Zanpa Jam is a 3-day outdoor festival that serves to connect Okinawa’s local scene with the rest of the world. A vibrant fusion of music, art and nature, the festival features bands, DJs and live painters from around Japan and even abroad.
This year the event was held from 30 October to 2 November on Salt Beach, Yagaji Island, in northern Okinawa.
In 2011, a group of volunteers connected by the idea of “making a high-quality festival in Okinawa” came from around the country and worked together to hold the first Zanpa Jam in Cape Zanpa, Yomitan Village. This year, the 5th Zanpa Jam was held at a different location for the first time, which proved ideal with its quiet, secluded beach, camping area and untouched nature on all sides.
There were three main areas for performances: Live Stage, Beach House and YahMan Area. The Beach House was especially unique with its sandy dance floor and clear view of Kouri Island across the sea. There were also markets, workshops, movie screenings, talk sessions and many activities for children of all ages. Entrance also free for under-18s accompanied by a guardian, making it a very family-friendly event.
Some of the highlights of the three days included a punk band performing on Japanese taiko drums, a roots reggae artist from England, exciting modern sounds from local DJs and of course the main act, Inushiki a.k.a. Doggy Style. The band is fronted by musician, political activist and Zanpa Jam organizer Yohei Miyake, who gave some very moving speeches, inspiring discourse and challenging current issues. The quote that left the strongest impression was, “The biggest enemy of peace is silence.”
It was overall an incredibly fun, peaceful and culturally stimulating event and our members will certainly be attending again next year. We hope you can come, too!