At the peak of ITADAKI, the music festival 野外音楽フェス「頂」の絶頂
"The best music in the best situation possible."
With its beautiful nature, comfortable climate and loads of laid-back locals, Shizuoka has been like a petri dish for outdoor music festivals for some time now, unbeknownst to the rest of the world. Amongst the many big names, one local festival, celebrating it's 10th year, has been representing hard. By hard, I mean, ecologically, locally, ethically, naturally, and...friendly-ly.
The name is ITADAKI.
The name means "pinnacle" or "summit". ITADAKI also happens to mean "to receive" and is the verb spoken before meals.
The whole event is run on 100% bio-diesel oil (mostly used cooking oil) gathered from fans and contributors, reusable cups and plates are used throughout the entire venue, free shuttles offer rides to and from the nearest train station to encourage carpooling and measures are taken to cut down on things, like soapless brushes for washing dishes and a beloved "candle time" where all lights are turned off and candles are lit to make the proper mood for the mesmerizing candle stage while saving electricity.
They have kept the venue in the local area (though they have changed location twice) and have included many local artists, staff members, volunteers and stalls to give back to the local economy.
They have corners like the Love For The Future project, where money made by selling handmade items is gathered and donated to victims of the 2011 earthquake and nuclear fallout struck area of Japan. Importance is placed on family time as well and families are accommodated by having extra large camping areas, a large seating and play area, and arts and craft stalls for the kids.
The catering in the staff and artist backyard area is all organic, naturally grown and prepared with love. The venue is currently held in a luscious green park, by the water's edge of Suruga Bay. Before that was the top of Nihondaira Plateau, over looking the city and Mt. Fuji, before that, another mountain across town.
The core staff members and volunteers are super friendly, cheerful and capable. Look into the details and you'll see how much they care about their festival goers, from the informational signs, the quality of temporary plumbing, the perfectly drawn parking lot, the hand made Candle Stage and Moon Stage, the rolling sponge water removers deployed after rainfall, the consideration to local residents, and much much more, all while smiling.
"We would like our festival goers to see ITADAKI as one big store/establishment." Says Ono-san, the festival's founder and boss. This is one of the two main goals of the event. Being able to provide not only quality entertainment, but quality service to an array of "customers" who will eventually have problems, questions, and of course, lost items, is no easy task.
The other main goal, you ask?
Well that's a bit more bold, and just as difficult, not to mention objective.
"We aim to provide the best music in the best situation possible."
Take look at this year's line up (2017) to get a slight idea.
In case you didn't notice, yes, that's Robert Glasper's name.
Each band is worth a google and at least a quick listen too, if you haven't heard of them yet. The festival makes sure to provide a balance of domestic stars, regulars, newcomers and genres from Jazz, punk rock and didgeridoo and rhythm, to local Indie bands, surf rock, soft vocals, reggae and hip hop. The performers written in Japanese on the 2017 line-up above are as follows (from top left):
Sunny Day Service, Ann Sally, Kimyo (strange) Reitaro, Scha Dara Parr, Wednesday Campanella, Nanao Tabibito, Shibusashirazu Orchestra, Takagi Masakatsu.
I'll include the others, since this is the net, and pictures and text are treated differently:
Ego Wrappin', never young beach, Yogee New Waves, toe, THA BLUE HERB, DUBSENSEMANIA with guest PAPA U-GEE, INUSHIKI, Marter, THE BAWDIES, OKAMOTO'S, Predawn, EVISBEATS and PUNCH&MIGHTY, GOMA & The Jungle Rhythm Section.
The MC's and painters are also top quality.
The 2013 ITADAKI also had an impressive overseas line up, featuring:
Raul Midon、Donovan Frankenreiter、Wild Marmalade、Fishbone、Emi Meyer、Jesse Harris.
And again, this is in Shizuoka, not Tokyo.
