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Magic Beach is bubbling over with music

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Awa Odori — Japan’s largest dance festival held in Tokushima Prefecture as part of Obon festivities in August — attracts more than a million tourists, who go to enjoy traditional Japanese folk dances.

However, now there’s now a new kind of Awa festival gaining some popularity. “Awa,” which is the former name of Tokushima, can also mean “foam” in Japanese, and the Awa Fes is a bubble-filled dance festival.

On Aug. 16, Awa Fes held at Magic Beach in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, invites visitors to enjoy club music while dancing on a foam-covered ground. As the day wears on, bubbles are constantly replenished by a foam machine.

The festival debuted in Japan in 2012 and its organizers have since held smaller parties at various venues across Japan. The Magic Beach event is the second major Awa Fes. It’s not a new idea — foam parties actually date back to early 1930s — but this modern version is more akin to those held in clubs in Ibiza during the 1990s.

Though using a night-club gimmick, this foam party starts at noon on Saturday and its location, Magic Beach, is a recreational area, which means people of all ages can enjoy the music and use the bubbles to cool down in the summer heat.

Music comes via various musicians, such as RyukyuDisko performing Okinawa’s Ryukyuan and disco music, as well as DJs covering techno, house and other dance-music styles.

And if it all gets a little wet, T-shirts, towels and waterproof pouches can be purchased at the event.

Awa Fes starts at noon on Aug. 16 at Magic Beach, adjacent to the Shin-Toyosu Station on the Yurikamome Line in Tokyo’s Koto Ward. Admission is ¥5,500 on the door. For more information visit awapa.jp/awafes.

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