Boasting its biggest lineup to date, the 10th edition of Miyagi Prefecture’s Arabaki Rock Fest includes nearly 120 acts. Attracting an average annual weekend crowd of 35,000, the outdoor concert features six stages of live music from morning till night on Saturday and Sunday. Those staying overnight will have access to extra tunes with performances running later in the camping area.
Among Arabaki Fest’s top draws are innovative pop singer UA teaming up with Yoshie Nakano, from jazz-hybrid group Ego-Wrappin’, and iconic rock ‘n’ roller Kenichi Asai, of Jude, Sherbets, Blankey Jet City and Ajico fame (the latter being a side project helmed by him and UA). Other big performers include Okinawan melodic punks Mongol800 and gritty blues-rock band The Birthday, who are taking a break from their 40-date Japan headlining jaunt for February’s “Star Blows,” their fourth full-length, to play.
Canadians The Silver Hearts and Ohbijou will both make their Japanese debut at the event. The 10-member strong The Silver Hearts mix country, blues and roots music into a sound they’ve dubbed “beer brothel folkestra,” while burgeoning indie sextet Ohbijou received praise for the gorgeous orchestral folk pop on 2009′s “Beacons.” (Shawn Despres)
Arabaki Rock Fest takes place May 1-2 at Eco Camp Michinoku in Miyagi Prefecture. Gates open at 9 a.m. on May 1 and 8 a.m. on May 2. Tickets cost ¥8,000 per day and camping passes are ¥4,000. For more information, visit www.arabaki.com