Fuji Rock Festival
|Date(s)||last weekend of July (3 days)|
|Genre||Rock, electronic music|
Fuji Rock Festival is an annual rock festival held in Naeba Ski Resort, in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The three-day event, organized by Smash Japan, features more than 200 Japanese and international musicians, making it the largest outdoor music event in Japan. In 2005, more than 100,000 people attended the festival.
There are seven main stages and other minor stages scattered throughout the site. The Green stage is the main stage and it has a capacity for almost 50,000 spectators. Other stages include the White Stage, the Red Marquee, Orange Court, and Field of Heaven. The walks between some of the stages can be long, and some of the trails can be hilly, but the walks are beautiful, often taking you through forests and over sparkling streams. Dragondola – the longest gondola lift in the world, carries festival goers up to the top of the mountain overlooking the festival site.
The hub of the site is called Oasis where more than 30 food stalls from around the world gather. The main site closes each night after the final act, but Oasis continues to stay open until late at night, as well as the Red Marquee where an all-night rave continues until 5am. The site re-opens at 9am.
The festival's stated aim is to be "The cleanest festival in the world"; great effort is also put into recycling.
Although Naeba, being a ski resort, offers a number of accommodation options such as hotels, ryokan and minshuku within walking distance of the festival site, competition for these is fierce and they tend to book out very quickly. Many festival goers find accommodation in nearby ski resorts such as Tashiro, Asagai and Mitsumata – the free shuttle bus linking JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station (in the town of Yuzawa to the festival site can be used for these areas which are en route. Some even find accommodation in the numerous options available in Yuzawa itself. The shuttle bus takes between 40 minutes to an hour each way and runs until 2am each night.
Alternatively, there is a campsite on a golf course next to the festival site which costs ￥3000 for the weekend (2011), complete with toilets, showers and food stalls. About 17,000 festival goers choose to spend their nights here every year. The campsite is hilly in many places and flat spots are taken quickly, however, the manicured putting greens, which are the flattest areas are generally out of bounds to campers.
In previous years many took the option of sleeping rough – a relatively common practise amongst young Japanese during the warmer months thanks to a low crime rate – in the vicinity of the site and Echigo-Yuzawa Station, however this is now prohibited.
The festival is a free 40–60-minute shuttle bus ride from JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station in the town of Yuzawa, on the Joetsu Shinkansen (bullet train) line which link it to Tokyo station in about 1.5 hours. JR Shinkansen ticket, Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa is 6,490 Yen one way (for a reserved seat). Car parking also available for 3,000 Yen per day at the festival site area.
The first year of the festival, held on Tenjinyama Ski Resort near Mt Fuji (and hence the name), was a disaster. It was scheduled to be a two-day event, but by sheer bad luck the first day of the event was struck by a typhoon. The Red Hot Chili Peppers' headline set, played through a storm despite Anthony Kiedis having a broken arm, is almost legendary amongst Fuji Rock veterans. The festival-goers were poorly prepared for the heavy rain and strong winds, and many needed medical attention from hypothermia (although no deaths occurred). The organisers decided to cancel the second day of the event (which turned out to be sunny), and thus ended Japan's first outdoor rock festival. The organizers were criticized for being poorly prepared for bad weather, and for not organising enough buses to link the site to the nearest train station.
The second year, the festival moved to a temporary location in Toyosu, on Tokyo's waterfront. Although the event was a success, many found the searing heat of mid-summer Tokyo too much to bear, and it was decided that the next event was to return to the relative coolness of the mountains.
It was in 1999 the festival found its home in Naeba, Niigata prefecture. Naeba is not anywhere close to Mt. Fuji, however, the festival still retains its original name. After the horrific first year, the organizers have been running the festival smoothly up until present.
The festival runs from Friday 27 July until Sunday 29 July in 2012. Headline acts on The Green Stage are The Stone Roses, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Radiohead.
The festival ran from Friday 29 July until Sunday 31 July 2011. Headline acts on The Green Stage were Coldplay, The Faces and The Chemical Brothers, The Music closed the festival out as special guests.
The festival ran from Friday 30 July until Sunday 1 August 2010. Headline acts on The Green Stage were Muse, Roxy Music and Massive Attack, Scissor Sisters closed the festival out as special guests.
