Tokyo Idol Festival 2016: Recapped in less than a million words

16 Aug

TIF 2016 banne FinalTokyo Idol Festival 2016 in one sentence: My favorite TIF, but also the weirdest. 

My actual schedule (anything in red is where I deviated from my initial plan)

The Good
1. Attendance
TIF reported total attendance for the three days at 76,000, making the daily average about the same as last year. Despite similar numbers, from my experience, attendance seemed much lower this year. I thought this was most obvious at the paid stages (Hot Stage, Doll Factory, and Ship Stage). The free stages (Smile Garden, Dream Stage, and Festival Stage) were extremely congested, however. Since I spent most of my time at paid stages, this worked in my favor. Stage congestion fluctuates with the popularity of the groups performing though, so my experience could be very different from someone who had a different schedule (e.g. a 46 or 48G group fan). There were still queues for Doll Factory and Sky Stage, they were just less frequent and smaller than last year. Sky Stage also had a different access point, which I think helped, but I can’t confirm since I never went up. 

2. The weather
This year easily had the best weather of any TIF I’ve attended. Summers in Japan are extremely humid, and the heat can be unrelenting. This year was hot, but it was less hot. And it was humid, but less humid. It also never rained, which has closed stages in the past. It basically felt like California weather. 

3. Ship Stage >>> Last year’s Hot Stage

ship stage

This is what Ship Stage looked like. source:

The stage looked extremely janky and the barriers were excessive, but it was a massive improvement over last year’s Hot Stage, which it replaced. The floor area was much larger, easier to access, and most importantly, was often less than 30% full. This meant you could leave the stage to get a drink, get food, or use the restrooms which were next door, and then return without any hassle. Last year if you left Hot Stage, you had to get back in a queue that sometimes never moved. The only negative compared to last year was exposure to the sun, since last year’s equivalent stage was covered. This was a big drawback, but wasn’t an issue after sunset, which was the best time to visit this stage.


This photo isn’t great, but Cheeky Parade’s performance at Ship Stage on Day 3 finally made me a fan.

4. Three days are better than two
I think this is self explanatory, but in case it isn’t, three days are better than two. [Oh, I get it now.]

The Weird
1. Separate tickets for 46 and 48 Groups
Not an issue for me, but if I was a fan (or if I needed separate tickets for the groups I happened to like), that would have been extremely annoying and likely would have reversed my opinion of the entire event.
2. Security presence

One of the first things I noticed when collecting my wristband were the 20+ security guards standing near the TIF entrance. I don’t recall security at last years event, just normal staff. During the day there were 3-4 guys patrolling Doll Factory and at night at Smile Garden, I saw several guards tackling fans and subduing them. These images clashed with my perception of TIF, just as heavy security at Disneyland or armed troops patrolling the Eiffel Tower change the atmosphere there.
3. Sparkling Night event
I think the organizers went about this in a “1 step forward, 2 steps back” kind of way. I don’t think idol groups should be segregated, but the main negative was scheduling the event while TIF was still going on. This stage should have been scheduled an hour later, so it didn’t compete with the more popular groups performing at the three other stages during their timeslot.
4. Special lives for fans with TIF shirts
Unless you care absolutely nothing about fashion, dictating what people wear to an event is lame.
5. TIF please don’t tell us what to climb and what not to climb, kthx.

6. Ship Stage was cool, but banning the shade? Really?
At Ship Stage, the walls surrounding the venue created shade, but fans weren’t allowed to stand there. On one hand, I can understand their logic–fans would have absolutely set up makeshift hobo camps like they did at Smile Garden, but standing in the sun for hours isn’t fun or healthy. They should have allowed fans to stand there, just not sit. Issue resolved.
7. On a related note, TIF please set up some canopies at the queue areas or let fans wait inside Zepp DiverCity.
Canopies are super inexpensive, yet year after year fans have to spend hours baking in the sun for no reason. If TIF is too cheap to do that, let fans queue inside Zepp DiverCity. That place is huge. Issue resolved.
8. A media section at Doll Factory that was completely unnecessary.
On Friday, Doll Factory had a runway stage which most groups didn’t touch, but the most annoying aspect was the large roped off area reserved for media. There was like 2 or 3 photographers max, who could have shot from anywhere in the venue, without wasting floor space. Fortunately, they removed the runway stage for day 2 and 3.

9. Unrelated to TIF, but I found this amusing.
Within one year, the parking lot near Doll Factory turned into a BMW & MINI dealership.

An easier to read version of my schedule :P
Performances I thought were great are in bold, and my favorites are in red.

Day 1 – Friday Day 2 – Saturday Day 4 – Sunday
Afilia Saga Magical Punchline Lyrical School
Tenkoshojo Ciao Smiles SUPER☆GiRLS
KNU nanoRider (nanoCUNE) Maneki Kecak
BELLRING @17 TokimekiSendenbu
drop palet GEM
Narumi Takiguchi Ciao Smiles, others Fudanjuku
Akishibu Project Kaori Sakura Sakura Gakuin
MAPLEZ Musubizm Yume Ado
Bakusute Sotokanda Stella Beats Dance Philosophy
Yumemiru Adolescence DollElements PPP! PiXiON
PASSPO☆ Up Up Girls BiSH
predia predia Akishibu Project
Sakura Cinderella World Standard nanoRider
Dorothy Little Happy LinQ Houkago Princess
Yufu Terashima DollElements Cheeky Parade
DollElements 9nine  
Houkago Princess “Hiroshima idols”   
DollElements GEM  
PASSPO☆ drop  
  Yumemiru Adolescence  

