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Fuji Rock wants attendees to ‘refrain from speaking’

Japanese festival Fuji Rock has published a series of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at this summer’s edition – one of which discourages festivalgoers from speaking to each other.

The Smash Corporation festival is set to take place at its usual home of Naeba Ski Resort in Tokyo, between 20–22 August 2021, but not as we know it.

This year, the festival’s typical international bill has been replaced with a completely domestic line-up which includes Radwimps, Man With a Mission, King Gnu, Cornelius, The Birthday, ROVO and Denki Groove, while stage capacities may be restricted depending on circumstances.

Festivalgoers must adhere to a number of stringent restrictions which range from wearing a mask and socially distancing to the more bizarre requirements.

The festival has published an extensive list of prohibitions for attendees which includes raising your voice, cheering, shouting, high-fiving and having ‘unnecessary conversations during the performances’.

Naoki Shimizu, president of Japanese promoter Creativeman, told the Japan Times that requirements like these are necessary if the live music industry is ever going to stage a comeback, especially in a country where cases have recently been spiking and the vaccine rollout still hasn’t hit its stride.

Raising your voice, cheering, shouting, high-fiving and having ‘unnecessary conversations’ are discouraged at Fuji Rock

Shimizu revealed that Creativeman festival Supersonic, which welcomed 300,000 people across three days in 2019, will also set out a number of requirements for attendees: “We will have to check everyone’s temperature, first. Capacity will be limited. And alcohol … we probably can’t have alcohol at the festival.”

This year’s Supersonic will be a post-Olympics version of its trademark Summer Sonic event held simultaneously in Chiba and Osaka prefectures and will feature 10 acts across three days – though the line-up is yet to be announced.

With Japan’s borders largely closed to international travel and the Tokyo Olympic Committee moving to ban international spectators from the Summer Games (23 July to 8 August), it’s likely that Supersonic will also opt for a domestic line-up.

Both Creativeman and Smash have spent much of 2021 lobbying for the resumption of international touring in Japan via a new consortium of Japan-based international promoters.

Earlier this year, the consortium succeeded in getting the Japanese government to amend its compensation scheme to include domestic shows by foreign artists.

The alliance’s next goal is to ease the business visa restrictions for foreign artists to enter Japan with no quarantines.


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Japan: Fuji Rock’s virtual event, Supersonic finally cancelled

Promoter Creativeman Productions has finally called off this year’s Summer Sonic festival, meaning neither of Japan’s big two outdoor music festivals will take place this year.

Summer Sonic – which became a ‘new’ event, Supersonic, for 2020, with the main festival taking a year off to accomodate the planned Tokyo Olympics – can no longer go ahead because of new restrictions on foreigners entering Japan from 1 September, following a spike in new Covid-19 cases.

The 1975, Liam Gallagher, Fatboy Slim, Skrillex, Steve Aoki, Post Malone and Black Eyed Peas were among artists booked to play Supersonic 2020, which would taken place 19–21 September in Tokyo and 19–20 September in Osaka.

All tickets for Supersonic 2020, which has been postponed a year, will be valid for Supersonic 2021, with full refunds also available.

Both Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic are staging virtual editions of their 2020 events

In a statement, Creativeman president Naoki Shimizu offers his “sincere gratitude to all of you who believed in us” and promises “fireworks” when the festival returns next year. “I cannot wait for the day when we can once again watch artists perform their wonderful songs live to the world,” he comments.

Smash Corporation’s Fuji Rock, meanwhile – originally scheduled for 21–23 August – is this year taking place as a virtual event featuring a stream of archival footage from past festivals.

Fans can watch the live stream on Fuji Rock’s YouTube channel, or in the YouTube Music app, from 21 to 23 August. Performances will include Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, FKA Twigs, James Blake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sia, the XX and Vince Staples.

Summer Sonic 2020 will also take place as an online festival, streamed on YouTube, featuring BTS (2015), Metallica (2013), Arctic Monkeys (2014) and more.


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Loss of festivals no big deal, says Goan minister

There will be no decline in tourism in Goa this Christmas, despite the state government having forced two of India’s biggest musical festivals to relocate, its tourism minister has declared.

Rival dance music festivals Sunburn and Supersonic – the former of which attracted 350,000 festivalgoers in 2015 – will both move to Pune (Poona), in Maharashtra, this December after Dilip Parulekar declared they would no longer be welcome in Goa in 2016.

Speaking to the IANS news agency, Parulekar says the impact on tourism should be minimal. “People come for Goa’s culture, not because of EDM,” he comments. “It will not affect [footfall] much.”

“People come for Goa’s culture, not because of EDM”

Announcing Supersonic’s move, Saugato Bhowmik, of promoter Viacom18, praised Pune for its “openness towards modern influences” – in contrast, perhaps, to Goa, where one local politician accused dance music of being “against [Indian] culture and [pro-] pushing drugs” – and a “world-class destination” for the festival.

“Deeply-rooted in culture and traditions, the city is known for its openness towards modern influences and thought, Pune is a seamless blend of local culture and global influences, thereby making it an apt destination for the upcoming edition of Vh1 Supersonic,” says Bhowmik. “We also see this as an ongoing journey to provide transformative experiences to today’s youth by creating the Supersonic world at the kind of world-class destinations that Pune is providing to us. We are looking forward to a very successful Vh1 Supersonic, celebrating Pune as our new home.”

Insomniac held its first event in the subcontinent, Electric Daisy Carnival India, at the Buddh International Circuit near Delhi last weekend.


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Goa declares war on Asia’s biggest music festival

Asia’s largest music festival, Goa electronic dance music (EDM) event Sunburn, is facing an uncertain 2016 after the Indian state’s tourism minister announced that no EDM festivals will be allowed to go ahead in the final week of the year.

The ban will also affect arch-rival Supersonic.

“At that time so many tourists are in Goa to celebrate New Year or Christmas,” Dilip Parulekar told journalists at Goa’s state secretariat, reports India.com. “We do not want these EDM events at that time. They should be organised before or after that period.”

Both festivals take place at the same time, from 27 to 30 December – Sunburn (which last year attracted a record-breaking 350,000 attendees) on Vagator beach and Supersonic on Candolim beach, both in Bardez – and have in recent years been subject to criticism from local politicians, police and businesspeople, many of whom would prefer that they be held at different times to better serve the economy and relieve pressure on Goa’s narrow streets and ageing infrastructure.

“We do not want these EDM events at that time. They should be organised before or after that period”

According to a December Goa News report, both Sunburn promoter Percept Ltd and Supersonic’s Viacom 18 are also behind on taxes following the Goan police’s decision to hike the festivals’ security bills and backdate them three years.

Aside from the logistical issues, it is also possible that many in the Goan government’s hostility to its world-leading EDM festivals comes from a deeper-seated moral opposition. Sunita Verenkar, of the conservative governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said in December: “The BJP government should ban EDMs [sic]. While in the opposition, they had accused the Congress [party] of promoting such festivals, which according to them were against [Indian] culture and [pro-] pushing drugs.”

Supersonic has yet to announce any dates for 2016, while Sunburn’s website still shows the festival as taking place from 27 to 30 December.


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