Almost five years after AVO J-Rock Festival I managed to organise another music festival. I eventually changed the name to AVO J-Music Festival. The reason? I wanted to attract a wider audience than just Japanese rock music, and there was pressure from the theatre who wanted to finish a program book just before spring started: AVO J-Music Festival was born.
The choices of the bands
The bands had not yet been chosen at the time that the festival was printed in the program booklets of the theatre. I felt free to choose which genres I wanted to place at my festival. Various bands had expressed an interest in playing at AVO J-Music Festival, but there is only a limited budget and unfortunately, money can only be spent once. At AVO J-Rock Festival in 2013, there were two groups that had never played in the Netherlands before and a group that had been in the Netherlands often.
My focus was to do this again with two new groups and a group that had previously performed in the Netherlands. The decision to invite Esprit D’Air was not difficult at all, because I followed this band for years from the sidelines. In the last two years, the band was fully engaged in promoting, and the latest album Constellations was very impressive. It was so good that this group finally got an award for best rock/metal album. The band was full of enthusiasm about the offer to perform on the big stage of the Zuiderparktheater.
The second band had already performed in The Hague before and was interested to try it out on a big stage. They had not yet performed in the open air, so there were some ‘first times’ for this theatrical act. REMNANT is originally a group consisting of three persons, but the third person Robert, unfortunately, could not be there to perform at AVO J-Music Festival. But since REMNANT has already acted as a duo in Europe, they did not hesitate to join the big stage in the Zuiderparktheater.
The choice to combine an electronic rock/metal band with a theatrical goth unit had to do with the diversity that both bands had to offer. At first glance, they do not seem to fit together, but in reality, they complement each other. This was also an example of the music genres that I listen to myself, as the programmer. I wanted to add a third band to the whole, but unfortunately, this was not successful because of the budget. Yet I am very satisfied with the bookings of these two bands. With the last minute confirmation of DJ Nachtraaf, the party seemed complete. This DJ from The Hague has already played at a show of REMNANT before and knows how to adapt well to the music genres that could be heard live that night.
Reactions from the bands
A day before the show the two of REMNANT already paid a visit to the open-air theatre to prepare themselves mentally. Before they were at the entrance of the theatre, they already noticed the canopy of the theatre. Once at the podium, the eyes opened: “Awesome, It’s so big!”. Photos were taken to show what the stage looks like when it is not in operation. Esprit D’Air arrived on the site for the first time on the day of the festival and the gentlemen were impressed by the great stage.
Reactions from the audience
REMNANT was a perfect warm-up as a duo. As always, the audience is a bit shy at first. The stands were perfect to sit, but in the end, some of the audience managed to move forward. With Esprit D’Air things started differently because at that time the majority of them were already enthusiastically involved with the band in front of the stage. It was very interesting how they reacted to both bands. But after the performances, I often heard positive things about both acts. They understood the combination of the bands and enjoyed both acts.
Of course, I hoped that the audience would enjoy both acts, but there was a pressure that this should exceed the AVO J-Rock Festival in 2013. I noticed that there were quite some new faces at the festival last September and I even managed to attract audiences from abroad.
With the interesting concerts of Japanese musicians that took place elsewhere in the Netherlands in the same weekend, of course, the numbers were somewhat less than at the time of AVO J-Rock Festival. KPOP is growing considerably in terms of popularity. I knew it was not easy, especially at an outdoor location. If the weather were disappointing, visitors would also be less. This calculation was very simple to make. In my opinion, the number of people who found AVO J-Music Festival worth to visit exceeded my expectations and I am also happy to share this cool experience with them.
A thank you
As in 2013, I have a list of names that I would like to thank, because without them AVO J-Music Festival would not have been possible on 15 September 2018. The first is the location, the Zuiderparktheater in The Hague. This beautiful open-air theatre in the middle of the park was a perfect location. The employees, the volunteers, have worked hard to make this festival run smoothly. Thank you for that!
Without the acts, no festival. Hence my thanks also to the bands Esprit D’Air and REMNANT for the fact that they wanted to perform at the festival. Also thanks to DJ Nachtraaf for taking care of the extra atmosphere around the bands.
There is footage thanks to partner Miyako Studio. For years a great partner to work with and also this time during AVO J-Music Festival. Thanks to Miyako Studio, the two performances can be seen again. I also thank Yoshi Bento and Special Edition for taking care of the food and drinks. I am delighted that you wanted to be there to delight the audience with delicious Japanese treats.
Almost as a last, I thank my mother and grandmother, who were also present at the festival. They are no fans of Japanese music at all, but support me 100% with what I do and I find that very special! They have supported me enormously in advance with the festival.
Finally, I would like to thank the audience and press who came to the festival, from America (actually Germany) to Hungary, even from all parts of the Netherlands: AVO J-Music Festival attracted an international audience, just like its predecessor AVO J- Rock Festival. You ensure that I want to continue organizing concerts and festivals. In the meantime, several reports have already been received online from various media that have been present at the festival. Keep an eye on AVO, because the future looks very interesting!
But for now: reminisce the wonderful AVO J-Music Festival. For those who have not gone: you have definitely missed something!