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Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer festival fever

Kegawa no Maries @ Rock in Japan

Staff writer

Rock in Japan is the PG-rated calm after the X-rated storm of Fuji Rock: few people out of their heads, no mud, the best food on the festival circuit, and safe for toddlers and grannies alike. It features only Japanese bands, so it's the best fest for seeing how the local mainstream music scene is shaping up. Usually it isn't shaping up at all, but this year Rock in Japan boasts its best lineup ever, and my pick is Kegawa no Maries, a high-speed collision between The Stones and The Stooges.

News photo

Also check out: Veteran folkster Nobuyasu Okabayashi, garage-metal J-Rockers 9mm Parabellum Bullet, raw punkers Eastern Youth, ex-Yellow Monkey man Kazuya Yoshii, lo-fi indie star Shugo Tokumaru and playful popsters Puffy.

The setting: One of the cleanest and tidiest festivals in Japan, set in the rolling green meadows of an expansive amusement park — it's difficult to be naughty here. Once I went skinny-dipping in the faux lake behind the main stage and was told by security: "You don't want to do that. This lake is very dirty." He then held the towel round me while I pulled my pants back on. Nice people abound. It's often scorching hot, so pack the sun block and drink lots of water.

When/where: July 31, Aug. 1 and 2; doors open 10.30 a.m. Hitachi Seaside Park, Hitachinaka-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture. Three-day tickets ¥30,000. Parking available. For more information check rock-net.jp/fes/09

Summer festival roundup

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