Traveling abroad for a festival can be a daunting task, but also be a rewarding one. We recently went to the land of the rising sun for the first annual Electric Daisy Carnival Japan April 29-30 at ZOZO Marine Stadium, which attracted 84,000 fans during Japan’s Golden Holiday Week. Insomniac brought three of its signature stages we all know and love, hundreds of costumed performers, and the roaming Boombox Art Car, plus headliners from across the globe. EDC is gaining much regard as this festival expands its roots in various countries and we were ecstatic for the opportunity to take a journey across the Pacific Ocean.
Per usual, the stages were awe inspiring and spread out perfectly throughout the venue to prevent overcrowding. The kineticCATHEDRAL stage drew massive crowds inside the baseball stadium and was a delight to see as it was a piece of EDC nostalgia from a few years prior. Just a few steps away from the main stage was the circuitGROUNDS stage sitting on the beach with views of glistening blue water of Tokyo Bay. Trust us when we say this was the BEST location anyone could ask for. Lastly, the neonGARDEN stage transported guests into an underground club with fun decor, lasers, and plenty of groovy vibes.
In comparison to larger festivals here in the states, there were some notable differences in overall experience and culture one may not (or may) expect. Long, painstaking lines to get in? Non-existent! One can attest to variations in attendance numbers, but it was apparent that Japan has their system down. It seems that drugs and paraphernalia are not as largely targeted at events in Japan versus America. Upon entry, security did not pat us down, nor did we have to take off shoes, or go through any crazy processes. They searched bags, checked IDs, and everyone was able to enter rather quickly. Call that a win for the day!
It was also nice that there were two different entry points; one for single day passes and VIP, and another for two day passes which kept a lot of lines at bay. Another noticeable difference is the amount of overall good vibes and positivity. Now, we aren’t saying that this isn’t a common occurrence at North American festivals, and of course everyone’s experiences are different. However, while being observant, it was apparent that most everyone was extremely respectful of one another. Japanese culture as a whole generally exudes this type of aura and it was nice to see. Plus, there were honestly just a lot of smiling faces and excitement among the crowd. What’s not to enjoy!?
Finally, we soon understood that Japan has very strict laws and enforcement around drugs and alcohol, but this doesn’t mean they are non-trusting of their citizens. For example, before entering the venue one was able to drink alcohol in the park area openly without cause for alarm. Staff were everywhere to oversee safety of their patrons. Plus, a dedicated garbage and recycling crew ensured clean and well-cared for areas. This was visible both inside and outside the venue.
Wading through seas of empty water bottles and waste was absent, and we didn’t see or hear of anything chaotic. In fact, every medic tent we passed was virtually empty. It is with belief that the overall environment was a positive one and that headliners were having a fantastic time. These positive elements of EDC Japan cause us to think about how we treat event space in our festival culture. Keep these things in mind as you go to your next festival. Remember to be conscious of yourself, your safety, and the waste you produce; leave every event as if you were never there.
We observed many other memorable moments about the festival as well, and here are some of our honorable mentions . . .
- Japanese street food vendors: yum! Also, they are not overly expensive.
- Beer & alcohol inside the venue was slightly cheaper than most US venues
- Official EDC Merchandise only had one location, and it sold out FAST!
- Good amount of seating, including tables, smoking areas, grass, and beach front to chill out on.
Needless to say we had a great time and would certainly return. Have you traveled internationally for a festival? What have been your experiences? Share your responses in the comments!