TOKYO – Japan’s Supersonic music festival is set to become the first large scale musical extravaganza since the world was shaken by the coronavirus pandemic and widespread cancellations ground the global economy and cultural offerings to a halt, organizers announced on Friday.
The music festival is set to begin in Tokyo on Sept. 19 for three days in Chiba, southwest, and between Sept. 19-20 in Osaka, north.
Headlining the festival are American band Black Eyed Peas, who will be joining ’90s hip-hop legends Wu-Tang Clan, The 1975 and Brit-pop giant Liam Gallagher.
On the dancefloor, electro music mogul Steve Aoki will be spinning on the decks alongside Fatboy Slim, dubstep maestro Skrillex and Japanese singer and model Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Creativeman productions, the festival organizer, said in a statement on Friday.
The festival replaces the iconic Summer Sonic music festival, which has been held every summer in the same cities since 2000.
Promoters changed the dates and format of this year’s Summer Sonic so as not to coincide with the Olympic Games that were scheduled to take place in Tokyo in late July and early August, although the sports event has since been called off and rescheduled for the summer of 2021.
The coronavirus has had a massive impact on the world of arts and culture and live performances have been particularly hard hit due to social distancing norms.
In Japan, the iconic Fuji Rock festival was called off and music aficionados around the world mourn the absence of the United Kingdom’s Glastonbury Festival which would have taken place this weekend.
Amid the uncertainty, Creativeman launched a crowdfunding campaign to “guarantee that the event would be held and that it would have the necessary security measures.”
The production company has managed to raise around $112,000 through online giving and will allocate the funds to “coronavirus control measures” such as ensuring enough digital thermometers are available to do temperature checks on all attendees and providing dispensers with hand sanitizer, among other measures, the company said.
Donors to the crowdfunding drive have been rewarded with commemorative items and festival marketing gear as well as access to an online library of recordings of past Summer Sonic editions.
Music fans have rallied in Japan under the Don’t Stop the Music campaign in a bid to help the sector which has been heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent months, donations to live music venues that were forced to shutter have been rolling in from music lovers keen to keep the art form alive.
The state of health alert was lifted in Japan in late May when the pandemic was considered controlled, although certain measures to prevent infection clusters remain in force, including the government’s recommendation to refrain from holding any massive cultural or sports event.
The government’s de-escalation plan outlines that from July 10, events with large audiences like concerts and football matches can resume but with strict restrictions on numbers to guarantee social distancing among punters.