Fuji Rock Festival


Fuji Rock Festival

infobox music festival
music_festival_name = Fuji Rock Festival


location = Naeba, Japan
years_active= 1997 - present
dates = last weekend of July (3 days)
genre = Rock
website = [http://www.fujirockfestival.com/ Official site]

Fuji Rock Festival is an annual rock festival held in Naeba ski resort, in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The 3 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.

Fuji Rock Festival is named so because the first event, in 1997, was held on the footslopes of Mount Fuji. Its current home in Naeba is nowhere near Mt Fuji, but the name remains.

The festival

Since 1999, the festival has been taking place in Naeba, a ski resort in winter. The location is stunning, set amidst forested mountains. The festival's stated aim is to be "The cleanest festival in the world", and the cleanliness of the site and facilities, as well as the effort put into recycling, is often commented on.

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 night before the festival (Thursday night) features an opening party which is free entry, featuring bon-odori (traditional Japanese folk dance), prize draws, food stalls and a fireworks display.

Accommodation

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 2000 yen for the weekend, 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.

Access

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. [ [http://worldstepper-daworldisntenough.blogspot.com/2008/07/travel-japan-guide-fuji-rock-festival.html Travel Japan Guide - The Fuji Rock Festival 2008] ]

History

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. [ [http://onojima.txt-nifty.com/articles/2006/07/post_845d.html Blog of music writer Dai Onojima (a transcript from his article on Music Magazine Sept., 1997 Issue (Japanese)] ]

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.

2007

The 2007 festival ran from Friday, July 27th through Sunday, July 29th.

Some of the bands that played in 2007 were Ash, The Ataris, Beastie Boys, Blonde Redhead, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Chemical Brothers, The Cure, Feist, Fountains of Wayne, Friction, Gov't Mule, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, The John Butler Trio, Jonathan Richman, Joss Stone, Justice, Kaiser Chiefs, Kemuri, Kula Shaker, Less Than Jake, Mika, 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.

2006

The 2006 festival ran from Friday, July 28th until Sunday, July 30th (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, Denki Groove and many more. Tickets for the 2006 festival cost ¥39,800. Early bird advanced 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.

2005

The 2005 festival ran from the weekend of July 29-July 31 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 Röyksopp, Cagedbaby, Mylo, Night Snipers, Sugiurumn, The Longcut, Laurent Garnier, Shibachoff, Moby (who incidentally appeared along with UK rockers Transition at Formoz Festival in Taipei the night before) and many more.

2004

The Chemical Brothers, Franz Ferdinand, Jamie Cullum, Jet, Lou Reed, The Stills, The Streets, Ben Kweller, Santos (artist), Sikth, Pixies, Courtney Love, The Killers, Dizzie Rascal, PJ Harvey, Primus and The White Stripes.

2003

Asian Dub Foundation - Anthrax - Björk - Coldplay - Elvis Costello - Evanescence - Iggy Pop - Massive Attack - Mogwai - Primal Scream - Underworld - Yo La Tengo

2002

The Chemical Brothers - Ian Brown - Pet Shop Boys - The Prodigy - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Sonic Youth - Muse - The Music - Midtown - The Get Up Kids - Supercar - The Cooper Temple Clause

2001

Asian Dub foundation - Alanis Morissette - Alec Empire - Eminem - Manic Street Preachers - Neil Young & Crazy Horse - New Order - Oasis - System of a Down - Squarepusher - Boredoms - The Cooper Temple Clause

2000

Asian Dub Foundation - Blankey Jet City - The Chemical Brothers - Ian Brown - Primal Scream - MDFMK - Yo La Tengo

1999

Todos Tus Muertos - Rage Against the Machine - ZZ Top - Blur.

1998

Asian Dub Foundation- Beck - Bjork - Ian Brown - Iggy Pop - Primal Scream - Prodigy - Garbage, - Elvis Costello - Blankey Jet City - Sonic Youth - Tomoyasu Hotei

1997

Beck - Green Day - Foo Fighters - Prodigy - Rage Against the Machine - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Southern Culture on the Skids - Artificial Joy - The High Lows - The Yellow Monkey - Summercamp

References

External links

* [http://www.fujirockfestival.com Official site (Japanese)]
* [http://www.smash-uk.com/frf08/ Official English site]
* [http://streaming.scmp.com/podcasting/upload/music_FujiRock.mp4] A South China Morning Post slideshow of Fuji Rock Festival 2006 with images by Kevin Utting and audio that includes an interview with Fuji Rock Festival pointmen Johnnie Fingers. Podcast dated
* [http://www.fujirockexpress.com/07english/ | Reports on past Fuji Rock Festivals]
* [http://www.monocle.com/sections/culture/Web-Articles/Fuji-Rock-Festival/ Short documentary film from Fuji Rock Festival 2007 by Monocle]


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