The first of these festivals was held in Bisei-cho, Okayama-ken Japan in August 1994.
Though called the International Shakuhachi Festival and attended by a number of non-Japanese and Japanese living Abroad, it was primarily by Japanese and for Japanese. Nevertheless, it was the first event to include teachers and participants from most of the numerous sects and lineages of shakuhachi.
The event led however, to the World Shakuhachi Festival 1998. Held in Boulder and Denver Colorado USA, and co-sponsored by University of Colorado, this Festival was attended by over 300 participants from all over the world. Its approximately 20 public concerts had a combined audience of over 5,000, making it the largest such gathering ever to take place in the history of the shakuhachi. The festival, held over seven days, also featured over 50 workshops, lectures and panel discussions.
The third international gathering of shakuhachi players, the Tokyo International Shakuhachi Summit 2002, was held in Tokyo Japan in 2002. Though smaller than the 1998 Festival, it went even further in bringing together performers and students of the numerous and often factious shakuhachi sects and lineages in Japan.
The fourth event, the 2004 New York Shakuhachi Festival, held at New York University, Greenwich Village NYC USA, had approximately fifty classes, lectures, panel discussions, workshops and concerts over a four day period. Though its faculty comprised of nearly as many Japanese as non-Japanese, participants were primarily residents of the USA and Canada, with representation from Japan, Europe, and Australia.
The Australian Shakuhachi Society, in consultation with the Executive Committee of the World Shakuhachi Festival and the International Shakuhachi Study Centre, will produce the fifth international shakuhachi event, to be held in Sydney Australia in 2008. The event will be called the Sydney World Shakuhachi Festival 2008, and will be held 4-8 July 2008 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.