The festival ran from Friday 24 July until Sunday 26 July in 2009. Headline acts on The Green Stage were Oasis, Franz Ferdinand and Weezer.
In 2008, the festival ran from Friday, 25 July through until Sunday, 27 July.
Artists included Adrian Sherwood, Asian Dub Foundation, Bettye Lavette, Bill Laswell presents Method of Defiance, Bloc Party, Bootsy Collins Tribute to the Godfather of Soul, The Breeders, The Courteeners, The Cribs, The Cro-Magnons, CSS, Dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip, The Death Set, Denki Groove, Doberman, Ellegarden, Erol Alkan, Feeder, Flower Travellin' Band, Foals, The Futureheads, The Go! Team, Gogol Bordello, Gossip, Grandmaster Flash, Hard-Fi, Hocus Pocus, Ian Brown, Jamie Lidell, Jason Mraz, Kasabian, Kate Nash, Lee Scratch Perry, My Bloody Valentine, Mystery Jets, Ozomatli, The presidents of the United States of America, Primal Scream, Princess Superstar, Quruli, Richie Hawtin, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ryukyudisko, Seasick Steve, Sparks, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Travis, Tricky, Underworld, The Vines, The Whigs, White Lies, Yura Yura Teikoku, The Zutons, Uri Nakayama and many more.
The 2007 festival ran from Friday, 27 July through Sunday, 29 July.
Some of the bands that played in 2007 were Ash, The Ataris, Battles, Beastie Boys, The Bird and the Bee, Blonde Redhead, Boredoms, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Chemical Brothers, The Cure, Feist, Fountains of Wayne, Friction, G. Love & Special Sauce, Gov't Mule, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Groove Armada, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Jarvis Cocker, The John Butler Trio, Jonathan Richman, Joss Stone, Juliette and the Licks, Justice, Kaiser Chiefs, Kemuri, Kings of Leon, Kula Shaker, Less Than Jake, Mika, Money Mark, Muse, Ocean Colour Scene, The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group, Peter Bjorn and John, Ratatat, The Shins, Simian Mobile Disco, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, and Yo La Tengo. Ticket prices for the 2007 festival remained unchanged from the 2006 event.
The 2006 festival ran from Friday, 28 July until Sunday, 30 July (actually Monday morning).
International artists booked for the 2006 festival included Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, Happy Mondays, Jet, The Raconteurs, Sonic Youth, Wolfmother, Snow Patrol, The Hives, Dirty Pretty Things, KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz, The Cooper Temple Clause, Madness, Mogwai, Scissor Sisters, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Super Furry Animals, Gnarls Barkley, The Zutons, Flogging Molly, The String Cheese Incident, Donavon Frankenreiter, Tommy Guerrero, Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., The Cribs, Kula Shaker, 2manydjs, Junior Senior, Tristan Prettyman, Broken Social Scene, The Automatic, Killing Joke, Haruomi Hosono, Denki Groove, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Milburn and many more. Tickets; early bird advance tickets were available for ￥32,000. It was possible to buy a 1-day ticket. The cost was ￥16,800, however, only 10,000 1-day tickets were sold each day. There is an on-site campsite, which costs ￥2,500 per person. Parking is available at a cost of ￥2,000/day, but you must have a minimum of two people travelling by car.
The 2005 festival ran from the weekend of 29 – 31 July 2005. Headliners on the Green stage include Foo Fighters, and Coldplay on Friday, Fatboy Slim and Beck on Saturday, and New Order and Primal Scream on Sunday. Other artists to perform in 2005 were The Beach Boys, Asian Dub Foundation, Charlotte Hatherley, Kaiser Chiefs, The Music, Cake, The Pogues, Röyksopp, Mylo, Night Snipers, Simple Plan, The Longcut, Laurent Garnier, Prefuse 73, Moby, Lisa Loeb, The Beautiful Girls, Eddi Reader, Maxïmo Park, Los Lobos, Dinosaur Jr., Gang of Four, Juliette and the Licks, Mercury Rev, Bill Laswell, United State of Electronica, Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, My Morning Jacket, Sigur Rós, The Mars Volta, The Go! Team, Doves, The Coral, Soulive, The John Butler Trio, The Magic Numbers, Athlete and many more.
