Sado Island (佐渡島 sadogashima) is the home of Kodo (鼓童), the most well-known taiko drumming group in Japan, and probably in the world. I had seen Kodo perform indoor concerts, once in Kobe and once somewhere else, but this was my first time going to Sado for the festival.
The festival was excellent. Foreigners frequently attend this festival so it’s easy to gather information and figure out how to get there. The English festival website is well done, check it out.
Before I get into babbling about the festival, let me introduce you to Kodo.
You can see many more Kodo videos on this YouTube channel here.
Imagine what these drums sound like live. It’s like precise and rhythmic thunder. Truly amazing and totally mesmerizing. Also notable are the physiques of the players themselves. Those guys are ripped. Anyway…
The festival itself is an extremely family friendly environment. Many people brought their children and even babies to the event. Our group included my family, which included a 1-year old and my wife, another couple and their 3-year old and 1-year old, another adult, and mother with a 5-month old and a 3-year old. I also saw a dude walking around with a ferret, and regular teenagers and seniors as well.
There are also classes and workshops available each day where you can learn to dance or to beat a taiko drum. Most of the workshops require reservations and fill up months in advance of the festival, so if you want to participate in one be sure to plan ahead. We did not take part in any of the workshops this time.
There was a main stage on the festival grounds that had schedules performances throughout the day. There wer also countless food stalls and shops selling the usual “hippie” fare. If you’ve been to a flea market or outdoor crafts festival in Japan you will be familiar with the bags, hats, drums, and other trinkets that are for sale.
The Kodo performance, which is the main event each day, starts at around 6:30 PM and ends at about 9:00 PM. Most participants purchase their dinner on the festival grounds and bring them to the concert area to eat while waiting for the show to start. No photography is allowed during the Kodo performance, so I don’t have any to show. The other photographs and videos here are from the other not Kodo performances during the festival. There are plenty of Kodo photos and videos around the web if you want to see the performers in action!
And now, the moment you have all been waiting for… I shall share tips for concert survival!
- Bring a towel, it’s hot during the summer and you’re going to sweat.
- Bring a large towel or something to claim your space and sit on during the main event — everyone does.
- If you’re trying to save money, bring your own water. Water is for sale at about 100 yen a bottle at the festival site, but you know, every yen counts.
- Bring a hat. It’s hot.
- Sandals are nice to have, but if it rains the grounds get very soggy so prepare to have muddy feet.
- Plan EARLY! Lodging options and event reservations fill up months before the festival, so plan ahead.
If you’re already convinced, in 2014, Earth Celebration will be held August 22 (Fri) through 24 (Sun). Start making plans! Many people who attend this festival go year after year, so go as soon as possible so that you can go again if you want!
Here are some photos that I took during Earth Celebration 2013. Enjoy! Hope you get a chance to attend the festival!
Earth Celebration 2013 English Link