April 13, 2008, Hazu, Japan. Meet Shige and Mik-chan, the organizers of the Rock on the Rock Festival in Hazu, a beach resort just outside of Nagoya city. Shige owns a nightclub in Tokyo called The Loft Project, where I am invited to play next on my next tour. Mik-chan produces music events in Nagoya. This is their tenth year producing this festival.
They did this festival with a lot of style. For one thing, all of the musicians and staff were guests in a first class hotel…
…with a view of the ocean from every room and TWO onsen (hot springs spas) downstairs.
I was issued an All Access Pass, so I could go anywhere during the festival..,
…and a festival t-shirt…
…with my name on it as a headliner. Wow!
Here’s the festival schedule. I play in the afternoon on the second day.
Kaorico gave me a gorgeous set of new clothes to wear at the festival…
…and she sold my books and CDs at her booth…
…and what a booth it is…
…complete with driftwood sculpture.
Next booth over from hers is the Slow Turtle (referencing the Slow Life movement) t-shirt booth, owned and produced by her ex-husband and dear friend Haru.
I love Haru’s sign “Welcome to Heaven.” That’s how it felt at the festival that day.
Looking down to the dome stage and the beach from Kaorico and Haru’s booths…
…and the driftwood gate through which festival goers passed to visit the booths.
Behind the booths was a picnic area for staff only, overlooking the ocean, with barbeque grills beside the tables. We were offered trays of vegetables, fish and meats, which we could grill on the barbeque. Kaorico and I made a vegan selection and she grilled it for us. Oishi! (Delicious!)
Down by the dome stage, where I played later, stood two more booths…
…one of which, Paraiso, was a beauty salon that also sold records and books.
The next day at the hotel, owner of Paraiso told me he’s going to carry my records and books in his store!
Before my set, I enjoyed listening to an avant-garde piano and drum duo…
…And just before my set, the world music band Tayuta, with their wonderful singer, Hirono.
The audience was dancing wildly to their music.
The day after the festival, I met the members of Tayuta in the hotel lobby and we planned to meet again in Tokyo.
My wonderful translator, Mackie, is the leader of a rural commune based band called the Mountain Rockers.
We kept telling jokes. We had the best time. People said we were like an old married couple.
I couldn’t have wanted a more ideal environment to present my music as that psychedelically decorated dome. I’m playing my Pro Series Traveler Guitar, a great little electric guitar that fits in the overhead compartment.
Of course, I also brought my good old workhorse Guild F45CE, in a sturdy Gator flight case. I need two guitars when I perform, so that I don’t have to bore the audience by re-tuning the guitar every time I change from standard to open tuning.
The next day, Kaorico and I drove back to Hayama, and were blown away by a sunset view of Mount Fuji as we passed the town of Fujikawa (Fuji River).