Japan’s Supersonic Pushes On

Zozo Marine Stadium
Jun Sato / WireImage
– Zozo Marine Stadium
in Chiba, Japan.

The organizers of Japan’s Supersonic are still planning to go ahead with the event on Sept. 18-19 at the Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba city, despite the fact that they had to cancel the Osaka leg of the festival two weeks ago. The one-off rock festival is acting as a stand-in for the annual Summer Sonic festival this year due to the fact that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics used venues normally rented by Summer Sonic.

Supersonic is being billed as the only Japan music festival this year featuring international artists, who cannot at the moment enter Japan to play due to COVID-19 immigration restrictions. However, the promoter, Creativeman Productions, has managed to secure special permission to allow a number of DJs and their crew to enter for the festival. Logistics with regard to limited movements in line with pandemic rules made it impossible for the DJs to move between Osaka and Chiba so that both legs of the festival could take place the same weekend, so only Chiba is proceeding.
However, on Sept. 1, the mayor of Chiba held a press conference where he announced that he had asked Creativeman to either postpone Supersonic or reduce the scale due to a surge in infections caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19. If Supersonic isn’t postponed, he wants Creativeman to limit the number of attendees to 5,000 a day. According to Creativeman, so far 13,000 ticketholders are expected to show up each day of the festival. The mayor said that if Creativeman does not heed his request, he would pull the city’s sponsorship.
Postponing the festival would be out of the question, since it would likely be very difficult for the foreign DJs who are the main draw to change their schedules, not to mention reapply for visas that were already granted under special circumstances. As for limiting the number of attendees, Creativeman would have to figure out some way to choose which ticketholders would be permitted to enter and which would be given a refund. (Experts on social media say that, even with 13,000 tickets a day sold, Creativeman is probably already losing money.) It’s not clear just what kind of sponsorship deal the city of Chiba has with the festival, but at the moment the show will go on. 
In other Japan festival news, Music Circus ’21, a festival that is slated to take place October 23 & 24 in Osaka, announced that it would only admit ticketholders who 1) produce proof that they have completed the vaccination process of two shots, 2) produce negative results of a PCR test that was administered within 72 hours of the start of the festival, or 3) submit to an antigen test at the time of admission with the results being negative. The organizers of the festival say they came up with these protocols by studying overseas festivals that have taken place in recent months.