangkok starting this year is an example of this. I do hope to broaden to wider Asian territories and make offers together in the future.

LO: Summer Sonic brand has a strong presence in Asia so that always helps for us to connect with other Asian festival promoters too.

Are there upsides to the weak yen? Does it mean more tourists are visiting your festivals?
NS: Disadvantage is much bigger. However yes, inbound tourists attendance have increased and likely to reach to about 10%. If we broaden the sales network wider in the future then we could even reach to about 25% .

LO: Recent inbound tourism has strongly impacted Japan’s economy. Recently I have read a report that inbound travellers spent Y1.8 trillion in the first three months of 2024 in Japan, which is the highest figure on record. At our festivals and shows too we definitely see a lot more attendees from abroad, and are also noticing that shows such as overseas comedy acts etc are now not only promoted but sell well. This is a fairly new phenomenon because these shows are all in English, but it seems to be working as demand is there by increase of inbound tourists, ex-pats and those locals who returned from living abroad.

How much are prices rising in Japan, for things like infrastructure, artist fees, staffing etc?
NS: They have increased by about 120-150%. Aside from increasing the ticket price, it would become necessary to consider various strategies to cut down the costs such as decreasing the number of acts, number of stages etc.

“Prices in Japan have increased by about 120-150%”

Extreme heat is becoming a major challenge for summer festivals in Japan. How are you planning to mitigate that for your attendees?
NS: The Japanese summer is becoming increasing hot so for those areas such as merchandise, lockers etc where a long line is expected, we have now expanded indoor facilities to a even bigger capacity. Water supply area and first aid/medical areas have been expanded too.

Are you able to attract new and young audiences to your festivals?
NS: The well balanced line-up between the Western acts, domestic acts and Asian acts have attracted new and younger audiences. Research showed that in 2022 after the pandemic, 75% of the audience that year were attending Summer Sonic for the first time ever.

Creativeman organises a number of genre-specific festivals, how do they sell compare to your more eclectic events?
NS: When a festival is genre-specific, overall capacity does decrease compared to Summer Sonic but they still do have strong attendance. In addition to Summer Sonic and Sonicmania, Creativeman also holds multiple international music festivals such as GMO Sonic, Punkspring, Loudpark, Green Room, Blue Note Jazz, Coke Studio, Rockin’ On Sonic etc, and we are very proud to be the promoter most passionate about spreading International and Western music culture which we put so much effort in building, maintaining and strengthening locally.

LO: Creativeman is a pioneer in presenting genre-specific festivals. Our first one was nearly 20 years ago now. We do move fluidly based on demand so although some are long-running, each time gives out a freshness about it with dynamic tweaks and changes to it. Japanese fans are committed to their artists so in that sense a genre-specific festival does work well and is a great platform for many bands to gain new fanbase.

 


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Summer Sonic details Bangkok debut

Summer Sonic has announced the lineup for its inaugural Bangkok edition, announced earlier this year.

The Creativeman-promoted festival will be headlined by US acts One Republic and Lauv, with support from other international acts including Laufey, Aurora, Suede and Nothing But Thieves.

Yoasobi, Bodyslam, Zico, Bright, Boynextdoor, Lovejoy, Travis Japan, Phum Viphurit, Psychic Fever, Getsunova, Henry Moodie, Violette Wautier, Tomikita and Sarukani are also slated to perform at the debut.

Summer Sonic Bangkok will take place in Thailand’s capital between 24 and 25 August at the Impact Arena (cap. 12,000) in Muang Thong Thani.

The last edition of Summer Sonic that took place outside of Japan was Summer Sonic Shanghai in 2017

Ticket prices range from 3,500 (€89) to 11,000 (€278) for a one-day pass, and 6,500 (€164) to 20,000 (€506) for two-day entry.

The last edition of Summer Sonic that took place outside of Japan was Summer Sonic Shanghai in 2017. It featured a line-up headlined by Luna Sea, followed by The Kooks, Placebo, Nothing But Thieves, Sum 41, Travis, The Fratellis, and more.

The flagship event will return to its longstanding locations in Tokyo and Osaka between 17 and 18 August 2024 – both of which are sold out.

Bring Me The Horizon, Christina Aguilera, Måneskin, Greta Van Fleet, Major Lazer, Lil Yachty, Belle & Sebastien, Bleachers, Madison Beer, Oliva Dean, PinkPantheress and more are due to perform at the twin events.

