In a rather bullish statement from the organizers of the event in the hope of a return to normal after the 2020 Olympics this summer, Supersonic 2021 aims to be the first Japanese music event to invite international artists.
While we have seen the gradual return of music festivals this year, following a complete wipeout of the calendar in Japan in 2020 due to COVID-19, many have relied more heavily on domestic artists than normal because of strict entry requirements from the Japanese government alongside lower capacities. As a result, Fuji Rock Festival have a still-impressive all-domestic lineup for the planned August event, and in one of the earliest festivals to take place in pandemic Japan, Viva la Rock Festival announced that the requirements for the event resulted in zero COVID cases associated with the event.
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Still, many of the largest Japanese music festivals rely on major international artists just as much as domestic, so a true return to normalcy relies on their return. In a new statement from the organizers of Supersonic 2021, there are plans for it to be the first Japanese festival to invite international artists for the rendition set for Tokyo and Osaka in September.
Supersonic 2020 was postponed after an overly optimistic hope that events would be possible in September 2020, but tickets will be valid for anyone who chose not to refund following last year’s cancelation. The clear hope from the organizers is that, with vaccine programs hopefully further underway by September and the Olympics finally behind us, a look forward towards a safe way to return to live events could be possible.
Still, even this may be premature. Japan’s strict entry requirements have kept out even those wishing to enter the country for work purposes for all of 2021, and the hope that this could change so soon after the Olympics seems too good to be true. Especially if any further spike in cases occurs. Festivals relying on domestic artists like Fuji Rock are still selling out their capacities and building hype, and not relying on international artists prevents potentially major gaps opening up in lineups last minute. Organizers Creativeman have worked heavily with bringing in international artists pre-COVID, but this seems too soon to be returning to such plans.
Whatever happens, whether the event goes ahead and what artists attend, Supersonic 2021 is currently set to take place on 18-19 September in both Osaka and Tokyo.