UK Taiko Festival

The 12th UK Taiko Festival took place: 30th June – 2nd July 2017, characterised by smiles, laughter and signs of friendship everywhere you looked – and some great taiko!.

Friday night’s Feast of Taiko featured 11 youth groups with some 150 young performers, who all watched each other from seats in the auditorium and who were quite the most fantastically encouraging audience for each other.

On Saturday lunchtime, Taiko Beats featured 11 adult groups from the UK and Germany. Again with a hugely supportive audience, and the creativity of the groups was greeted with great delight.
In the evening, Kagemusha Taiko were joined by the immense musical talents that are Shogo Yoshii and Shoji Kameda, in a show that culminated in a live performance of Brother Drum, with a collection of Western European and Japanese instruments brought together onstage for the first time ever. We didn’t end with a drum beat, we ended with the audience singing with us.
There were 11 workshops across the Saturday and Sunday, with 7 different workshop leaders and more than 160 participants.
On Sunday evening, Tsuchigumo Daiko, joined with Kagemusha Taiko and the Brother Drum musicians, Shogo, Shoji, and also Damian Clarke, George Whitfield and Hibiki Ichikawa for a concert that mixed taiko with folk and traditional music from Western Europe and Japan. It could be summed up by “Away the Borders”, a set of tunes brought by Damian and George: great tunes, great songs and great rhythms can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. They tap into our common humanity and help bring us all together.
All of this happened in a friendly spirit of celebration. It was my privilege and that of Kagemusha Taiko to host it, and we are grateful to Yoshi Miyamoto and others for their support. Here’s to the next one…!

For a full schedule please click here.

The UK Taiko Festival has its foundation in several guiding principles:

  • To encourage the growth of taiko in the UK.
  • To provide a performance platform for UK-based taiko groups of all ages but with a strong focus on youth.
  • To provide inspiration for new players by the participation of professional and international taiko artists.
  • To be a showcase event for emerging young UK talent.
  • To encourage excellence in a culture of celebration, not competition.
  • To encourage inclusion by giving groups of all abilities, including those with special needs, the opportunity to participate


The UK Taiko Festival is hosted by Kagemusha Taiko on behalf of the growing taiko community in this country. Jonathan Kirby, artistic director of Kagemusha Taiko, is the director of the UK Taiko Festival.


See also: 1st UKTF;  2nd UKTF;  3rd UKTF;   4th UKTF;  5th UKTF;  6th UKTF;  7th UKTF;  8th UKTF;  9th UKTF;  10th UKTF;  11th UKTF;
12th UKTF;