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Friday, July 28, 2006

Celebrate jazz, hip-hop near Fuji

One-day fest boasts eclectic lineup from Japan, abroad

Amid the deluge of high-profile rock festivals this summer are some more idiosyncratic events boasting eclectic lineups in unusual settings. So for every "Summer Sonic" featuring big-selling rock acts from abroad in an urban setting, there is a festival like "True People's Celebration 2006," organized by promoters LCE. Set in picturesque surroundings with a backdrop of Mount Fuji, the festival, now in its third year, takes place on Aug. 19 at Yamanaka-ko Theater Hibiki in Yamanashi Prefecture, where it is expected to attract around 5,000 people.

News photo
New York's Medeski, Martin & Wood perform at "True People's Celebration 2006."

This year's event boasts arguably the festival's strongest lineup to date. Festival favorites Medeski, Martin & Wood bring their groove-based jazz for the third time, while Japanese six-piece Soil & "Pimp" Sessions will be representing homegrown jazz of the "bop 'n' roll" variety.

Although the relaxed vibes of past festivals generally catered for more mature festivalgoers, this year club kids are well served with turntablists Kid Koala and DJ Baku playing. One of the most anticipated performances of the festival will no doubt be Kid Koala going head to head against pianist John Medeski. With jazz artists and turntablists known for their one-upmanship, it should be some performance.

"True People's Celebration 2006" takes place at Yamanaka-ko Theater Hibiki, Hirano 479-2, Yamanaka-ko Miura, Minami Tsuru-gun, on Aug. 12, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tickets are 11,000 yen.

To get there by train from Tokyo, take the Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station to Ootsuki Station, then take the Fuji Kyuko Line to Fuji Yoshida Station and then take the Fuji Kyu bus. The journey is about 2 1/2 hours in total. The festival site is also accesible from Osaka and Nagoya. For more info, visit www.truepeoples.com

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