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16th Peaceful Love Rock Festival - the ultimate in rock 'n' roll

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-06-27

Get ready to Rock n Roll for the 16th annual "Peaceful Love Rock Festival." It has been a long time favorite gathering of many local rock bands, and has become an icon in the Okinawa music scene. Drawing people all the way from the mainland, the concert has become synonymous with rock n roll music, which has its Japanese roots here in Okinawa. Sponsored by Orion beer, Ask Arpa, and Coca Cola, the Peaceful Love Rock Festival will take place this year on July 4 and July 5. It features several different bands each day, and culminates with a performance by "Muraski Super Jam."

Those rock fans, who are new to the island, or who are not familiar with the two day music extravaganza, should mark this one on their calendar. Played outdoors at Okinawa City's "Field Stage," the concert creates plenty of energy. Crowds of both Okinawans and Americans get together for a friendly weekend of great entertainment and plenty of fun.

The festival first began in 1983, and has continued over the years. In 1986 it received a national award for its contribution to the community and music. The award was seen as a major plus for rock n roll in, which until that time, held a bad image in Japan. The festival almost reached its end in 1992 after its tenth year, but fan persistence and dedication by its organizers have kept it alive for another six years.

Much credit for the concert's popularity and survival must go to Yoshihiro Tokuyama, president of "Sound Package." The agency was officially formed 12 years ago, and since has been the main engine behind producing the Peaceful Love Rock Festival. Tokuyama, who has been involved with the festival since its very first year, believes that the fans really play an important role in continuing the concert year after year. Although the concert, in terms of revenue, has been operating at a loss for the past several years, Tokuyama and his associates have remained loyal to the fans, who look forward to the popular event every year. "Of course if I don't make money from concerts, my company will go out of business, but I will do the Peaceful Love Rock Festival until I do," said Tokuyama. There are 100 local volunteers and 30 American volunteers that help to make the concert successful for the fans. "We have much support from many individuals, local organizations, and small businesses. Without their help, the concert would be difficult to manage," said Tokuyama. He also has given many new bands the chance to play in front of a large audience, introducing them to the public and to the music world, and he has been trying to increase the amount of American rock bands to play at the festival.

Saturday will kick things off with some new bands early in the day, followed by the well known rock band "JET." Fans will get a special treat with the "Turbo Band", which is made up of members from the popular Okinawa-Latino group Diamantes. "Parsha Club" will close things out, leaving the stage for the next day performance of "Lequio 8 Ball" and "Acoustic M" to get Sunday's show started. Rock fans will be pleased to see "Clay Sun Union" take the stage and be followed later in the day by "Kachan Band," "Zodiac," and finally "Muraski Super Jam."

This year's theme for the Peaceful Love Rock Festival will concentrate on sending music to the children of Thailand through a "Peaceful Music Network" campaign. It calls for the donation of harmonic flutes, which are used by elementary school children in Japan. The campaign will start the day of the concert and last until March 31. With funds scarce in Thailand's schools for musical instruments, Tokuyama and other campaign organizers hope their efforts will bring the joy of music to many children.

In the future, Tokuyama hopes to bring together bands from America, Japan, and Asia. Thanks to the dedication of many people, fans can expect to get a great show this 4th of July weekend and in future Peaceful Love Rock Festivals to come!

Tickets are now on sale at the Kadena USO. The price is $25 for a one day pass, and $40 for a two day pass. Doors will open at 2:00 PM. Coolers will be allowed, but all bottles or glass containers are prohibited.

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