 


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Festivals ’24: Lollapalooza, Afro Nation, Summer Sonic Bangkok

A variety of festivals have announced their 2024 lineups, including Lollapalooza, Afro Nation Detroit, Summer Sonic Bangkok, and Festival D’été de Québec, with other festivals adding names as the summer months draw near.

Lollapalooza has announced the complete lineup for its US edition, with SZA, Blink-182, and Tyler, the Creator set to lead the bill. The C3 Presents-backed programme will also see the likes of Hozier, Stray Kids, Future x Metro Boomin, Melanie Martinez, and Skrillex at Chicago’s Grant Park from 1-4 August.

Live Nation’s Afro Nation is set to return to Detroit, Michigan, with Rema, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Adekunle Gold, Ayra Starr, and Kash Doll leading the bill. The Afrobeats festival, which has several international editions, will host its second US edition from 17-18 August.

Canada’s Festival D’été de Québec, which will run from 4-14 July, is set to host Post Malone, J Balvin, Mötley Crüe, Nas, Jonas Brothers, along with The Offspring, Zac Brown Band, 50 Cent, Killer Mike, and Nickelback. The 103,000-capacity, 11-day festival will be held across five stages in the heart of Quebec City.

Summer Sonic has announced the first batch of artists for the inaugural Bangkok edition of the Japan-based festival, to be held 24-25 August at IMPACT Arena. Lauv, Yoasobi, Aurora, and Bodyslam lead the lineup, with Nothing But Thieves, Bright, Henry Moodie, and V Violette filling out the first batch.

US festival Broccoli City will return to Washington D.C., led by Megan Thee Stallion, Gunna, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Victoria Monét, Kaytranada, and Sexyy Red. The 27-28 July event will be held at Audi Field Stadium, a new venue for the hip-hop festival.

“There’s a huge variety of entertainment on offer this year”

Pitchfork Music Festival, set for Chicago’s Union Park from 19-21 July, will see Alanis Morissette, Black Pumas, and Jamie xx headline. Jai Paul, 100 gecs, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessie Ware, Brittany Howard, and MUNA are also set to perform at the 60,000-capacity event.

The UK’s Manchester Pride Festival will welcome Jessie J and Eurovision winner Loreen to its Gay Village Party, set for 23-26 August. They’ll join Katy B, Louis III, Chinchilla, and Natasha Hamilton, along with drag stars Bimini, Ginger Johnson, Danny Beard, and Black Peppa.

“There’s a huge variety of entertainment on offer this year; a host of classic Pride favourites, emerging artists, drag royalty and well-known performers spanning a whole range of genres,” said CEO Mark Fletcher.

“What’s most important is the representation and visibility of the further marginalised LGBTQ+ people.”

Three-time Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce’s Kelce Jam is set to return to Kansas City on 18 May. The one-day lineup features Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, and Diplo, along with Irie and E-V, with the second-annual event to be live-streamed worldwide.

A variety of performers are being added to festival lineups around the world as programmes fill up.

BST Hyde Park has completed its programme, with Stevie Nicks, SZA, Morgan Wallen, and Kings of Leon joining previously announced Shania Twain, Kylie Minogue, Andrea Bocelli, Robbie Williams, and Stray Kids. The London series kicks off on 29 June and runs through 14 July.

Festival brands are continuing to expand worldwide with new editions

The Netherlands’ North Sea Jazz Festival has added Arooj Aftab, Obongjayer, Butcher Brown, and Charles Lloyd to its 12-14 July programme. They’ll join Sting, Raye, Corinne Bailey Rae, Brittany Howard, Black Pumas, and Benjamin Clementine at Rotterdam Ahoy.

Norway’s Sideways Festival have added Royel Otis, Eevil Stöö, and DJs from local bar Erottaja. They join Jungle, Peggy Gou, Fontaines D.C., Bat For Lashes, and Ladytron on the lineup for the 13-15 June event at Karri Koira Aino Areena in Helsinki.

Michael Kiwanuka, The Blaze, Soulwax’s DJ offshoot 2manydjs, and Jayda G have joined Spain’s Mallorca Live Festival, to be headlined by Blondie, Underworld, and Pet Shop Boys. The island festival is set for 13-15 June.

Additionally, festival brands are continuing to expand worldwide with new editions in different markets.

K-pop festival series Waterbomb Festival has announced its expansion, with new editions set for Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City and Dubai in 2024. The festival series, featuring Zico, Jay Park, and Simon Dominic, will also return to Bangkok for its second year, along with a handful of stops in South Korea and Japan.

Louis Tomlinson’s Away From Home Festival is set to return for its fourth edition, this time in Mérida, Mexico on 8 June. The one-day event, which has previously been held in the UK, Spain, and Italy, has not yet released its lineup.

