It is not often we get top class live music in the Misawa area much less 7 hours from the afternoon into the evening. That is why you will not want to miss the 25th annual Nango Summer Jazz Festival on Saturday, July 26th. Not only is this the largest jazz festival in northern Tohoku, the village celebrating their 25th annual means they are going all out to put on the best show ever!
A little history: Back in the 80ﾃﾔ the village elected a mayor who was a super jazz fan. Making a long story short, this sleepy village just past Hachinohe ended up building an outdoor amphitheater surrounded by nature and beauty just for this event! Now thousands of Japanese music lovers come from all over the country to dig on the cool sounds of jazz.
Starting in the afternoon, the music starts hot and continues on after the sun goes down when the star studded sky and stage lights rock you into the cool evening with top name bands from the USA and Japan! What makes this so great is you do not have to be a die hard jazz fanatic to hear some fantastic live music! You have a choice of getting there early and sitting a few feet from the stage in regular chairs provided, sitting on the steps in the middle or chilling out on the sloping grass lawn in the back. It does not matter as there is not a bad seat anywhere!
Oh, and you really do not have to bring anything. It is a festival so there are rows of stalls in the back selling all kinds of food & drinks. Surely while you are watching the show some great smells of festival food will be wafting in the air making your mouth water! But you better wait for a break in the action as you will not want to miss anything!
Speaking of action, here is the line up for this year: At 14:00 Kei Owada (vocals, 2 guitars, keyboard, bass & drums) headlines a local jazz band who will start things off. From this point on things start to heat up with the Elena Terakubo Quartet at 15:05 (sax, piano, bass, drums)! At 16:35 Japanﾃﾔ most famous trumpet player: Terumasa Hino and the ﾅﾉ factor｡ｦ(trumpet, guitar, piano, electric bass, stand-up bass, drums and DJ) will electrify the airwaves with cool jazz vibes!
Then at 18:00 from the USA with 10 Grammy awards, TAKE 6 will hit the stage. With a staggering eighteen Grammy-Award nominations, Take 6 is the most nominated Gospel, Jazz, Pop or R&B artists in Grammy history.
At 19:25 the main event will be something special for jazz aficionados. David Matthews All Stars will take the stage (piano, sax, trombone, trumpet, bass, and drums.) Singing with the All Stars will be the beautiful (half Japanese, half Israeli) Geila Zilka. Now this is gonna be a treat!
Another great reason to go is that you can save money by buying advanced tickets. Just drop by Misawa ITT to pick them up. Or pay 1000 yen more at the gate. There are also discounted student tickets for junior and senior high school students, and elementary kids and younger get in for FREE! Misawa ITT has also decided to lower the price for their shuttle bus that will take you from the base and back, so no need for a designated driver!
Driving yourself could not be easier. It takes less than 30 minutes to get to Nango from Misawa Air Base. Go out the Falcon (POL) gate and start counting traffic lights. Turn left at the 13th light to get on the Dai Ni (No.2) Michinoku Expressway. At the first toll booth, pay 250 yen and get an expressway ticket. Continue straight (You will go past the Shimoda Mall and then the Hachinohe Kita interchanges.), the expressway will merge with the Hachinohe Expressway as if you were going toward Morioka. Get off at the next exit (Nango interchange,) and pay the toll! Go to the stop sign and turn right. Go about one and a half kilometers, and the venue will be on the right next to the Kakko-no-Mori rest stop. Traffic control will guide you to a parking area.
Gates open at noon so get in line early if you want a front row seat. Large coolers and lawn chairs are prohibited. Blankets are great for the lawn area. Camping spots are available next door at the track and field site at 500 yen, just sign in first! If you need any assistance, go to the stage right admin area. An English speaker will be called to help you. Local grown Nango blueberries and CDs of the performing artists will also be available!
Do not miss this renowned international jazz festival, right here in your own backyard!
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