An open-air festival making the end of this summer
Magical Camp was held on September 1st and 2nd in Sapporo, Japan. The festival started at 13:00. The sound of rehearsal came up as we approached the venue from the parking lot. The venue was Sapporo Teine known as the winter resort. With the perfect location with a full view of the city and the vigorous music in the open air, we had a lot to look forward to.
This event started from this year was produced by a long-established soup curry shop "Magic Spice", which is no to mention in Sapporo and also has branches in Tokyo and Osaka, and was held to raise awareness of a charity and ecology while enjoying music. All the proceeds without expense will be donated to "Save the Childresn", an international aid agency (NGO) for children, working on activities to give an opportunity and a hope on education to the children, who are in difficult situation to get an education due to the influence of armed conflicts.
As may be expected of an event with a theme of ecology, there was a movable dishwasher called "Araeru" by "Ezorock", NGO Association for environment. They had also trying to reuse drink cups. However, discarded cigarette butts or empty bottles were seen everywhere in the venue. To bring about changes in participants' attitudes might remain to be solved.
Well, the actual event started in the hard daytime light from a performance by "Agharta", a Sapporo based jazz rock band who plays 90% of improvised music. Having a taste of Miles Davis, they showed their original music with various instruments such as drums, bass guitar, trumpet, maracas, flute, and keyboard harmonica. The audience started swinging bit by bit, and the stage was filled with uplifting feeling with big applause at the end.
Following this, at the DJ booth set up next to the main stage, one of the best DJs in Sapporo doing DJ for 15 years, Takahiro Nakagawa a.k.a "HEATIN' SYSTEM" started playing with lighter jazz numbers. He made the event's atmosphere.
The DJ booth was decorated by a lighting artist Mako from Microkoubou. The lighting made by natural materials such as wood and winter cherries showed vigorousness and beauty of the nature. It was a graceful art work as if lighting up viewers' mind.
RO (Reverse Osmosis) is a separation process that uses pressure to force a solvent through a membrane that retains the solute on one side and allows the pure solvent to pass to the other side. As the name indicates, clear and brisk melody came up in the venue. 3 synthesizers' gentle sounds added spice to the beautiful music by 4 players. The ephemeral sounds in solo part made us think of the end of the summer.
When the venue got crowded toward evening, sleepy.ab showed up. They have gained recognition on last year's "megaplay" at a local radio station "FM NORTH WAVE" and on the participation in this year's Rising Sun Rock Festival. The nostalgic melody with melancholy voice by the vocalist Tsuyoshi Nariyama attracted the audience. When they played a hit song "soner", and the vocalist's voice and chorus got together, we felt curious power as if time stopped there. The sun was not going down yet, but the glow of the sunset was shining them up as a part of the stage.
After enjoying the sun set, when the stage was getting like a club with darkness, a Sapporo based Hip-Hop team, MIC JAcK PRODUCTION appeared. The venue was really heating up.
Next was Hitomitoi with Mai Fujinoya. Mai Fujinoya who usually plays as a bass player appeared with a guitar this time. He had collaborated with Hitomitoi on her album production. Their performance here included keyboard and drum players. Hitomitoi looked like a TinkerBell, getting off a goblinish aura and dancing on a moonlight night. They attracted the audience with a music set from old songs to the ones from the latest album. "Getting cold? Eat some curry and take part in the charity," she said. She also spoke of her aspiration about this event to be happened next year again.
As it was gradually getting cold, the main stage had an art performance produced by a contemporary art gallery in Sapporo "CAI". As a surprise artist, Mayumi Ohira, a concertmaster of Sapporo Symphony Orchestra appeared with black dress. She played Bach's masterpiece "Chaconne" with the dynamic video designed by Satoshi Hata, and involved the audience in the classical world. The signful music was like the cold night wind, and together with the beautiful visuals, it became a fantastic stage.
Then, 1945 a.k.a KURANAKA. Sounds from the DJ booth was as if representing the nature which constantly changes, with from bird cries, thunder to the deep bass and sometimes tender sounds. The venue was wrapped in those sounds and the darkness, warming up for the night stage.
Being highly expected, a band attracting a lot of people from Japan and abroad DUB AINU BAND appeared. This is a Dub Rock Band headed by OKI who is a memory keeper of a traditional string instrument of Ainu called "Tonkori". OKI sang like speaking the lyrics kindly, and showed both Ainu traditional and his original songs. They mixed the traditional Ainu music with other rhythm like rock or raggae, brought a lot of excitement to the venue with the strong and completely new music. We could also feel the pride and culture of Ainu from their costume and the handmade Tonkori.
Photo by Hitomitoi
After that, DJ KENSEI, O.N.O, EYE, THA BLUE HERB continued showing hot performances until the next morning. Around the stage, some were moving their bodies, some were sitting on the ground, and others were laying on the bench under the pallid sky. After the sun rise, KOSS a.k.a KUNIYUKI, Naohito Uchiyama, DAISHI DANCE showed up one after another. Because some visitors started leaving, it was sparse audience comparing to the previous night, but they seemed to relax according to individual fancy.
The last artist was Miyuki Hatakeyama with Hands of Creation. After the Hands of Creation played several music, Miyuki Hatakeyama appeared with bright white dress with black dots. It was impressive that she was emotionally singing with her eyes closed. She showed a slow number, saying "I'd like to contribute this song to Hokkaido's sky with you all." Although the sun was getting very strong, the audience on the bench listened attentively to her music.
What we saw might be only one part of Magical Camp, but it gave us big awareness. We could feel that artists and visitors united through music, and have a moving experience. And we thought the possibility that many people make happiness with the same feeling. If so, music might change the world. The more people feel the same way, the better world will be.
We hope Magical Camp as a festival tying up the happiness from Hokkaido to the world will continue next year and the year after.
Text and photos: Emi Honma, Madoka Suzuki, Manami Okumura, Kunihiko Suzuki, Koji Uemoto
Translation: Yurie Hatano