 


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Thailand imports another international festival brand

Thailand is set to import a second international festival brand after securing a deal with Belgium’s Tomorrowland.

The renowned EDM event will plant its flag in the Southeast Asian country in 2026 and may take place for another nine consecutive editions, according to the Thai government.

The news comes shortly after Japan’s Summer Sonic announced a new edition in Bangkok, taking place on 24 and 25 August at the Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani.

The first wave of artists for the festival, revealed today, comprises Lauv, Yoasobi, Laufey, Aurora, Bodyslam, Baby Metal, F.Hero, Nothing But Thieves, Bright, Henry Moodie and V Violette.

The Thai government recently revealed ambitions to become a ‘strong hub’ for international concerts and festivals, in a bid to increase event-driven tourism.

Prime minister Srettha Thavisin said he has taken inspiration from Singapore’s reported exclusivity deal with Taylor Swift to make the island nation her only Eras tour stop in Southeast Asia.

Rnowned EDM event Tomorrowland may take place in Thailand for 10 consecutive editions

Further details of Tomorrowland Thailand 2026 are yet to be announced. The festival, which is organised by We Are One World, sells 400,000 tickets for the last two weekends of July in Belgium.

Since its debut in 2005, Tomorrowland has hosted spin-off events such as TomorrowWorld in Atlanta, Tomorrowland in Brazil, and Tomorrowland Winter in France. The brand recently announced a new 10,000-capacity festival in Colombia, in collaboration with Breakfast Live.

Tickets for the 20th-anniversary edition of Tomorrowland’s flagship Belgian festival sold out in less than a day.

The electronic music extravaganza will welcome 400,000 ticket holders across two weekends to Boom, in the province of Antwerp, from 19-21 and 26-28 July.

More than 400 acts including Armin van Buuren, Amelie Lens, Bonobo B2B Dixon, David Guetta, ANNA, Vintage Culture, Tale Of Us, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Solomun B2B Four Tet and Swedish House Mafia will appear across 16 stages.

 


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Japan’s Summer Sonic to launch in Bangkok

Summer Sonic, one of Japan’s biggest international festivals, is expanding to Bangkok this year.

The Creativeman-promoted festival will land in Thailand’s capital between 24 and 25 August, taking place at the Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani.

“As another challenge in 2024, Summer Sonic will finally expand overseas,” wrote Creativeman CEO Naoki Shimizu on the festival’s website.

“Nowadays, overseas festivals are spreading to various regions and achieving success, and Korean artists are active all over the world, so we are starting Summer Sonic Bangkok as a way for Japan to connect with the world through music. We will aim for a more attractive and powerful lineup by booking great artists in both countries.”

The first wave of acts for Summer Sonic Bangkok will be announced around late January/early February, according to organisers.

The last edition of Summer Sonic that took place outside of Japan was Summer Sonic Shanghai in 2017. It featured a line-up headlined by Luna Sea, followed by The Kooks, Placebo, Nothing But Thieves, Sum 41, Travis, The Fratellis, and more.

“We are starting Summer Sonic Bangkok as a way for Japan to connect with the world through music”

In 2023, Summer Sonic festival took place in Tokyo’s Zozomarine Stadium and Makuhari Messe and Osaka’s Maishima Sonic Park between 19 and 20 August, and was headlined by Blur and Kendrick Lamar.

NewJeans, ENHYPHEN, Sunset Rollercoaster, Evanescence, Two Door Cinema Club, Wet Leg, The Kid LAROI and Maisie Peters were also on the bill.

Summer Sonic celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019, attracting a record 300,000 people across the two sites. The pandemic ensured the festival did not take place again until 2022, when international acts accounted for just 40% of its offering due to stringent pandemic travel restrictions, and the capacities of the twin sites were reduced.

The Japanese government announced a relaxation of its longstanding ban on cheering at concerts and sporting events at the start of 2023, along with a reclassification of Covid-19’s disease status.

However, Shimizu recently told IQ that the flagship event would continue its focus on Japanese acts amid a rise in domestic festival-goers.

Summer Sonic will return to its longstanding locations in Tokyo and Osaka between 17 and 18 August 2024.

 


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Japan’s Summer Sonic increases domestic focus

Creativeman president Naoki Shimizu says Japan’s Summer Sonic is reducing its reliance on international talent amid a rise in domestic festival-goers.

