For £13, a fast lane to buy a band tee: Japan's rock concert promoters struggle to compete with festivals


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With a shrinking retail market, it’s a hard life making a living in rock’n’roll. 

But for many British bands over the years, even if domestic sales have been sluggish, Japanese music lovers’ appetite for rock has provided a steady income stream. Japanese sales account for around 30 per cent of all record sales on the planet, more than the US.

Weirdly, it’s Japan’s love for pop which is making things difficult for promoters. Japan’s festivals, which include Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic, are hoovering up so much of fans’ money that promoters on the regular circuit are struggling.

Click here or 'view gallery' to see pictures of the Fuji Rock music festival in 2008

“It’s like a big fishing boat coming into Tokyo Bay with a big net and taking away all the fish,” promoter Massy Hayashi told the Japan Times, referring to the festivals’ habits of clinching all the big foreign tours. Thanks to a weaker yen, even festival promoters are having to resort to Del-Boy-style wheezes to make as much money as possible. Summer Sonic have introduced super tickets that cost 30,000 yen (£200) and include the use of a cloakroom, a drink, a “good view” and – best of all – a fast lane to the merchandise stall.