Earth Celebration 2024

AUG. 16

FRI

17

SAT

18

SUN

Ogi, Sado Island, Niigata

NEWS

GET INVOLVED

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ABOUT

About EC

Sado Island’s annual music festival Earth Celebration has been connecting and delighting people from around the globe for 37 years.

ABOUT EC

Every year since 1988, the rich natural splendor of Sado has set the stage for arts and culture festival Earth Celebration (EC). Hosted by world-renowned taiko ensemble Kodo and its home, Sado Island, EC seeks an alternative global culture through musical and cultural collaborations with artists and festivalgoers from around the world. The result is three days of exciting performances featuring Kodo and special guests, unique opportunities to enjoy the culture, nature, and tastes of Sado, and much more. Earth Celebration 2024 will be held from Aug. 16 (Fri)–18 (Sun).

How to Make the Most of EC

① Immerse yourself in live music and nature at seaside concerts

The festival’s main event is a series of three outdoor Harbour Concerts, held each evening during the three days of EC. You can enjoy music performed by Kodo and guest artists from Japan and abroad, elevated by beautiful sunsets and starry night skies. Set in Ogi Port Park, enjoy the sea breeze and feel-good taiko (Japanese drums) rhythms coupled with the sound of lapping waves. If the beat moves you, head to the dance area during the performance to groove to your heart's content.

① Immerse yourself in live music and nature at seaside concerts① Immerse yourself in live music and nature at seaside concerts

② Try something new at one of the fun workshops

Every year, EC presents a unique, eclectic range of workshops. The lineup differs each year and can include: ・singing, dancing, and musical instrument workshops led by guest artists from Japan and abroad ・taiko and instrument workshops by Kodo ・workshops sharing Sado Island’s folk performing arts such as Onidaiko (demon deity dance and drumming) and folk dance Ogi Okesa ・Japanese folk performing arts from other regions throughout Japan ・handcraft workshops

② Try something new at one of the fun workshops② Try something new at one of the fun workshops

③ Enjoy free entertainment at the Fringe Stage

At Earth Celebration, the Fringe stage offers a wide range of free performances. The stage is set up in a park in Ogi along with food and refreshment stalls, so you can relax outside with great music and tasty treats. There are two types of performances on the lineup: Fringe and Special Fringe. Fringe performances are acts selected from general applications, while Special Fringe performances feature artists and groups invited by EC.

*EC’s Fringe was inspired by the renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe: the performances staged on the periphery of Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland. In Edinburgh, there are numerous performances every year—ticketed and free, by professionals and amateurs—throughout the city during the festival.

③ Enjoy free entertainment at the Fringe Stage③ Enjoy free entertainment at the Fringe Stage

④ Bask in Sado Island’s beautiful nature

On Sado Island, you can enjoy the great outdoors through a range of activities. In 2023, EC offered Sado Experience Programs such as “Explore the Kotoura Caves by Speedboat”, “Beautiful Sea and Stunning Locations by Kayak”, and “Tarai-bune (Tub Boat) Sunset and Twilight Experience”, helping festivalgoers discover some of the beautiful seascapes unique to this remote island. Stay tuned for our 2024 lineup!

④ Bask in Sado Island’s beautiful nature④ Bask in Sado Island’s beautiful nature

⑤ Eat, drink, and shop to your heart’s content

At EC, you can enjoy mouth-watering foods, tasty drinks, and unique shopping experiences in various places around town. Here’s four we recommend checking out during the festival.

The first one is Harbour Market, a lively marketplace located next to the main concert venue. It is packed with stalls offering an eclectic array of food, drinks, handcrafts, clothing, and more, from Sado and around the world. Enjoy browsing through the unique offerings and soaking up the festive atmosphere.

Harbour MarketHarbour Market

The second one is Triangle Park, which serves as EC’s Fringe venue. Here you can sit on the lawn or under a tree and watch free performances while enjoying delicious food and cold drinks including Sado's local craft beer.

Triangle ParkTriangle Park

The third one is EC Shop, located upstairs at Marine Plaza Ogi (EC Information Centre). This is where you’ll find a range of official EC and Kodo merchandise, some of which is designed by members of Kodo. It’s a good place to bump into Kodo members, too, so pop in if you’d like to say hi or get something signed. Popular items usually sell out early on at EC, so we recommend stopping by sooner rather than later.

