From Songkran parties to full-blown ragers, Japan's festival scene is taking off
Will Mitchell | July 24th, 2019
As music festivals in Asia are on the rise, Japan is emerging as an increasingly popular travel destination for music lovers from overseas. One of the main reasons for this change is due to the population's growing love for EDM: just this year alone the country hosted its third edition of Electric Daisy Carnival as well as Thailand's famous S2O Songkran Music Festival. For those among you who haven't been to a festival in Japan, have a look at the following recommendations and see if you can't be swayed.
1. Music Circus
When: August 24, 2019 - August 25, 2019
Where: Osaka Sennan Tarui Southern Beach
How Much: GA 1 Day Advance: $95 USD
GA 2 Day Advance: $165 USD
Since the first edition in 2014, Music Circus has attracted over 200,000 visitors by bringing a breath of fresh air to the festival scene in Japan. Unlike other large-scale events, which are migrating and expanding towards Tokyo, Music Circus prides itself on its Osaka location.
The setting is definitely one of the selling points for this festival, as it takes over an entire beach... ideal for one of the hottest months of the year! As to the lineup, organisers have managed to secure Dutch DJ duo Yellow Claw, Swedish EDM group Galantis and Tiësto’s protégé Mike Williams. Furthermore, the event also showcases some of the best homegrown talent, such as rapper AK-69, Sky-Hi of J-pop group AAA as well as creative collective PKCZ: a multi-disciplinary group making waves in the music and fashion industries. As if that’s not enough, over the course of the weekend TeamK (the all girl-group composed of members from dance troupe CyberJapan) will be on hand to entertain the crowds at the Oasis stage.
Read more about this year's lineup here.
2. Wired Music Festival
When: September 7th - 8th, 2019
Where: Aichi Sky Expo, Japan
How Much: GA One Day: ¥14,000 ($130 USD)
GA Two Day ¥24,000 ($222 USD)
VIP One Day: ¥25,000 ($231 USD)
VIP Two Day ¥40,000 ($370 USD)
Now in its 5th year running, popularity for Wired Music Festival is showing no signs of slowing down- in fact, organisers have acknowledged the huge demand by upgrading this years event to a two day festival. For 2019, Wired will relocate to the Aichi Sky Expo next to the Chubu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya Airport), meaning that this enormous open air party will be more accessible for those traveling from afar!
Headlining the Saturday will be Norway's Tropical House royalty Kygo, with rapper and singer Wiz Khalifa set to make his return to Wired on the Sunday night. Last month the lineup grew with the addition of Blackpink, who saw a surge in fame in the wake of their unforgettable Coachella performance, which incidentally was the first time a K-Pop group were invited to perform there. EDM and House fans will rejoice at the addition of Alok and Dillon Francis, the latter of which just dropped his new track Drip with Boombox Cartel and featuring Desiigner. It really seems that this year Wired is embracing multiple genres of music, proving itself to be an all round festival that's sure to keep growing and growing. Tickets are available via the official website.
3. Water Run
When: July 27th - July 28th, 2019
Where: Makuhari Beach Park G, Chiba
How Much: GA 2 Day: $99 USD
VIP 1 day: $99 USD
Water Run is no ordinary music festival, as it ties in multiple elements to create an all-round entertainment experience unlike any other. Taking place in Chiba, the event combines running, live music and a water fight inspired by Thailand’s Songkran New Year celebrations. Water Run will take place at the Makuhari Seaside Park this weekend, offering a truly niche way to cool off from the intense heat.
The general idea is that attendees take part in a 1km run, broken up by special areas such as the 'mist zone' or the newly introduced 'tapioca zone' provided by bubble tea company The Alley. Upon reaching the finish line, organisers have assembled a lineup of DJs, comedians, dancers and more to provide the crowds with some top-class entertainment. Water Run is definitely more of a local festival, reflected in the lineup of special guests including comedy duo Anzen Manzai as well as Ai Haruna- the winner of Thailand's "Miss International Queen 2009" transgender beauty pageant.
4. Fuji Rock
When: July 26-28, 2019
Where: Naeba Ski Resort, Yuzawa-cho, Niigata Prefecture
How Much: Only tickets remaining on the website are for Sunday (¥20,000/$185 USD), however more will be available for purchase on the day.
Fuji Rock has a history that spans over two decades and it's widely recognised as one of Japan's largest outdoor music festivals, showcasing acts from different genres to appeal to different crowds. This weekend, the music will be provided by over 100 artists across roughly 16 stages, with the Chemical Brothers, Sia and The Cure all set to headline the event. Other notable acts include the world's top DJ Martin Garrix, British singer-songwriter James Blake as well as the extremely talented Janelle Monae. To see the full lineup and set times visit the official website here.
5. Ultra Japan
When: September 14, 2019 - September 15, 2019
Where: Tokyo Odaiba Ultra Park II, Japan
How Much: GA 1 Day Advance: $140.00 USD
GA 2 Day Advance: $250.00 USD
VIP 1 Day Advance: $280.00 USD
VIP 2 Days Advance: $500.00 USD
Ultra Japan is a festival that needs no introducing, with events taking place on nearly all continents and a flagship show in Miami, the brand's reputation extends right across the world. Earlier this month, Ultra unveiled the list of acts who make up their Lineup Phase 1, namely Afrojack, DJ Snake, Galantis, Pendulum Trinity and Steve Aoki. Witness the leading names in the industry put on the show of a lifetime as well as discovering emerging acts before they make it big, all in front of Ultra’s signature hi-tech stage production. Why hesitate? Come and join the Ultranaut community in Tokyo this September!