Perhaps you are unsure of just how to approach your first PMF experience. We will explain several potential issues, in simple terms, to ensure that it's more understandable and enjoyable. Let's start with "how to prepare."
"PMF" stands for the "Pacific Music Festival," which is an international educational music festival whose purpose is to foster the young musicians of the world. It was formed in 1990 through the advocacy of leading 20th century American musician Leonard Bernstein. "Pacific" refers to "peace," expressing Bernstein's desire to contribute to world peace through music education.
The 2017 festival runs for almost a month, from July 8 (Sat) to August 1 (Tue). Sapporo summers are mild and refreshing; the festival always takes place in Sapporo's most enjoyable season.
Ticket prices range from free to ¥10,000. With a few exceptions, students who show their student ID will be given a ¥1,000 discount. Prices vary according to seat type (S seat, A seat, B seat, C seat, etc.). Since PMF is an educational music festival, even concerts featuring famous artists can be enjoyed at a reasonable price.
Tickets can be purchased through Sapporo's various ticket agencies or the PMF Organizing Committee (directly or online). Please understand that ticket agencies that can offer specific seat assignments are limited. Also, in some cases "Day-of Tickets" are available.
Maybe you're not familiar with the pieces being performed, the composers, or the performers. No need to worry. Perhaps the following will help you choose:
＜Start with the free concerts＞
In general, Outreach Concerts, which take place at public facilities (primarily in Sapporo), are free to attend. If paying to attend a concert seems a bit much, these offer a simple alternative. And they are usually on the short side, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour. Why not give it a try?
* Note that in some cases it is necessary to obtain admission vouchers, which are handed out in advance of these free concerts.
The PMF GALA Concert marks the season's final concert at Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara. "Gala" refers to a festive occasion, and this concert is accordingly longer than most, featuring many different performers and a wide variety of pieces. And with the now established tradition of singing the PMF Song ~Jupiter~ along with all in attendance, this program allows you to experience the joy of classical music directly. Why not dress up a bit and spend a Saturday afternoon at this glamorous concert?
The Picnic Concert takes place at the Sapporo Art Park Outdoor Stage, from midday until evening, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Feel free to enjoy food and drinks as you sit in the grass and enjoy the music. Soak up the music in any way you please. As long as you hang on to your ticket stub, you can enter and exit freely. Babies are also welcome, and a nursing tent will be set up. There are some seats with umbrellas for those worried about the sun or rain.
Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara. Explore Nakajima Park in the mild and pleasant summer breeze, and head for Kitara. Enjoy a meal before or after the concert; there are lots of restaurants in the area, and even inside Kitara itself. With a dignified air, this hall offers a wonderful atmosphere in which to enjoy a concert.
The Sapporo Art Park Outdoor Stage. Bring your children along and enjoy a concert as a family. The Picnic Concert, for example, allows you to indulge in a daylong concert; go for a walk, try the restaurant, and of course listen to music, all while surrounded by nature's beauty.
Dress as you please! There are grassy areas and hills at the Sapporo Art Park, so walking shoes are probably best. It's sometimes cooler than might be expected at outdoor concerts, so something like a light jacket or sweater might be a good idea. The PMF Gala Concert is the final concert at Kitara, so something appropriate for a celebration, maybe slightly more formal than usual, might help you to enjoy the festivities even more.
Public transportation is recommended. Even venues where parking is available have limited space, and since it's high season, traffic may become congested in areas around some of these venues. When concerts are held at the Sapporo Art Park, shuttle buses, timed along with the concert starting and ending times, are available (for a fee).
Children not yet of elementary-school age are generally not allowed to attend concerts that take place in concert halls, but Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara offers a childcare service (for a fee) on concert days. And there are no age restrictions for concerts at Sapporo Art Park, so anyone and everyone can attend! In addition, certain free concerts have no age restrictions; please feel free to contact us for more information.
At concerts hosted by PMF at Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara, a childcare facility within Kitara is available, for a fee, for children from around 6 months to pre-elementary age. Advance reservations are required; mention your reservation at the reception desk on the day of the concert.
Reservations / Inquiries: Sapporo Sitter Services
You will not be allowed to enter the venue while the performance is ongoing. However, you may enter between movements and/or pieces, or during applause; an attendant will assist you. Also, please understand that your tickets unfortunately cannot be refunded if you miss the concert.
In general, when one entire piece ends and its reverberation in the hall has died down, applause begins. However, there may be times when it's difficult to know whether an entire piece has finished, and sometimes a piece starts up again after it seems to have finished, so if it's your first time it might be best to follow those around you.
* Of course, applause is simply a way for the audience to express emotion, and it is by no means mandatory.
In longer concerts, an intermission is included in the program. For example, a roughly 2-hour concert at Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara would include a 20-minute intermission.