The third annual J-Pop Summit Festival has come to an end, and for those that couldn’t make it to Japan Town in San Francisco this year, this article is for you! I will be providing a summary as to how I saw the festival that spanned two days this year. Please read our Info article on the J-Pop Summit Festival if you do not know what it is.
New People did a great job in organizing this event, and with the help from major sponsors such as Aniplex, Bandai, Niconico.com, and the Japan Foundation, they were able to make this festival a success. Fans from everywhere came to Japan Town for this event, one person I met even biked (motorcycle) from Arizona, just for this event. While the J-Pop Summit Festival may not be large, it is constantly growing year by year with the combined efforts of New People and all of the sponsors.
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There were many booths out on Post St in the middle of Japan Town. A mini Artist Alley was available out on the street, and inside the mall, while sponsors set up their booths near the New People building. Sponsors such as Bandai, and AOD sold items out on the street, while ZANEEDS, and TinierMe also had items for sale. Inside the New People building, on the lobby balcony type thing, there were also charity goods available for the MikuXJapan Town event with the official logo stamped on them. Also available downstairs was the Cospa Miku papercraft, which included a free copy of the Miku’s Giving Day poster.
The first day included events such as the VIP Party, Danceroid on-stage, Miku Mix DJ Battle, and the Project Diva Arcade, available for $1/play. Both days had the same amount of content, and they tried to make it as appealing on both days as possible to make use of the two days they spanned the event to this year. Parking was not a problem as we came pretty early.
As I got there, they were setting up the Arcade, and hooking it up to a TV for others to view you fail… I mean play the songs. As this machine was sort of a “demo” type machine, it did not include an IC reader, or a screen on top for others to view, and was in Free Play mode (only one song, no tokens). Once I did get a chance to play it however, I had found out that the new button layout was hard to get used to. Overall for $1 a play, and on the first day, the lines were not that long, it was a great chance to play the arcade that is normally only available in SEA (South-East Asia) or Japan. I was able to get a chance to play it again later that night at the VIP Party (where the line was much longer).
Throughout the day, they had live bands based in the Bay Area playing on-stage for everyone to listen to. It was a great experience and then the BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT Fashion Contest started. I was wondering why there were many people wearing Lolita clothes, and then looked at the schedule to see this event. There were A LOT of great outfits that people wore, and brought on stage. The person with the staff even came all the way from somewhere in Asia (or was it Australia) to participate in this contest! However, after the Fashion Contest was over, the main event for the day started.
As two of the Danceroids walked on stage, the crowd went wild. I had barely gotten there in time, as I was walking around looking at the booths for the day. As I never had a chance to go to AX and see them starting Mikunopolis, nor watch their videos on Youtube, this was a new experience for me. They danced to songs such as Emo Love, First Kiss, Strobe Nights, Luka Luka Night Fever, LOL, and Twinkle Twinkle. Videos are available on Youtube if you search for “Danceroid J-Pop Summit”. It was great that New People was able to bring the Danceroids (at least some) over to the US just for this event. Later that night, they also danced in the lobby of the New People building just for the VIP Party attendees.
Right after that event, Torino from ZANEEDS and DJ Amaya hit the stage for a DJ Battle! This was great as they also played at Mikunopolis, however this time, people got on stage and danced too! Slowly as the music got going, people walked up stage and started dancing. There were even break dancers in the crowd, and they too started to show their skills in front of the crowd. This was a great way to get the audience active, and to die down the night as the sun fell, and it got colder. While the crowd was sitting in the chairs watching and getting cold (like me), the dancers on stage were very active and even had to take off the additional layers that they had brought with them to combat the cold wind. However, everyone had fun out that night, and it was a great end to the night.
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Afterwards was the special VIP Party (tickets were available online for $20). Included was free food (Sushi and Chocolate) and if you are over 21 (which I am not) they had a Vodka-Type drink, and 4 kinds of wines available to taste. In the lobby, Vex Mode, and DJ Amaya were playing throughout the night, followed by the Danceroids once again in the tight confines of the lobby, and Torinos finishing up the night. The main attraction though (well to me at least) was the “unlimited” play Project Diva Arcade. This time the TV was not connected due to space issues and the line was much longer than it was throughout the day outside, and it was hard to actually hear the machine as they were blasting music down the stairs in the open lobby, but it was still nice to get a chance to play the arcade once again. There was also a VIP Lounge available to Guests, Press, and the Kickstarter Backers that pledged 100$ or more, which included more types of food, a candle lit gallery room, and a chance to meet everyone important. As I was not one of the ones allowed in, I did not go in until I somehow snuck in near the end of the night. Overall, it was a great end to the first day.
I did not arrive at Japan Town until Noon, so I had missed the Danceroid Dance Workshop in the morning, however the main attraction was the Vocaloid Conference.
Due to waking up late, I had inadvertently forgotten my camera battery on my charger, so I apologize for the absence of images on day 2. Thanks to Hisoka Kurone, photos are now uploaded on a Photobucket album for you to view Day 2.Upstairs in the third floor of the New People building, was a conference hosted by Brian Zisk (who, to be honest, didn’t seem like he knew much about Vocaloids), with ZANEEDS, Danceroid, and Tempo-P from Vocalekt Visions. A video recording of the conference is stated to be uploaded soon, however for now, I will give you a summary. They basically talked about the future of Vocaloid in the US (now that there are rumors to sell Crypton Vocaloids in the US), how everyone got started with Vocaloids, and copyright issues with major companies such as Sega, and Sony Music. There’s supposed to be a video recording of the conference up soon, but I will let you know when it has been uploaded.
Another major event of the day was the Vocaloid dance concert, and ONCE AGAIN, I stupidly forgot my camera battery at home and could not take photos of the event, however there should be videos popping up on Youtube. The three songs that were to be danced to were: First Kiss, Luka Luka Night Fever, and Strobe Nights. All of the contestants put forth their best effort in dancing, and there was even a lone male Kaito on stage, who won the honorable mention from the Danceroids to gather the courage to be up on a stage full of girls and dancing to First Kiss. However the winner danced to Strobe Nights, and made a costume that the Danceroids actually used. The winner received signed goods from Danceroid, and a chance to dance with them on-stage one final time.
And that was about it for the Vocaloid related things of the J-Pop Summit Festival 2011! Thank you to zalas (@hightrancesea) for letting me stay at his place on Saturday night, otherwise I would not have been able to make it on Sunday. I’m sorry that I was not able to take pictures on the second day, but eventually videos will be uploaded. I hope that the J-Pop Summit Festival next year will be much larger, and I hope to see you there!