The sold-out  event will be held concurrently at Zozomarine Stadium and Makuhari Messe, Tokyo and Maishma Sonic Park, Osaka this weekend (19-20 August), headlined by Kendrick Lamar, Blur, The Strokes, Lizzo and Foo Fighters.

Other non-domestic acts on the bill include Fall Out Boy, Blur, Niall Horan, Thundercat, Two Door Cinema Club, Wet Leg, Honne, Pale Waves, Liam Gallagher and Evanescence, but Shimizu says the growing number of Asian visitors to the festival and the country itself is influencing a shift in direction.

“Summer Sonic is often said to be a festival centred on Western music, but the number of Asian acts is increasing year after year,” he tells the Japan Times.

After the event attracted a record 300,000 people across the two sites for its 20th anniversary edition in 2019, the pandemic ensured Summer Sonic did not take place again until 2022, when international acts accounted for just 40% of its offering due to stringent pandemic travel restrictions.

“The promoters have also become stronger, and we are ready for any other challenges ahead of us”

In addition, the festivals were reduced in capacity (Tokyo to 55,000 and Osaka to 30,000) and fans were subject to a number of restrictions. However, Shimizu reveals the planning for this year’s event was far more straightforward.

“Preparations have been pretty easy this year, compared to last year,” he says. “That’s what happens when you don’t have to install disinfectant stands or partitions. “Festival sponsors have also come back strong this year, after many avoided last year’s edition due to worries over criticism.”

The Japanese government only announced a relaxation of its longstanding ban on cheering at concerts and sporting events at the start of 2023, along with a reclassification of Covid-19’s disease status, but Shimizu says the market is now back to full strength.

“It’s recovered,” he says. “I think people have rediscovered the splendour of live music after being restricted from it over the past few years. But it’s back, and the numbers back that up. The promoters have also become stronger, and we are ready for any other challenges ahead of us.”

The Japanese government recently dialled back visa requirements, making it easier for foreign artists of varying success to visit the country. The changes were prompted by a recent boom in live music performances, according to Japan’s Immigration Services Agency (ISA).

The forthcoming issue of IQ, due out next week, will feature an in-depth look at the Japanese live music market.

 


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Japan festivals return to international-heavy lineups

Japan’s marquee international festivals are heralding a return to form with lineups featuring some of the world’s biggest stars.

Summer Sonic, set to be held concurrently in Tokyo and Osaka on 19 and 20 August, recently unveiled a bill headlined by Kendrick Lamar, Blur, The Strokes, Lizzo and Foo Fighters.

Other non-domestic acts on the bill include Fall Out Boy, Blur, Niall Horan, Thundercat, Two Door Cinema Club, Wet Leg, Honne, Pale Waves, Liam Gallagher and Evanescence.

Last year, international acts accounted for just 40% of Summer Sonic’s offering due to stringent pandemic travel restrictions.

In addition, the Creativeman-promoted festivals were reduced in capacity (Tokyo to 55,000 and Osaka to 30,000) and fans were subject to a number of restrictions.

Last year, international acts accounted for just 40% of Summer Sonic’s offering due to stringent pandemic travel restrictions

The Japanese government only recently announced a relaxation of its longstanding ban on cheering at concerts and sporting events, along with a reclassification of Covid-19’s disease status.

From 8 May, coronavirus will be downgraded from class Class 2 to Class 5 – the same tier as seasonal flu – in the country, with residents told to use their own judgement when it comes to mitigation measures, including mask-wearing.

Smash Corporation has also announced a bill heavy with international artists for the 2023 edition of Fuji Rock, set for 28–30 July 2023 at Naeba Ski Resort.

The Strokes, Foo Fighters, Lizzo, Lewis Capaldi, Weezer, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Denzel Curry, Romy, Dermott Kennedy, Alanis Morrisette and Black Midi are among the overseas acts booked to perform.

So far, the festival has not announced a single Japanese act – a far cry from 2021’s all-domestic bill – and, in a nod to the lifted cheering ban, Fuji Rock’s website assures festivalgoers that this year’s event will “make you shout out that you feel great!”.

 


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Creativeman on paving Japan’s road to recovery

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”

Odamura says Creativeman‘s financial recovery has also been helped along by the government-backed J-LODlive subsidy, as well as mid-pandemic spin-off event Super Sonic.

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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Creativeman: “We can see light at the end of the tunnel”

Japan’s leading promoter Creativeman says it is “seeing light at the end of the tunnel” as restrictions are gradually lifted.

The Japanese government recently announced plans to increase the cap on the number of people entering Japan from 3,500 to 5,000 per day starting in March.

