Freedommune Zero One Thousand 2013

Dommune, an innovative live stream broadcast channel, conceived in the wake of the social media boom by a tech-savvy Renaissance man, Naohiro Ukawa, has hosted its second annual festival in support of post-tsunami recovery efforts, Freedommune 0 One Thousand 2013. A rare outlet for those whose idea of quality entertainment stretches well beyond conventional Japanese media with its mediocre selection of daily sugar-free chewing gum, the festival has gathered some of the most significant, though largely unknown beyond the island’s shores, alternative musical acts. With a long list to choose from, one performance has clearly stood out—noise scene veterans and occasional Sonic Youth collaborators, Boredoms, presented an awe-inspiring, 91-drummer strong “Boadrum.” With an unprecedented number of drummers, 91 alludes to the festival date—July 13th (7 x 13), this symphonic orchestra size group went on performing two hour plus tribal rhythms generating enough heat to null the dome's cooling system. As if to keep the physical and the ethereal in balance, the organizers strategically placed the renown writer, activist and a spiritual guide, Jakucho Setouchi, right after Boredoms. The 91 (yes, the magic number) year old nun cheered the crowd with the patent mix of lifelong wisdom and witty insights.

You’ve got to admire Ukawa for such an ambitious undertaking which would be perfectly content as it is, but with a good cause at its core and an array of new initiatives it takes civil activism to a new height. Above all, the festival clearly demonstrates that there are plenty of alternatives to multi-member look-alike J-Pop clones and enough fans to keep them in business.

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