EC ShopEC Shop

The fourth food and shopping hub we recommend is Ogi Shopping Street. During the festival, stroll through the main-street Earth Celebration Fair, where local restaurants, cafes and stores band together to liven up the festival, along with EC-exclusive pop-up stalls. Every year, customers enjoy banter with the local shopkeepers here and end up becoming their friends and repeat customers.

local Ogi Shopping Streetlocal Ogi Shopping Street

⑥ Get to know the Kodo members better

Kodo members are actively involved in the planning of EC. Every year, they plan events during EC to connect with their audience in new ways, showing you sides to Kodo that you don’t get to see on stage. Recent offering include: *exhibitions of photos taken by Kodo members on their global tours *live radio broadcasts with an all-welcome, in-studio audience *roving performances through Ogi with festivalgoers, living up the town with feel-good taiko beats

⑥ Get to know the Kodo members better⑥ Get to know the Kodo members better

International Earth Celebration

EC is held in a rural Japanese town that transforms into a vibrant international arts scene during the festival. It’s quite the transformation. It’s been a global event since the very first EC back in 1988, thanks to the international guest artists and the many festivalgoers from overseas who answered the call to join Kodo for a festival in its hometown. As a port, Ogi has always served as a gateway, warmly welcoming visitors from afar to the island. Even so, when EC began, locals recall their surprise at the sudden influx of foreigners and their trouble communicating with each other. But after a few years, the people of Ogi learned that they didn’t need to speak English: they could communicate with the global visitors through their hospitality. Today, you’ll see local residents happily engaging with visitors from throughout Japan and around the world, enjoying the three days when their little town has a truly global feel.

Today, it has become a common sight to see guests from different parts of the world and Japan, interacting with local residents within the Ogi town during the EC period.

EC has enjoyed rave reviews from international media and attendees, notably described by the New York Times as “Japan’s leading music event.” In 2018, Earth Celebration was ranked No. 1 for International Visitor Satisfaction on Travel Site “japan-guide.com”.

International Earth CelebrationInternational Earth Celebration

Earth Celebration in Recent Unprecedented Times

In 2020 and 2021, Earth Celebration was held exclusively online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Host artist Kodo rose to this challenge by reaching out to past guest artists to create new online collaborations for the festival. The ensemble also produced concerts and sightseeing content to delight the online audiences, bringing them to various parts of Sado Island through their screens. This unprecedented situation was a chance for EC to pivot and find new ways to connect with its audience, enjoying the festival together apart.

While EC didn’t stop during the COVID-19 pandemic, the closed border meant that no overseas guest artists or attendees could come to the festival. In 2023, EC was delighted to welcome the first international guest in four years: The Voices of South Africa from Johannesburg. Appearing in Japan for the first time, their collaboration with Kodo blended rich, powerful vocals and joyous dance from South Africa with the resonant, soulful sound of Kodo’s taiko music. The result was a life-affirming euphoric performance, conjured by profound musical and cultural exchange beyond borders and genres

Earth Celebration during the COVID-19 PandemicEarth Celebration during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Intent Behind Earth Celebration

In the festival’s name, “Earth” has a double meaning. Earth is this planet, our home. This word choice also incorporates the idea that EARTH = E + ART +H: the environment (E) and humans (H) are connected by ART.

Rather than a festival or party, “Celebration” refers to a thanksgiving for our blessings. The name Earth Celebration signals a time and space to give thanks and rejoice the many blessings of the Earth and nature.

Kodo’s first managing director, Toshio Kawauchi, came up with the initial concept for Earth Celebration almost four decades ago. It remains at the heart of the event today. Surrounded by nature on Sado, this event aims to bring myriad cultures together to intertwine and meld, conjuring new forms of global culture

“Through world music and artistic exchange, using the natural beauty of Sado to set the stage, I would like this event to be an experiment in strengthening the community ties of all the earth’s inhabitants. Then, through our mutual understanding, we can establish a new earth culture, bringing us one step closer to a world where human beings can truly live as human beings.

Under a star-filled summer night sky, with the beat of the drum carried far away on the ocean’s roar as the sound of Gamelan and sacred Shinto music fill the air… that is the vision I wish to bring into reality.” —Toshio Kawauchi

The Intent Behind Earth Celebration

Earth Celebration Awards List

1994 Niigata Prefecture Regional Revitalization Award – Special Prize 1994 The Japan Foundation Global Citizens Award 2008 Furusato Event Grand Prize by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications 2009 Tiffany Foundation Award for the Preservation of Japanese Traditional Arts and Culture in Contemporary Society

NEWS

GET INVOLVED

Earth Celebration 2024

AUG. 16

FRI

17

SAT

18

SUN

Ogi, Sado Island, Niigata

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佐渡汽船