Japan’s plans to fully re-open the country following the recent lockdown have seen restrictions on distancing for events like concerts slowly lifting in recent weeks. The original plan was to slowly allow more and more people into live venues culminating in August 1st where attendance limits were set to be fully lifted. You even had certain artists, like Momoiro Clover Z, planning concerts that would take advantage of this lifting of restrictions while remaining safe for attendees. Cases of COVID-19 rose, and the group chose to cancel that event, and now the Japanese government have chose to delay the lifting of restrictions on event attendance, potentially putting Supersonic 2020 in doubt.
While many music festivals were quickly canceled back in March as lockdowns were instituted around the world and in Japan, some decided to hold out hope and wait to see what would happen. One of the events that decided to hold out hope was Supersonic 2020, which has continued to announce an eclectic range of local and international artists for the still-on-schedule September event. The event is encouraging distancing and no loud talking at a 60% capacity event for this year, but has otherwise continued to go ahead even as many of the international artists headlining the event.
To host the event even at 60% capacity, the lifting of attendance restrictions are an absolute must, but the rise in COVID cases has caused the government to put a hold on lifting these restrictions at this time. If cases don’t fall, or worse, rise further, it would appear likely that the government would continue to keep these restrictions in place. Even if they are lifted, the volatility of the situation and this delay puts the hosting of the event in doubt.
It’s a risky move, and possibly not a wise one, to continue planning to host such an international, large-scale event under the circumstances. There’s a massive difference between a small live house with a small attendance cap hosting an event and Supersonic, which if the event was held at 60% of 2019’s attendance figures would still see a whopping 80,000 people attending its Tokyo and Osaka venues over the course of 3 days.
And the precautions are not only sensible but necessary. Cases in Japan may only be at roughly 300 per day nationally with most centered in Tokyo, but I’m not sure I would say that such a value was low enough to be holding such a large event.
Currently, Supersonic 2020 is scheduled for between September 19th and 21st in Tokyo and Osaka, and while this delay in lifting attendance restrictions on large-scale events due to COVID-19 doesn’t put the event in jeopardy at this point, maybe it should act as a warning sign.