- May 21, 2019 ● From Fujirockers.org
Akiyoshi Takada goes by many names. The most obvious is “Aki” and there’s “Madbunny” which UK friends use because of his signature character. In Japan many simply call him “Bunny”. During the festival, he can be hard to spot, either tending to his art work, or hiding behind a large camera as he’s an accomplished photographer with three published books of photos.
Befitting the bunny, Aki’s route to Fuji Rock was circuitous and unpredictable. Born in nearby Gunnma Prefecture, he had an early passion for snowboarding and skateboarding which inspired his world travels. Later, his art career took him to capitals such as London and Berlin where he continues to split time. It was the The 311 earthquake and tsunami led him to think of home, inspiring his “Hope” installation at APART London Summer Show (2011). The work paired concrete rubble with rows of flowers, reflecting the fortitude of survivors. Attracting the attention of Fuji Rock’s UK art team, Aki earned an invitation to join and specifically, “do something with the Boardwalk”.
“Despite” is a fitting adjective with which to start a sentence about many artists performing at Fuji Rock 2019. Many musicians on this year’s roster have so surely secured their place in the hearts of the masses, that they’ve graduated from the Hero’s Journey and onto a special place akin to artistic immortality. Death Cab for Cutie have secured a slot at this year’s festival despite having parted ways with their signature producer and lead guitarist Chris Walla, and Ging Nang Boyz accomplished the same feat despite only retaining the lead singer of their original lineup.
- April 30, 2019 ● From Fujirockers.org
Taiwanese indie darlings, Sunset Rollercoaster, are not what you expect. They don’t thrash or shoegaze behind dim live house lighting, but instead prefer the precision of a recording studio, in this case, one built in former cinema. And while their music may be suited to the Newport Jazz Festival, loyal college students sing along to every song, and passionately stream their music on headphones.
Having been both a music journalist and a musician myself since my high school days in the 90’s, my journey through this industry has been epic and winding. My first festival, as a musician, was the Boom ’n’ Blast in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A now-defunct teen band competition in my hometown’s central park, with a stage and a sound system worthy of household names, it made me feel like I had already reached the big leagues. However, they were still decades away. My first international festivals included Zandari Festa in Seoul, which I attended as an artist, and Music Matters in Singapore which I covered as a music journalist; the former operating on a mission statement similar to that of the original SXSW festivals (with an eye on showcasing the best in independent talent) and the latter hosting headliners like Pentatonix; the hot topics of the moment.
Imagine bypassing railway stations and boarding your very own private vehicle for Fuji Rock. Enjoy the comfort of cup holders, electric outlets, air-con, and bunk beds. Keep your beverages chilled and your rucksack tucked away. Best of all, when it rains, you will be 100% watertight.
As for the amenity that many ask about, “only use it in an emergency” is what the rental lot attendant instructed before we headed off down the highway.
- February 8, 2019 ● From Fujirockers.org
If you’re already thinking about heading to this year’s Fuji Rock Festival (July 26th-28th 2019), you may have noticed that ticketing information has been announced. The official site now has ticketing information up in multiple languages to make it easier on people coming from overseas. However, at this moment, links to apply for the early bird ticket lottery have not been posted. READ MORE
The first line-up announcement for Fuji Rock 2019 is out and brings with it a little something for everyone this year.
Last seen in Naeba back in 2011, The Chemical Brothers make their return to the headline slot, promoting their April release No Geography, No Geography.
Celebrating 40 years of music since thier first album Three Imaginary Boys, The Cure will also be making a return. Whether or not they will repeat thier epic 3-hour, 36-song performance from 2013 remains to be seen.
Enigmatic popstar SIA completes the first of the major headliners. Reaching wider international acclaim with her 2014 album 1000 Forms of Fear, SIA has most recently work a part of LSD, a supergroup with Diplo and Labrinth. The Australian singer-songwriter makes her Fuji Rock debut (along with dancer Maddie) this year.
Other notable additions to the large line-up include Janelle Monae and Thom Yorke’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. Singer, songwriter and actress Janelle Monae released her Dirty Computer album in 2018, with single “Make Me Feel” most clearly nodding to the influence of Prince working on the album with her before his death. Meanwhile, Thom Yorke’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes promises stunning visuals alongside glitchy and atmospheric music from this 2014 release (and perhaps a few more recent additions?).
Here’s the full first line-up.
THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, THE CURE, SIA
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, JAMES BLAKE, JASON MRAZ, MARTIN GARRIX
JANELLE MONAE ALVVAYS, AMERICAN FOOTBALL, ANNE-MARIE, BANDA BASSOTTI, CAKE, CALPURNIA, CHON, DANIEL CAESAR, GARY CLARK JR., GEORGE PORTER JR & FRIENDS, INTERACTIVO, , KAYTRANADA, KHRUANGBIN, KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD, THE LUMINEERS, MATADOR! SOUL SOUNDS, MITSKI, NICOLA CRUZ, RED HOT CHILLI PIPERS, SHAME, STELLA DONNELLY, TORO Y MOI, UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, THE WATERBOYS, YAEJI
Tickets go on sale today. Check out FAQs for how to get yours!
Photo: Julen Esteban-Pretel
While the early morning mist and clouds prevented those who were ambitious enough to wake up at the crack of dawn from being able to see the sunrise, by the time most folks were rolling out of their sleeping bags, the sky was blue the mercury was rising. Asagiri Jam’s second day would show just how much fun the festival can be when Mother Nature plays along.
Feeling like a scaled down, chilled out and grown-up cousin of Fuji Rock, Asagiri Jam has been going strong since 2001. This perennially sold out, 10,000-person strong yet intimate party gives you plenty of time to sit back, relax, and really enjoy some music and some nature. And this year was no exception, with legends like Yo La Tengo, Clammbon and Boredoms shoulder to shoulder with artists like Gogo Penguin, Snail Mail and John Butler Trio. All this in an idyllic setting with an iconic view of Mt Fuji. What more could you ask for?
To say that recent temperatures have been unseasonably high in Japan is a bit of an understatement. For a country with typically hot and humid summers, this year’s has been especially brutal. But don’t let that get in the way of having a great time at Fuji Rock! With the big event starting in mere moments, here are some little tips to beat the heat while you rock the fest.