Monday, 31 August 2009

Magical Camp 2009!

Magical Camp, a small one night festival on the side of a mountain, was really fun! For one thing it's on the side of a mountain so you get views like this:

On the other hand, it's on the side of a mountain, and the campsite is on a ski slope so almost all of the tents are pitched on a crazy incline. But on the third, mutant, hand it's only for one night and the music is non stop from four different stages - so I reckon most people don't even bother going to sleep. I only used my tent as somewhere to dump stuff although Olivia took a nap in it late on. The whole thing takes place in the Teine Highland ski area, and it just looked spectacular. That's the Ishikari bay and the sea of Japan you can see up there, and at night we got the sparkling lights of North Sapporo and Ishikari to look at.

The organisation was bizarrely slap-dash in some ways. For example the first shuttle bus to the site didn't actually get there until after the first act had started, which is just odd, and there were still people setting up lots of things throughout the site until well into the day. But none of that really mattered because the whole thing had a very laid back atmosphere, and, with no artists that I desperately wanted to see, I could really enjoy the whole thing. Of course, dragging my sorry carcass home after much dancing, drinking and no sleep was no fun, but I'd certainly extracted the appropriate amount of enjoyment from the event before then. Also, last time I went to Teine Highland I broke a rib, so this was way better than that.

That's a guy with a giant brush doing an insanely intense kanji writing performance. It was awesome, and afterwards his kanji banners were hung near the main stage. There was a lot of fun stuff going on that wasn't music, and since there were less famous bands and the site was infinitely smaller than Rising Sun it came across as a lot more interesting for me. There was a precarious looking skate ramp, a kind of giant-bicycle-music-box that was pretty fun, a "Living Library" where they had interesting people giving talks to anyone who wanted to listen. And what's more the festival was centred around the ski-lodge so you could use nice indoor toilets and they could set up rooms like this:

Musically, the artists were less famous and more dance oriented - there were a lot of DJs, and... to be honest the kind of music you might describe as "festival fare". However I still saw a bunch of great stuff and because I wasn't expecting much, it was a nice surprise. Katsuhiko played and was awesome, as were Shonen Knife, and the British group Pest, who I'd never heard of but they're on Ninja Tunes and were really fucking good. It was utterly surreal to see a British band playing at a Japanese festival though. I saw a little bit of a couple of small Japanese bands that I liked too - Aoizera Kyoushitsu and... another one that I'll have to look up... so it was cool to find good new music.

If the fates allow, I certainly check it out next year. It was fun, and fairly relaxing although it did get pretty damn cold because you're near the top of a fucking mountain. Still, I love fucking mountains so I could live with that happily enough.

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