by Vivian Morelli

Ditch your hiking shoes and camping gear, but don’t forget to pack your sunscreen: Summer Sonic will bring the festival season back to the city.

A short (and cheap!) train ride away in Chiba prefecture, Summer Sonic has been building a solid reputation over the last decade. Featuring, as usual, an eclectic mix of important international names as well as local talent, everyone from pop megastars to 90s punk rockers to Icelandic soundscapers will take to the stages of Makuhari Messi, Marine Stadium and the beach, vying for the attention of the masses.

Take a look below at some of the headliners – and see if you agree with some of our best picks.


(Sunday night)

The Barbadian beauty is headlining the festival this year; expect an eyeful of costumes, colours, dance moves and catchy tunes. Even if pop music is not our cup of tea, we guarantee Rihanna will make you dance and captivate you like she always does so well.

Green Day

(Saturday night)

The California trio is back, sixteen years after their very first visit to Japan, still playing loud punk rock riffs and causing stirs with their high-energy stage presence and uproarious antics. Some festival goers will reminisce about their high school days, while some will get a taste of American punk rock.

Sigur Ros

(Saturday night)

Get ready to get enthralled by the Icelandic 4-piece’s ethereal sounds, if the system can cope. The Mountain Stage on Saturday night could be THE place to be this weekend.

New Order

(Sunday night)

British new wave icons and remaining members of Joy Division are making a big return this year, this time without original member Peter Hook. We’re hoping for their eighties hits (Age of Consent and Blue Monday, please), and secretly praying they perform World in Motion.

Summer Sonic top picks

For those wanting to step away from the big stage, make sure you catch our favourites:

Electro pop acts Passion Pit (Sat) and Crystal Castles (Sat), reformed Brit duo Tears for Fears (Sun), indie rockers Franz Ferdinand (Sat), rapper Azealia Banks (Sun), Montrealer sensation Grimes (Sat), and one of the most entertaining Japanese acts you will see, arty electro punksters, Polysics (Sun)

Summer Sonic offers a nearby camping site for out of towners (or those wanting to re-create Fuji Rock), as well as an all-night party: If you’re keen on rocking the night away, you can take a trip back to your angsty teenage years with the sounds of Pennywise.

Summer Sonic is a weekend not only filled with sounds, but with art exhibits, festival fare, a Silent Disco and a gorgeous beach and marine backdrop.

When: From Aug 18-19 from 11am
How Much: ¥15,000 (adv.1 day), ¥27,000 (adv. 2 days).
More info on the official site

Where: Makuhari Messe, Chiba. Nearest Station: Kaihin-Makuhari.