In November, Narukami Taiko participated in the Wellington Japan Festival. After a week of activities and exhibitions, Festival Day took place at the TSB Arena with a line up of stage performances taking place while various stalls, displays and workshops were set up around the venue. As well as events featuring martial arts, moochi making, calligraphy, dance and cosplay, four taiko teams from the lower North Island all performed. It was great to see taiko be so prominent in Wellington, and Narukami Taiko really enjoyed the opportunity to not only perform, but run taiko workshops during the Festival Day.
Narukami Taiko kicked off the morning with a performance to open the Festival in the building foyer. We drew a large crowd with a series of songs that echoed through the space. This was the first performance for three of our members, and the first time we'd performed the song Noto Hounen.
Then throughout the day we held four mini workshops. These allowed people to give taiko a go and learn a short rhythm in a 20 minute session. A large number of people, from young children to senior citizens, all enjoyed beating the drums and learning one of our warm up drills with the help of some of our members.
Finally, we performed the closing performance on the main stage. Getting to perform on a large stage with a large audience and proper lighting is always an amazing experience, and this time was augmented by close up video footage of our performances playing on the screen behind us. We played a total of seven songs, including our first performance of 'Arakusa' along with our old favourite like 'Gaina' and 'Ujigawa'. Keeping up our energy and passion for such a large performance was a challenge, but we are all happy with the performance, and now look forward to participating in the next Japan Festival in 2018!