THOUSANDS of people are expected to hit Niseko’s Hanazono Ski Resort this weekend to celebrate the 20th Anniversary Hanazono Kutchan Music Festival at the base of the ski hill.
Formerly the Kutchan Jazz Festival, this year the festival will expand to embrace a wide variety of musical types.
Saturday is jazz day
Saturday will showcase the jazz component of the festival, kicking off at midday with amateur jazz clubs and school jazz bands from across Hokkaido taking the stage.
From 4pm the big name acts take the stage, starting with Maya with Akira Matsuo New Frontier Quintet, followed by Kei Akagi Trio and Issei Igarashi (playing trumpet in the linked YouTube video).
Headline act Shakatak
Headlining the festival are British jazz-funk rockers Shakatak, who have toured Japan many times and have a dedicated fan base here.
Shakatak are expected to be taking the stage sometime in the evening, and the day’s events are expected to finish about 9pm.
The party kicks on after the outdoor concert finishes with DJs keeping the rhythm going inside Hanazono’s 308 complex for Electric Thunder @ Hanazono 308 from 9pm to 2am. Tix are Y1000 and the event is open to people who didn’t attend the concert as well.
Sunday is pop/rock day
The second day of the festival will be an eclectic showcase of talent from across Japan as a variety of pop/rock bands and DJs wrap up the weekend, kicking off at 11am and continuing right through until 9pm.
Travelling from Okinawa at the opposite end of Japan is techno band RyukyudisKo, who will be joined by Afra the Human Beatbox, Shinco Schadaraparr, Maekawa Hiroki, MEN?SOUL, Mai Fukui, Ai Kawahara and more.
>> Niseko locals – Y2000/day prepaid or Y3000/day at the gate (must show proof of address)
>> Visitors – Y4500/day prepaid or Y5500/day at the gate, or Y8000/both days prepaid or Y9000/two days at the gate
>> Electric Thunder @ Hanazono 308 – Y1000 at the door
>> Campers – Basic tent sites Y1000, or Y30,000 for sites with a view of the stage (includes entry to concert area and Saturday night party)
More info at www.hanazonomusicfes.com.