And then there is this thing…

A 2-Day New Years collaboration between TIP and @JAM is being planned for January 2 and 3, using both Zepp Tokyo and Zepp DiverCity, along with Fuji TV facilities (which sounds like the TIF stages). Reminds me of the FIVE STARS Festival from 2014 that Tobi and I went to. I’ll put it on my schedule. Maybe they’ll give free tickets to oversees fans again.
Screenshot 2015-01-13 17.23.57
The End


4 Responses to “Tokyo Idol Festival 2016: Recapped in less than a million words”

  1. Infzer0 2016/08/16 at 8:47 am #

    i agree with your with ship stage being better than last year hot stage.

    yeah, LinQ fans are awesome, some of them came to jakarta last month, and they’re basically leading us (the local wotas) of what to do during the songs. too bad i didnt meet them again during the jap trip because im too busy moving around haha.

    I missed 9nine at hot stage and chikipa at ship stage though, damn….Glad i didnt go to see GEM’s smile garden performance though !! Ballad songs at smile garden seems like a nightmare LOL

    One question though…you didnt spend any time at the buppan / market place at all this year? Since you didnt mention them at all in your post, haha.

    • Shaun 2016/08/17 at 4:57 pm #

      I went to the marketplace just for a short time on Friday. Most of the items I wanted were not available, and I just bought one towel. That was it :P In the five years I’ve gone to TIF, I’ve never gone to the Greeting Area. Of course, I buy stuff, but I give my tickets away. That part of the idol scene is something I never got into. I see you had fun there though! :D

      Chikipa was great, but they were scheduled at the same time as Babyraids at Smile Garden, which was your highlight, so don’t feel bad :) Although afterwards, I did get from Ship Stage to Smile Garden about halfway through Babyraids set, and the area was a warzone.

  2. wattstax17 2016/08/16 at 9:21 am #

    It is astonishing that with our difference in idol tastes we actually became somewhat like friends. But back then you probably wasn’t in a sane state of mind, then declaring a mediocre group as the best in the world. *cough cough*

    Your schedule looks very tight. You have seen a lot. Me I would have spent most of my time in the Market Square. It was even more worth it this time, I heard, with Party Rockets providing you free drinks and a place in the shadow at their booth.
    About the official figures: I assume these are the totals? So for example, as you visited all three days, you are also three times included? You also rival Henry, with attending TIF five times in a row now. I wonder who will give up first :P Additionally, Henry had to collect his wristband every day anew. How where you able to get an All-Day-Pass?

    Like you I can not understand the lack of effort to provide more shadow for the fans around and at some of the longer frequented stages, like Ship Stage. My dream is still a huge covered area, with food and drink opportunities. As I am very generous, for your sake this will all be served by bikini-clad idols, of course ;)

    I still don’t get the extra tickets for the 46 / 48 groups and other special lives. This has nothing to do with the festival then, in my opinion. Also the fact of special lives for people who bought the TIF shirt. Seriously? It is also a pity hearing about the security. That those idiots of fans can not restrain themselves at a festival, that is also attended by little kids and families. But we had that discussion already.

    I saw the Doll Factory Stage on its first day, and at least it was properly used by Bellring and Party Rockets. In general I like this and seen it several times at bigger shows (Predia, Bellring), but here I agree: The walkway was much too small and the place itself much too restricted for it becoming a nice addition. More effort should be put into providing more outdoor stages, that are properly covered against the sun. This would make the festival much more pleasant. I wonder if @JAM will manage something more positive here. Maybe TIF will copy it then, now with there seemingly cooperation going on.

    You starting to like Cheeky Parade has nothing to do with the fact, that some of its members will start studying in Los Angeles? Anyway as they were in the US last(?) year you are maybe lucky to see them on home turf sometime soon – LA, San Francisco, New York, never mind. I have heard that driving for Americans is like me going to the mailbox next to my front door.

    I put you down for next years TIF then, even the Winter TIF, or whatever its name. Meeting in Tokyo seems so much easier than in Germany or USA.

    PS: You made a mistake. You forgot to put BELLRING in bold and red for your list of best performances. To quote you: You’re welcome!

    • Shaun 2016/08/17 at 5:25 pm #

      I purchased a 3-day ticket, while he won the lottery for free tickets. For attendance numbers, they do a count every day, so 3-day ticket holders count as 3 (one per day).

      There were ticket allotments for 46 and 48G fans. I believe 2000 tickets per show, and fans had to queue for these tickets in the morning. While those groups are popular, I think it was a flawed solution.

      Fans who purchased a special T-shirt and wore it, had exclusive access to certain morning shows at Hot Stage and Smile Garden. It was one show per day with different groups–it’s on the timetable but I didn’t look at the lineup too closely.

      Even though my favorite member of Cheeky Parade (Marin) is in LA, I find the 7-member lineup a lot more appealing than 9-member. To me, the group is just more cohesive as 7.

      And I considered not putting stuff in bold and in red, because I also don’t like when my groups get slighted, but as a compromise, I decided not to mention that groups that I thought were really bad. I mean, outside of Splash! :P But I had to mention them in order to explain the situation with GEM :D

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