In addition, the quarantine period for arrivals will be shortened from seven days to three from March, when the country opens to returning foreign residents (not tourists).

However, the quarantine requirement for international artists won’t be determined until next week, according to Japanese promoters’ association ACPC.

Regardless, Creativeman is bullish its marquee festival Summer Sonic will return to Tokyo and Osaka this summer for the first time since 2019 – international artists and all.

“We are confident Summer Sonic will happen this August,” says Creativeman’s Layli Odamura. “The reception at the announcement was so fantastic on every platform. Everyone is very eager and ready for it to happen and feel the heat.”

“We are confident Summer Sonic will happen this August”

The 1975 and Post Malone were recently announced as headliners of the festival, due to take place on 20–21 August simultaneously at Zozomarine Stadium & Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba, a suburb of Tokyo, and at the Maishima Sonic Park in Osaka.

Other international artists lined up for the event are Carly Rae Jepsen, Kasabian, The Libertines, Maneskin, Megan Thee Stallion, One OK Rock, The Offspring, Primal Scream, St. Vincent, Yungblud, All Time Low, Beabadoobee, Easy Life, Fishbone, Kacey Musgraves, Inhaler, Kula Shaker, Rina Sawayama, Squid and the Linda Lindas.

“More and more artists are reaching out and eager to visit or revisit Japan,” maintains Odamura. “We as a promoter are ready for the live market to return and we will continue to assess the situation with the government. There will be multiple headline shows happening towards the autumn onwards too.”

Despite Japan’s strict border controls and quarantine requirements during the past two years, Creativeman has had some success in bringing overseas artists to the country.

Last September, the promoter pulled off Japan’s first large-scale music event that included overseas artists since the pandemic began, Supersonic.

Zedd, Steve Aoki, Clean Bandit, Alan Walker and Aurora were among the overseas artists that performed at the two-day event at Zozomarine Stadium.

“More and more artists are reaching out and eager to visit or revisit Japan”

The festival was considered a test case for reopening Japan’s live industry to foreign acts and, a few months later, Creativeman promoted the first headline tour of an international artist in Japan in 18 months with King Crimson.

In another win for international promoters in Japan, a Creativeman-led alliance successfully lobbied the government to amend its compensation scheme to include domestic shows by foreign artists.

The International Promoters Alliance Japan, which was officially announced last year, includes Live Nation Japan, Udo Artists, Smash Corporation, Hayashi International Promotions and Kyodo Tokyo.

The consortium, completed by Avex Entertainment, Hanshin Contents Link/Billboard Japan, M&I Company and Promax, complements the work of existing music association ACPC, with which it shares members.

The consortium’s next goal is to ease the business visa restrictions for foreign artists to enter Japan with no quarantines, which Asia-based execs say is the biggest challenge facing the market.

 


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Creativeman: ‘Supersonic was a big step in Japan’s recovery’

Supersonic promoter Creativeman says the event was a ‘big step’ towards the resumption of festivals and concerts in Japan.

The festival was Japan’s first large-scale music event that included overseas artists since the pandemic began, and has been considered a test case for reopening Japan’s live industry to foreign acts.

Zedd, Steve Aoki, Clean Bandit, Alan Walker and Aurora were among the overseas artists that performed at the Creativeman-promoted event in Zozomarine Stadium, Tokyo.

The event took place across 18 and 19 September and the promoter says that in the two weeks subsequent, there were no reports of infection from visitors, performing artists, or staff.

At the festival, attendees were asked to comply with a number of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 that included eating meals in silence, abstaining from alcohol, maintaining social distancing and “quietly waiting” for admission to the event.

Attendance for each day was estimated at between 10,000 and 13,000.

“Japanese entertainment has finally restarted”

“The time that had been stopped for over a year due to coronavirus has begun to move, and Japanese entertainment has finally restarted,” reads a statement on the festival’s website.

“We were able to take a brilliant first step toward revival by taking thorough infection control measures, but the road has just begun. We will continue to make trial and error, and aim for Summer Sonic 2022 one year later. I would like to expect entertainment in a new era.”

The one-off event was held in lieu of Creativeman’s annual Summer Sonic festival which was cancelled this year due to the fact that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics used venues normally rented for the event.

Originally, Supersonic was to be held in Tokyo and Osaka but the latter was cancelled after Creativeman decided that holding the event in two locations was not feasible, considering state-of-emergency restrictions.

Japan lifted its Covid-19 state of emergency, covering 19 prefectures, at the end of September amid a dramatic fall in cases and rapid progress in its vaccination rollout.

 


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