I might as well list all of the artists that have performed in the past decade. Many of them have been circuiting music festivals for years. If you would like to know more, non main-stream artists of Japan, or have ever wondered which bands are holding it down and have gathered enough of a following to frequent big stages, take a look at this extensive list, in order of first appearance by year (some performed more than once, some every year, some may not be performing any more):
Goro x DJ KENSEI, Okano Hiroki with Tenkuu Orchestra and guest SUGIZO, FLYING KIDS, maccafat, THE SIDEBURNS, Akaishi Daiko, TOKIWA with friends, SP FIRE PERFORMERS & MO', CHRIS PIERCE, INUSHIKI a.k.a DogggyStyle feat. AO (Dry&Heavy/maccafat), KINGDOM AFROCKS, Macky & BaBalet's, Nao (YoleYole), Hajime Chitose, Kodama Kazufumi (Dubstation), PJ (Dubsensemania), LEYONA, BASI (In-sist), LIKKLE MAI, BAGDAD CAFE THE trench town, YOYO-C, Ailie, PAPA U-GEE, STONED ROCKERS, GOMA & Jungle Rhythm Section, Gabby & Lopez, BOBIN & Tengusa, VarnaGhita with guest Masaki Yonemori (Cadillac), GOCOO + GoRo, LITTLE TEMPO, Curly Giraffe, Chara, Rickie-G, Saigenji, Ikue Asazaki, B:RIDGE style, COOL WISE MEN, CRO-MAGNON, Yohei Miyake, Keyco, SOIL&"PIMP" SESSIONS, Karukaya Makoto, BAGDAD RIDDIM SECTION, TOKYO No. 1 SOUL SET, Sokabe Keiichi BAND, Jazztronik, Peace-K, Chihiro, Keison, VarnaGhita, Dachambo, ROVO, ALBATRUS, Motoharu and Tabu zombie, THEATRE BROOK, TUFF SESSION, field.echo, OVERGROUND ACOUSTIC UNDERGROUND, Chihiro, VarnaGhita, Tetsuo Nagasawa, PLASTICS, The Gossip of Jaxx, ZAZEN BOYS, SOFT, poodles, Youmou & Ohana, Kuricorder Quartet, The Peace Joints (eli, Ras Takashi, Toki "TICO" Tsuyoshi, Shing02), Metis, Spinna B-ILL, SPECIAL OTHERS, Calm, field.echo, Moonage Electric Quartet, Ovall, icchie, MOUNTAIN MOCHA KILIMANJARO, bonobos, Akihiro Namba, iLL, Nabowa, HUMBERT HUMBERT, キセル, DENNIS BOVELL, bird, PUSHIM, Home Grown, Asako Toki, quasimode, Schroeder-Headz, COMEBACK MY DAUGHTERS, THE SUNPAULO, Mishka, Tokiko Kato, L.E.D., mabanua, LOVE PSYCHEDELICO with Hirohisa Horie, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, The Blue Herb, Hunger (GAGLE), GAGLE, Vinicius Cantuaria & Dadi a.k.a. TRIO ESTRANGEIROS, AFRA, Chieko Kinbara, →Pia-no-jaC←, Cosmic Blessing Ensemble (Calm x Citizen of Peace x Kakuei), NAMBA 69, Aoi Teshima, Denki Groove, Chinza Dopeness & Doping Band, Dengaryu, Indus&Rocks, John Cruz, UA, Nao Kodama, Clammbon, Arakajime Kimerareta Koibito Tachi E, Petrolz, Natural Calamity, KEMURI, YOUR SONG IS GOOD, OGRE YOU ASSHOLE, DOZAN11, Schroeder-Headz, Kinokoteikoku, Kotoringo, Sakura Fujiwara, RHYMESTER, OKAMOTO'S, Ann Sally, Masakatsu Takagi, BEGIN, ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Sambomaster, cero, Suchmos, Awesome City Club, Shing02, Carroll Thompson, DJ KRUSH, GONTITI, Ichiko Aoba, Quruli, ohashiTrio, Gotch, ALTZ, BACK DROP BOMB, Zainichi Funk, Ikuko Harada
Since moving to their current location at Yoshida Park, the event has really picked up and has recently been featured in many printed and online music publications such as Bandwagon, Everfest, Time Out and others.
Check out their photo gallery from this year to get a glimpse of the recent vibes.↓
Although only in Japanese (for now), here is a link to my "story" about my involvement with ITADAKI over the past decade, first as a "customer" then translator and staff.↓
Hope to see you there next year.