By Daniel Ostrander
Woodstock, Farm Aid, Altamont: when thinking of the greatest festivals of the past, does anyone really remember why they were started? No, all they remember is the music (and, in Altamont’s case, the savage hippy beatings).
However, this by no means detracts from all of the good these festivals did: the awareness raised, the money collected, the hippies beaten. Over the years, even the noble Nagoya Walkathon has felt this pull, as more and more of their patrons would rather sit and listen to some good music than walk anywhere not near a beer stand. This year will be no different as the main and secondary stages are so packed full of talent and excellent bands, it’s as if some demigod of music promotion organized it him or herself.
Unlike the previous events, the 2012 Walkathon stage will welcome acts from as far away as Tokyo, including Bands of Japan winners, The Watanabes. Along with fellow BoJ act Adas Mexico, the audience will be well covered in the indie rock department. Finishing out the list of Japanzine faves, Vinny Vintage is back this year; his fans curious how he will ever follow up his controversial 2010 performance.
Also returning is everyone’s favorite Japanese electro-pop and rock act, Budo Grape. Their fans, the Grape Heads, are eager to see how they’ll fare on the big stage with their new keyboardist. However, replacing one member is nothing compared to long-thought-gone-forever Fishtank TV, who are back after having last played 5 years ago with an entirely new lineup save for front man Steve Pottinger.
But it’s not just original acts and live music this year. DJ Ghost Willy will be pushing the limits of what the Walkathon committee allows played, and, in a stark contrast, The Hospys will perform their crowd pleasing covers of hits from the past. Dance performances from Nagoya Swings, The Shooters Steppers, hula and belly dancing groups will bring a much appreciated dash of culture, while on the second stage, talented singer-songwriters such as David Dycus will offer a respite from the rock.
Rounding out this motley crew are this year’s headliners, The Ghost of Matsubara, who are making their third return to the stage. Rumors abound over potential new material, and whether or not the family-friendly atmosphere can handle another helping of Tom, Mike and Tak’s raucous sound and unfettered masculinity.
Now, if it will make you and your conscience feel better, go ahead and tell your friends that you’re attending the Walkathon to help those less fortunate. However, we’ll both know better, won’t we?