Labyrinth, one of Japan's finest outdoor electronic music festivals, has sent out a call to its attendees to remain sober at this year's edition.
A festival calling for its patrons to be safe is hardly news, but in Labyrinth's case, local authorities and police are regarding it as a life-or-death situation. In recent months, several serious incidents have occurred at other outdoor events in the Gunma area where Labyrinth is set to take place—including the death of a 24 year-old woman in June. Since that time, the local police have been targeting outdoor parties, including a recent bust in which eight people were arrested.
In a message sent to attendees, the organizers of the event have stated that all bags will be searched before they are allowed on the property. And, in a curious measure, each partygoer will be forced to "sign a statement, with their personal contact info, that they promise to obey the law and not consume illegal substances during the course of the event." While the announcement claimed that these statements would be given to the local government after the event concluded, a post on a local Japanese message board early yesterday attributed to one of the organizers of the festival stated that "We will NOT provide the signatures to the government. The good thing about paper is that it BURNS. I will burn all these papers myself. Please trust me. The Labyrinth crowd is like my extended family in Japan. I don't have many rules in life, but one is, protect your family."
Whatever happens this weekend, it seems certain that if someone is caught with illegal substances on the property, Labyrinth will be shut down and its future will be put in jeopardy. As one of Japan's leading outdoor festivals—with a lineup this year that boasts the likes Move D, Echospace, Lee Burridge, Donato Dozzy and many more—it could follow that other outdoor raves would come under intense police pressure as well.
UPDATE: Labyrinth organizers have confirmed that all statements will be destroyed after the festival is concluded.
Cameron Eeles contributed reporting from Tokyo, Japan.