As if making friends wasn’t already a challenge, the pandemic made it even tougher by limiting in-person social interactions. Fortunately, there are plenty of laid-back outdoor music events that can help you reconnect with people. Unlike mega-events, these gatherings have a more relaxed atmosphere and encourage interaction. With the summer heat giving way to cooler months, it’s a great time to consider adding some of these events to your calendar.
In the language of flowers, the matricaria symbolizes the “joy of gathering,” which exemplifies this music event. The gathering takes place at Iwaki no Sato Onigajo in Fukushima, a location with fantastic views of the Abukuma Mountains and stunning night skies. Performers include Berlin-based artist Kangding Ray, hypnotic techno DJ Ness and house music collective CYK.
When: Sep 16-18
2. FFKT 2023 Izu Shirahama
FFKT 2023 Izu Shirahama is a spinoff of FFKT which is usually held in spring. This time, it’s all about enjoying “great music by the beach,” and the location fits the theme. FFKT stands for “Festival Formerly Known as Taicoclub,” an event which had a remarkable 12-year run. With two stages, attendees can groove to the tunes of analogue music enthusiast Donna Leake and the percussion-driven beats of Jasmín. While camping is not an option here, it is a fantastic location, in front of the ocean.
When: Sep 23-24
3. Otsukimi – Open Air
This year marks the fourth year of Otsukimi – Open Air, a festival that takes place annually during the autumn equinox under the full harvest moon. Held at the Hakuba Alps Auto Campground, participants can expect to be blown away by the surrounding forests and rivers that are sure to complement the exciting performances of Swedish producer Sebastian Mullaert and local favorite Chris SSG.
When: Sep 29-Oct 1
Metamorphose is back after an eight-year break, featuring legendary hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa and English techno producer Darren Emerson, known for his work with Underworld. The venue faces Mount Fuji and is divided into two sections: the energetic all-night Lunar camp area and the peaceful Solar area for those seeking a good night’s rest. Participants can choose to attend specific days rather than buying tickets for the entire event.
When: Oct 14-15
5. Pacific Mode
Acting as a bridge between Tokyo and New York, Pacific Mode brings the club to the outdoors for the first time. Located conveniently in Kawasaki for Tokyo residents, get ready to dance to electronic beats presented by Berlin-based DJ Fart in the Club, along with local talents such as Lil Mofo at this urban party.
When: Oct 21-22
As the chill of winter sets in and outdoor events become less appealing, a music oasis in Okinawa offers the perfect remedy. Agaitida, named after the Okinawan word for “sunrise,” spans three days at the northernmost tip of the main island. This year’s lineup features Aoki Takamasa, DJ Nobu and Wata Igarashi.
When: Nov 17-19
We went to an open-air music festival earlier this year: