Asia News: Fuji Rock Falsely Reported Cancelled, Hyundai Sponsors Drive-In In South Korea
Fuji Rock Falsely Reported Cancelled
On May 22, Japan’s main financial daily, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, mistakenly ran a story saying that the Fuji Rock Festival, set to take place at the end of August, had been cancelled. According to Kyodo news service, the story appeared on the newspaper’s website just after midnight on Thursday with the headline, “Cancellation Of Fuji Rock Means Summer Without A Rock Festival, Reform Seen Unavoidable To Music Business.”
Smash Corporation, the organizer of the festival, which is slated to take place Aug. 21-23 at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture, did not release any announcement saying that the festival had been cancelled, and on Friday Nihon Keizai Shimbun retracted the article and apologized, saying it had been mistaken.
Apparently, the story had been written beforehand in the expectation that the festival would be cancelled. The date of the announcement was circled in black, thus indicating that the correct date would be filled in at a later date. Somehow, the story was released accidentally, and the newspaper says it is investigating the cause of the error.
Nevertheless, the mistake follows a string of high-profile cancellations of summer concert tours and festivals, including Japan’s biggest rock festival, Rock In Japan, which was supposed to take place in the beginning of August, as well as the September tour of domed stadiums by Sekai no Owari, one of Japan’s biggest rock groups.
On May 25 the Japanese government lifted the state of emergency for the entire country, which had been in place for two months, and while businesses are still exercising caution with regard to social distancing guidelines, most of Japan is expected to be back to some kind of semblance of normality by the end of June, though Prime Minister Shinzo Ave warns that it may be many more months before full economic activity is back to normal.
Smash has not added any acts to the Fuji Rock roster since the first week of April, so the company is obviously taking a cautious approach. Most likely, the festival’s fate will depend on whether the foreign acts already pledged to appear, including Tame Impala, The Strokes and Jackson Browne, fulfill that pledge in the coming weeks.
One positive sign is that the organizers of the Golden Wave Concert, a two-day festival to help inaugurate the new Tokyo Garden Theater in the capital, have said that the event will definitely take place Aug. 4-5, but with extra precautions. Body temperatures will be taken for all entrants, face masks will be mandatory and disinfectants will be placed throughout the venue. The festival will feature high-profile acts from South Korea.
Also, Super Sonic, the three-day rock festival that replaces the long-running Summer Sonic festival in Tokyo and Osaka this year, but in September rather than the customary August, seems more confident about its chances and announced another batch of additional acts, including Black Eyed Peas, Clean Bandit, Steve Aoki, Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Nulbarich. The 1975, Post Malone, Liam Gallagher, Wu-Tang Clan and Fatboy Slim are already on the roster. The festival takes place September 19-21.
As for the resumption of “live houses” and smaller concert venues, a government representative on May 25 told parliament that it would set up a panel of industry experts to study the matter. If the panel can assure the government that infections would not spread with the opening of concert establishments, the government could allow them to reopen as early as mid-June. In addition, the government said it would raise the amount of the “sustaining subsidy” for such businesses to 2 million yen ($18,500) so that they can implement safety control measures. Apparently, the government is intent on opening the tourist sector first and if that is successful, they will then open the concert business.
(Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images) – Korea Drive-In
In a photo taken on May 23, 2020, a child looks out from the sun roof of a car during a drive-in concert in a parking lot in Goyang amid social gathering concerns due to the covid-19 novel coronavirus. – The three-day event was held by Hyundai motors.
South Korea Hosts Drive-In
South Korea held a drive-in concert for three days over the weekend of May 23 at a site on the outskirts of Seoul. The concert, called Stage X Drive-in Concert, was organized and sponsored by Hyundai Motors, the country’s biggest car manufacturer. All concertgoers enjoyed the show from the safety of their automobiles.
Three hundred cars containing about 1,000 people were admitted each day of the festival. According to Business Korea, the program included a pop concert featuring performances by major K-pop acts and indie bands, including Kim Tae-woo, Ailee, Moon Band and Sultan of Disco. There were also production numbers from Broadway musical “42nd Street” and a set of classical music pieces by the New World Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nanse Gum.
It was not the first time Stage X was held. The first edition took place last year, but this year’s event was special since there have been no live concerts in Korea since the beginning of the year owing to the pandemic.
In a statement, the head of Hyundai’s global marketing division said, “Given the challenging times we live in and the limitations we will face going forward, it was important for us to find ways to celebrate culture and shared experiences safely. The times call for new ways of doing things, and we will continue to find innovative ways to empower our customers with cars.”
One Love Asia Stages With Massive Star Power
One Love Asia, a four-hour streamed concert featuring dozens of the biggest pop stars from all over Asia, was broadcast on WebTVAsia and YouTube starting at 8 p.m. Hong Kong time on May 27.
The purpose of the concert is to raise funds for Unicef Asia, which is helping children during the COVID-19 crisis. Among the acts that are participating are Karen Mok, Choi Siwon, AKB48, Exile Akira, Jeong Eun-ji of Apink, Morning Musume, G.E.M., Jack Neo, Morissette, Christian Bautista and Andi Rianto.
One Love Asia started in 2016 with the participation of artists from all over Asia in festival-like concert settings staged in Singapore and other major cities to highlight the work of major new Asian talent.