Surf, Sand, Ska Bands and 5 Other Things We Saw at Yokohama’s Greenroom Festival

It was a scorching weekend at Yokohama’s historic Red Brick Warehouse with a record 120,000 revelers in attendance at the 15th anniversary of the Greenroom Festival.

The annual celebration of beach and surf culture is a harmonious gathering where people can enjoy live music, artwork, movies and more, while environmental efforts to protect the ocean take center stage.

Here are just a few things we saw over the course of this two-day seaside festival.

The Cult Heroes of Ska

Highlights on the opening day included the smooth jazz and funk-influenced pop sounds of Nulbarich and the American ska band, Fishbone, on the Blue Sky stage. Meanwhile popular hip hop group Kick the Can Crew, gentlemen rockers, The Bawdies, and local favorites, Crazy Ken Band, delighted fans on the Good Wave stage.

Grammy Nominees and Hanabi

Headline act, Leon Bridges, whose debut album Coming Home was nominated for a Best R & B album at the 58th annual Grammy Awards, wowed the crowd with his energetic performance as the night drew to a close. The title track from Coming Home was particularly well received. The fact that it was accompanied by fireworks made the set even more exciting.

J-Pop Legends

The following day’s activities began with the popular Okinawan indie rock band, HY taking to the stage, though out of all the domestic acts, it was probably Chara (born Miwa Watabiki) who got the got the biggest reception of the weekend. The legendary artist is most well-known for her hit song, “Swallowtail Butterfly” that featured in Shunji Iwai’s film of the same name.

The British Invasion

Two British artists saw the evening out: R&B singer/songwriter and two-time Grammy award winner, Corinne Bailey Rae, followed by Tom Misch, whose debut album peaked at number eight in the U.K. charts. A unique talent, the 23-year-old is seen as one of London’s most promising musicians. Listening to his catchy beats and soothing vocals was a wonderful way to conclude an enjoyable weekend.

Yoga, Documentaries and Disco

In addition to all the music, there was a selection of films being screened including the documentary, Trouble, about four-time world surfing champion, Lisa Anderson, and the critically acclaimed marine conservation documentary, BLUE. The ocean was also the main theme of the artwork on display. Other activities included a disco for kids and yoga workshops.

Those looking for more of the same need only wait a few months. The Greenroom’s sister event known as the Local Green Festival will take place between August 31 and September 1 at the Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama.

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