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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: pbs.twimg.com/media/CpOWwJ-VIAEqWnT.jpg


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.

CpQSWOHUIAATO6g

This photo isn’t great, but Cheeky Parade’s performance at Ship Stage on Day 3 finally made me a fan. https://twitter.com/CP_yuna_ist/status/762254421430448129

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  
  PiiiiiiiN  
  Kamiyado  
  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

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Tokyo Idol Festival: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a million times, super shame on you!

31 Jul

Somehow, I’m going to TIF again. I told myself I’d never return because summers in Japan are horrible and the past two TIFs were boring. This year is going to be different though. I don’t care as much, so my expectations are at the level of a normal, sane person. As long as I get my Tokyo Hobo Orchestra fix, I’m good. [Umm, I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to be attending. Since they don’t exist.] Fine. As long as I get my sweet sweet Chubbiness fix, I’m good. [They aren’t attending either. How sad is that?] Fine. As long as Yururirapo gets to hijack the main stage, I’m good. [Well, they are performing on a stage.] Any stage that Yururirapo performs on is the main stage! Of life.

My schedule: August 3-12

August 4 Yumemiru Adolescence @Akiba Cultures Theater
August 5 Tokyo Idol Festival
August 6 Tokyo Idol Festival
August 7 Tokyo Idol Festival
August 8 Akishibu Project  release event
August 9 GEM, YumeAdo, Up Up Girls, et al @TSUTAYA O-East
August 10 Fairies release event
August 11 GEM release event
August 12 drop, Houkago Princess, Maneki Kecak @Shinjuku ReNY

My TIF Schedule
Oh ok. Then the following is definitely not my TIF schedule.