New day in music festivals is rising.

As we make our way out of the shadows of the COVID-19 restrictions, one thing making a welcome return are festivals and music festivals in particular. And among all these returning events the city of Los Angeles, California, is getting a real treat with the first-ever Rising Japan MusicFest, an all-Japanese themed outdoor music festival with lots of other treats planned. This two-day event has a very diverse group of musical acts that are either Japanese, of Japanese heritage, or active in Japan.

They all cover a wide range of styles from the J-Pop stylings of Johnnys’ Jr. group Travis Japan, pop-punk tunes of A Page Unturned, smooth island vibes of Rocco808, legendary rapping of Zeebra, and much more.

▼ I like to think of Zeebra as the Japanese KRS-One

That all probably sounds great, but I’m just getting started! There’s also booths with Japanese cultural items on display, such as kimonos which can even be bought at the event. There’s also a load of great Japanese food and drink from sushi, yakisoba, and ramen, to Ito En green tea and a selection of over 15 sake brands.

▼ And let’s not forget the bubble party!

In fact, when I told my California-born editor Casey about this, he told me that the restaurant Shin-Sen-Gumi, which is serving the skewered grilled chicken known as “yakitori” at Rising Japan MusicFest, has – and I quote – “some of the best yakitori I’ve ever eaten, and that’s including restaurants in Japan.” He also assured me that this judgement was arrived at before consuming several glasses of Asahi Super Dry at their restaurant, while his taste buds were still at sober-level performance, so it should be accurate.

This was a very surprising remark, and coming from any SoraNews24 writer who has written about and reviewed grilled chicken extensively over the years it carries a lot of weight, so I felt compelled to investigate.

I first went to the head of SoraNews24, Yoshio, and demanded that the company fly me across the Pacific to the Silverlakes Sports Complex where Rising Japan MusicFest was being held on 11 and 12 June. I was then told to go to Hell, but when I went to make the reservations and discovered that Hell actually was in Michigan and not California, it was already too late to tell him about his mistake.

So I did the next best thing and reached out to interview one of the MCs of the festival Tiffany to hopefully shed some light on this incendiary chicken controversy that has gripped our two nations in my mind.

▼ As the video shows, Tiffany is sharing MC duties with Sera Kagame and Kenji Tamura

– Hello Tiffany. I’m sure you’re quite busy so soon to the event, so thank you very much for taking the time to answer a few questions. How did you get involved in Rising Japan MusicFest, and since this is the first time it’s being held, what are your hopes for the event?

Good friends of mine who are putting together Rising Japan MusicFest are the organizers of OC Japan Fair, which I had the honor of MC-ing for last year. OC Japan Fair celebrates Japanese culture through food, drinks, toys and products, contests, and live entertainment. It has gained awareness and popularity throughout the years, bringing in over 38,000 people over the course of the three-day event this past year. The only thing was, due to the type of venue we had restrictions on the volume and hours for the on-stage entertainment.
The organizers wanted to try their hand at an event purely focused on Japanese music. They wished for an opportunity to showcase and share the experience of Japanese music at its full potential and to provide Japanese artists both from Japan and in the U.S. a platform to perform.

My “hopes” for the event? I guess for everyone to have a good time. Whether you recognize the OG Japanese artist and bask in nostalgia, or are new to it, I hope the music and culture resonates with our guests and that we all have a good time!

– There’s quite an eclectic group of performers during the weekend. Are there any artists in particular that you’re personally excited to see on stage? Also, are there any special booths or attractions you’re looking forward to?

I know this sounds scripted, but I am honestly looking forward to all of the artists. We do have an eclectic group of performers, each unique and representing various genres and eras of Japanese music. OG rapper Zeebra, who opened the door to hip hop in Japanese culture, Jawaiian (Japanese Hawaiian) vibes from Micro of Def Tech, MINMI, a female artist who I consider the OG music festival queen in Japan, Nulbarich, who’s just cool and vibey, and Travis Japan, a boy band with lots of dancing, and many more talented artists.

– Now, if I may get serious for a moment and breach a highly controversial topic. I have it on good authority that Shin-Sen-Gumi, who will be serving food at Rising Japan MusicFest, has the best yakitori in the world…even better than in Japan. Can you confirm or deny this?

You would have to come see for yourself!

– Sorry to put you on the spot like this, and thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us.

That unfortunately didn’t get me any closer to the truth about Shin-Sen-Gumi and their reportedly undefeatable chicken, so it would seem that Tiffany was right in that the only way to know for sure is to go to Rising Japan MusicFest and check it out firsthand.

But if you’re like me and cannot attend because you accidentally made arrangements to go to a small Midwestern town, many of the acts, including Travis Japan, Micro, and Minmi, will be livestreamed on the Rising Japan MusicFest website where you can also send tips directly to your favorite artists while they perform.

It looks like it’ll be a lot of fun and hopefully grow even bigger as the years go by.

Event information
Rising Japan Music Festival 2022
Silverlakes Sports Complex
5555 Hamner Ave., Norco, CA
Dates: 11 June (12pm – 10pm), 12 June (12pm – 8pm)
Livestream webpage

Images: ©Rising Japan MusicFest
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