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Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer festival fever

Rankin Taxi @ Starlight Reggae Festa

Special to The Japan Times

Maybe it's the economy, but since 2006 and the final edition of Japansplash, foreign reggae acts have mostly stayed away. New local artists, however, continue to pop up like, er, mushrooms, and there's at least four Japanese reggae festivals of varying sizes and lengths this summer. The largest is the Starlight Reggae Festa. Like Fuji Rock, it's for the truly dedicated — camping is free and recommended. And as the name indicates, it's a night-time festival. Live music starts at 7 p.m. each evening and continues until dawn, though there is always a sound system blowing away somewhere on the grounds and your master of ceremonies is Japan's premier toaster, Rankin Taxi.

News photo

Also check out: Bagdad Cafe The Trench Town, DJKentaro, Keyco and 1945, aka Kuranaka. The illustrious Mighty Crown Sound System will seemingly be all over the place.

The setting: The festival features a main stage fronting a field with a bonfire and a shopping area/food court as well as a distant "dance space," and everything is surrounded by dense forest.

When/where: Meiho Ski Resort in Gifu Prefecture, July 18-19. Tickets are ¥14,000 for the weekend. If you're driving, it's about 90 minutes from Nagoya via the Tokai Hokuriku Expressway. Parking and bungalows available. Camping OK. For more details, check the Web site (in Japanese) at www.starlight-reggaefesta.com

Summer festival roundup

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