Guruguru Mawaru 2010
Saitama Stadium 2002, June 26
By: James Hadfield | Jul 2, 2010 | No Comments | 7,855 views
Shibusashirazu 1

Shibusashirazu Orchestra

You couldn’t accuse Tomoji Takeuchi of lacking ambition. The organizer of Haikou Fes, a one-day indie jamboree held at a former elementary school turned arts centre in 2008 and 2009, was left without a venue after the Shinjuku Geinokadensha refused him permission to host the event there for a third time. When he failed to find another disused school (the literal meaning of “haikou”), he opted for a rather different location.

The basic format hasn’t changed much, but reason for the festival’s new moniker becomes clear even before I’ve got inside. “Guruguru mawaru” literally means “going round and round,” and without any signs to point me in the right direction, I practically lap Saitama Stadium 2002 before finding the entrance. This turns out to set the tone for the rest of the day. The festival settles in to its new home in the way that cockroaches might, filling in the little nooks and crannies while staying clear of the middle. The pitch remains empty, the main stage is on the wrong side of the main wall, and others are scattered along the corridors, working up into the highest reaches of the stadium.

It’s impossible to keep track of everything that’s going on, or even figure out where half of it is. While Haikou Fes occasionally suffered from crowding problems, the opposite is the case here: everything is so spread out, and the audiences sometimes so sparse, that it can feel like an art installation rather than a music festival. That’s not a criticism: I find that I rather enjoy drifting around for the afternoon, following my ears…

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