350K For Summer Sonic’s 20th

Via facebook.com/summersonicfestival
– Babymetal
Summer Sonic 2019

Japan’s Summer Sonic music festival celebrated its 20th edition the weekend of Aug. 16-18 by adding a third day to its usual schedule, and by doing so became the biggest Japanese festival of the year in terms of attendance. 

The event is held simultaneously in Osaka and Tokyo (actually, Chiba City, which is just east of the capital on Tokyo Bay), and, according to organizer Creativeman Productions, attracted a total of 350,000 people for both parts: 180,000 for Tokyo, meaning all three days were sold out; 120,000 for Osaka; 20,000 people for the Spotify On Stage all-night fest Friday night in Tokyo; and 30,000 for the NF event at the same venue Saturday night. 
Another reason for the extended weekend lineup is that there will be no Summer Sonic next year, as one of the main venues for the Tokyo part of the festival will be occupied by the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. 
The festival wasn’t a complete cakewalk, however. A tropical storm that didn’t quite intensify to typhoon level hit the western part of the archipelago the day before Summer Sonic was scheduled to start. Consequently, preparations for the Osaka festival were suspended temporarily, and two outdoor stages were closed on August 16. The winds were also intense as far as Tokyo Bay, necessitating the closing of the Beach Stage at the Tokyo festival on Friday. But both areas were up and running in full by the next day.
Friday’s Tokyo lineup was mostly rock-heavy, with Japan’s biggest rock band in terms of sales, B’z headlining the main Marine Stage in the Zozo Marine Stadium. Leading up to their performance were sets by The Struts; top-selling Japanese indie rockers My First Story and [Alexandros]; Weezer; and The 1975, which may have provoked more of a reaction than B’z. The Billboard Stage located in the Marine Stage parking lot, opened with a clutch of acts from Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, and closed with a smoking set from soul veteran Cheryl Lynn. The three stages in the Makuhari Messe Convention Center divided between hard rock acts on the Rainbow Stage, including Michael Monroe and veteran Japanese hard rockers Loudness. The Sonic Stage featured mellower foreign acts like Alec Benjamin and Snow Patrol playing an all-acoustic set, with the headliner being perennial SS favorites Two Door Cinema Club. The massive Mountain Stage hosted mainly pop and R&B acts, including Grace Carter, Sabrina Carpenter, Bananarama (reduced to two members) and Rita Ora. Fall Out Boy wrapped things up.
Saturday’s highlights included the all-female Korean speed metal quintet Lovebites at the Rainbow Stage; ska punk outfit the Interrupters playing two sets on two different stages; America’s most celebrated and longest-lasting ska punk band, Rancid, on the Marine Stage; original Britpunks The Damned on the Billboard Stage; and a slew of indie rock acts playing the indoor venues, including Circa Waves, Foals, Deaf Havana, Electric Pyramid, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Tom Walker. The Mountain Stage ended with a parade of metalish foreign rockers, including Zebrahead, Machine Gun Kelly, and Bring Me the Horizon, but concluded with Japan’s original metal idol group, Baby Metal. Oh, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers played to a packed stadium on the main stage after dark.
Sunday was probably the biggest day of the festival, especially in terms of Japanese pop acts. Virtual YouTube idol Kizuna Ai tested the convention center’s crowd control tactics with a half-hour morning performance on the Rainbow Stage, but the followup act, Lolita-coutured Kyary Pamyu Pamyu assisted by dance music DJ Yasutaka Tanaka drew such a huge crowd that the organizers had to open the side curtains so that folks in the food court outside could join in the fun.
On the main stage two Asian idol acts who have played Coachella, Japan’s Perfume and South Korea’s Blackpink, performed back-to-back in front of a full stadium. They were followed by DJ Zedd and finally the Chainsmokers. Other notable news of the day was the first Japan show since the 1980s by Neneh Cherry, a massively popular Japan debut by Brockhampton on the Mountain Stage, followed by Chvrches, fresh from their cancelled Hong Kong shows. Dance music was also the headline flavor indoors, with Flume on the Sonic Stage and a DJ set from Disclosure at the Mountain Stage.