ソカ・イン・ジャパン・フェスティバル体験

Posted On 8月 29, 2020

6月上旬、毎年恒例のソカフェスティバルの9月のイベントの取材を依頼されました。 当時、私はソカ祭りとは何かわからず、もっと知りたいと思っていました。 私はトリニダード出身のクライアントと何時間も過ごし、カリブ海のイベントについて学び、毎年恒例のブラジルの冬のイベントであるカーニバルとどれほど似ているかを学びました。

私は嘘をつきません。 ワイルドな色彩、活気あふれる音楽、そして驚くべきエネルギーで知られるイベントの写真を撮るのに緊張しました。 聖書のベルトの状態から来て、私は私の前の仲間の教会のメンバーが高音の「私の主!」であえぎながら彼らの真珠を握りしめているのを見ることができました。

それでも私の好奇心は残り、何ヶ月もクライアントと連絡を取り合った後、日本の週末のソカフェスティバルは5つのイベントの最初のイベントで始まりました:サイレントシーサイドソカフェテ

サイレントパーティー

最初のイベントがサイレントパーティーになることを知ったとき、私はそれを写真に撮ることに興奮しました。 同時に、完全に沈黙しているパーティーをどうやって撮るのか気になりました。 動きの時間をより良くするために、私自身のヘッドホンのセットを持っていますか? 私は自分自身を楽しさとファンファーレに無知にして、通行人の知覚で撃ちますか? 言うまでもなく、私は楽しみの一部になり、音楽の低音とカリブ海のヒップホップの曲のスピードを体験したかったのです。

誰でも参加できます

One odd thing I noticed right away was the number of non-Caribbean party goers who were there. When explained to me, Soca Festivals are celebrated in different areas of the Caribbean throughout the year. However, there were guests from Switzerland, Australia and Spain among the Caribbean and black American guests. Of course, there were Japanese Soca dancers who were excited to kick off the weekend with their dance moves. As it turned out, several times each year, just as a Soca Festival is held throughout the year in the Caribbean, other festivals are held around the world! Tour packages are offered to guests who want to enjoy the weekend with international friends they’ve made over the years and previous festivals. Silent Seaside Soca Fete wasn’t just a kick-off event, but a reunion for most as well.

I wanted to get a feel for what it was like between being immersed in the music and being completely shut out of the experience. Toggling my headphones on and off allowed me to see how baffling it must have looked for the onlookers dining at the restaurant adjacent to the outdoor party area. Watching straight-laced salarymen walk by the colorful group of party folk shouting and speaking loudly over the “music,” must have been a shocker for them.

I wanted to get a feel for what it was like between being immersed in the music and being completely shut out of the experience. Toggling my headphones on and off allowed me to see how baffling it must have looked for the onlookers dining at the restaurant adjacent to the outdoor party area. Watching straight-laced salarymen walk by the colorful group of party folk shouting and speaking loudly over the “music,” must have been a shocker for them.

JOUVERT

I will out myself on this one and say I did not know what I was in store for. I remember being told, “It’s an outdoor event. People will get a bit dirty.” My idea of dirty was woefully underestimated by the massive amounts of water, paint and mud. As I got of the bus from a Chiba train station, I clutched my camera wondering if it would make it out alive.

In the WARZONE paintball range, there was paint and music everywhere. No surface nor clothing was left untouched. Worried guests would ready their paints and spray me, I kept my media pass up as high as I could hoping people would catch on quick enough that the photographer would be untouched. Thankfully, through the haze of a carefree Saturday afternoon, folks caught on –myself and the other photographers were spared. Whew!

Still to be able to join the craziness and laugh with the others!

RUM & BASS

ISLAND NATIONS

The climax of the weekend featured a major Caribbean celebrity. Caribbeans fans of Nailah Blackman wondered all weekend if it were true she would be making an appearance to the Soca in Japan Weekend event. Guests seemed skeptic but understandable if she were to not present that evening. Personally, I couldn’t think of anything more heartbreaking to fans than to tease a show and not perform it at all. If I were a die hard fan, I’d be pretty put off.

The hosts began the long event at 3:00 PM. The guests enjoyed Japanese performances and choreographed Soca dances for five hours until 8:00 PM’s is-she-or-is-she-not debate would be put to rest.

Japanese Soca dancers show off their moves

Japanese Soca dancers show off their moves

Around 7:00 PM, the photographers get word that Nailah is here! Happy to know in advanced the guests’ wait would be rewarded, we went backstage to photograph Nailah before she hits the stage. The electrifying youthful and unapologetically Caribbean singer got the audience pumped for a full hour. Fans were screaming and eager to get acknowledgement from the singer.

At the end of the evening, it was bittersweet to see the weekend end. It was a very educational weekend that I will cherish for some time now. Looking forward to seeing the Soca Festival in Japan this year.

For more amazing photos of the event, visit TopTia Photography where this article originally appeared.

Written by Tia Haygood

Tia Haygood is a professional photographer who focuses on events, personal branding portraits, product + food images. She is based in Tokyo, Japan.

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