The Chemical Brothers, Sikth, Franz Ferdinand, Jamie Cullum, Jet, Lou Reed, The Stills, The Streets, Ben Kweller, Santos, Sikth, Pixies, Courtney Love, The Killers, Dizzie Rascal, PJ Harvey, Primus, The White Stripes, Haven, Basement Jaxx, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The X-Ecutioners, Ozomatli, The Zutons, Snow Patrol, Jimmy Eat World, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jack Johnson, Donavon Frankenreiter, Belle & Sebastian, The Charlatans, Cosmic Rough Riders, Graham Coxon, !!!, Keller Williams, múm, Simple Kid, Ash, Keane, moe., The Libertines, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Hifana, Tokyo Jihen and many more.
Asian Dub Foundation – Anthrax – Björk – Coldplay – El Gran Silencio – Elvis Costello – Evanescence – Iggy Pop – Massive Attack – Mogwai – Primal Scream – Underworld – Yo La Tengo – Macy Gray – The Music – The Libertines – Sugar Ray – Ben Harper – Sly and Robbie with Michael Rose – Danko Jones – Death in Vegas – Prefuse 73 – G. Love & Special Sauce – Dirty Dozen Brass Band – Steve Winwood – John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers – Vincent Gallo – The Orb – Lemon Jelly – The Jeevas and many more.
The Chemical Brothers – Ian Brown – Pet Shop Boys – The Prodigy – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Sonic Youth – Muse – The Music – Midtown – The Get Up Kids – Cornelius – The Cooper Temple Clause – Jane's Addiction – Alec Empire – The Jeevas – George Clinton – The Skatalites – Manu Chao – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Television – Patti Smith – The White Stripes – Trik Turner – The Cinematic Orchestra – DJ Shadow – X-Press 2 – Queens of the Stone Age – Spiritualized – The String Cheese Incident – Doves – Supercar and many more.
The festival ran from Friday 27 July until Sunday 29 July in 2001. Headline acts on The Green Stage were Oasis, Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Eminem.
Other acts included: New Order – Squarepusher – Boredoms – The Cooper Temple Clause – Feeder – Stereo MCs – Echo & the Bunnymen – Brian Eno – Coldcut – Mos Def – Unkle – Mogwai – Tegan and Sara and many more.
Asian Dub Foundation – Blankey Jet City – The Chemical Brothers – Ian Brown – Primal Scream – MDFMK – Yo La Tengo – Foo Fighters – Elliott Smith – Placebo – The Killer Barbies – Fishbone – Johnny Marr – Sonic Youth – Ozomatli – Rammstein – Run-D.M.C. – Mogwai – Super Furry Animals – Moby – Stereolab – Leftfield – Gomez – G. Love & Special Sauce – Elastica and many more.
Todos Tus Muertos – Rage Against the Machine – ZZ Top – Blur – Underworld – Phish – Atari Teenage Riot – The Black Crowes – The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – The Chemical Brothers – Limp Bizkit – Ray Davies – Ash – Ocean Colour Scene – Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – Femi Kuti – Tricky – Happy Mondays – Lee "Scratch" Perry – Mishka – Fountains of Wayne and many more.
Björk – Asian Dub Foundation – Beck – Ian Brown – Iggy Pop – Primal Scream – The Brian Jonestown Massacre – The Prodigy – Ben Folds Five – Korn – Garbage – Elvis Costello – Blankey Jet City – Thee Michelle Gun Elephant – Sonic Youth – Goldie – Tomoyasu Hotei – Shonen Knife and more.
Beck – Green Day – Foo Fighters – The Prodigy – Rage Against the Machine – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Southern Culture on the Skids – The High-Lows – The Yellow Monkey – Summercamp – Third Eye Blind and more
- Travel Japan Guide – The Fuji Rock Festival 2008
- Blog of music writer Dai Onojima (a transcript from his article on Music Magazine Sept., 1997 Issue (Japanese)
- Official site (Japanese)
- Official English site
- The official English language Fuji Rock Festival blog at fujirock.com
-  South China Morning Post slideshow of '06 and audio with Fuji Rock Festival pointman Johnnie Fingers.
- Photos and Reporting from '06
- Photos and Reporting from '07
- Photos and Reporting from '08
- Photos and Reporting From '09
- Short documentary film from '07
- "Sideshow Steal the Show" – Heso magazine