- October 13, 2016 ● Experiences
A Red Fuji sunset, the Skatalites, and so much more!
by Dave Frazier
Japanese music fans variously refer to Asagiri Jam as “the real Fuji Rock”, “the festival with the original Fuji Rock idea” and “the Fuji Rock afterparty.” I was also told, “The music is not even that important, people just want to go there and hang out.”
The 2-day event, which attracts around 10,000 every year, saw performances by the Skatalites, Todd Terje & the Olsens, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Floating Points, Toe and others bands, was held Oct. 8 and 9 on the lower slopes of Mount Fuji, and the main stage and camping area afford incredible views of the mountain when the weather cooperates. It is organized by Smash Japan, which also organizes Fuji Rock, and has been held in early October — about two and a half months after Fuji Rock — annually since 2001.
With the fest mere days away now, regardless of how many times you’ve attended Fuji Rock, there’s always the chance you might forget something that could put a major damper on your experience. I put together a quick and easy top 10 list, something I call my top 10 Fuji Rock essentials. Show up to the festival with these items and everything should be all good. READ MORE
Let’s be honest, you can probably have a pretty good festival just sitting on your ass in front of the Green Stage. By my estimation, a good number of people (dare we say the majority) actually do just this. On Friday, a nice lineup of Boredoms < Biffy Clyro < Jake Bugg < James Blake < and Sigur Ros aint a bad way to pass the day. READ MORE
20th Anniversary Special: An Oral History of 1997By Dave FrazierThis year we will celebrate the 20th ever Fuji Rock Festival. The first year, 1997, was legendary both as a triumph and a disaster. Held at the Tenjinyama Ski Resort on the slopes of Mt. Fuji, a typhoon struck during the first day’s headliner set by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the rest of the festival was cancelled. Several of the bands that performed that year will now return for Fuji Rock’s 20th anniversary, including headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers and three acts that never made it to the stage, Beck, Squarepusher and Lee “Scratch” Perry. Several other acts from Fuji Rock #1 have become Fuji Rock regulars, returning to the festival over and over again, such as Foo Fighters and Boredoms. Still more music legends were there behind the scenes, like The Clash’s lead singer Joe Strummer, who was a Fuji Rock regular till his death in 2002 and leaves us the marvelous legacy of the Palace of Wonder, which grew out of the campfire parking lot party he started in Naeba in 2000.
Allow me to kick off the start of a (possible) day curating series here at Fujirockers. Let us plan your day for you. We know the festival is massive and the lineup is daunting. Planning a day is often confusing and the lineup often conflicts. So, let us do the dirty work for you. This (possible) series is a way for us experienced Fujirockers to guide you through a day, taking you through which bands to see when and why.
When thinking about which bands to check out at Japan’s premiere rock festival this summer, a pair of classically trained cellists might not be at the top of your list, but they should be. 2Cellos are no ordinary cellists and their main stage set Sunday should be a sight to behold. This pair of young men hailing from Zagreb, Croatia are taking the cello places no one ever thought possible. They’re bringing the instrument out from behind the stuffy, often pretentious atmosphere of the orchestra setting and showcasing it on the main stage, attracting millions through the Internet and rocking summer festivals around the world. READ MORE
- June 20, 2016 ● Experiences
There’s not much else I can think of that will more effectively cure a mid-festival sore lower back and tired set of legs from trekking across the wide grounds than a quick (or maybe not-so-quick) soak in a hot-spring bath. Luckily for Fujirockers, nearby “Yukisasa-no-Yu“, a Japanese natural hot spring located right in Naeba-town extends its hours of operation to remain open around the clock during the entirety of the festival. This means you’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing hot bath even after catching a 3am set at the Red Marquee or partying until sunrise at the Palace of Wonder.
- June 5, 2016 ● Experiences
The lineups for 10 of the 11 small stages were just announced last Friday June 3, and even if you are not familiar with all the acts, rest assured, these stages will be tons of fun! For it is these stages that the Fuji Rock carnies call home, coming out of their subterranean musical grottoes to bedazzle fest-goers with their sly musical magic. Only the Rookie A Go Go lineup is still to come. (Check new additions to the lineup here.) So this is a perfect time to continue with our Comprehensive Guide to the Small Stages of FRF.
But first, a rock’n’roll caveat. In the documentary Gimme Shelter, as the Rolling Stones were preparing for Altamont, Mike Jagger was quoted as saying, “The concert is just an excuse, really…” And then, mid-sentence, he trailed off into dreamy rapture, as if he had just discovered the thing the concert was an excuse for somewhere in the middle of his stoned-out mind. There are at least 11 small stages at Fuji Rock and even more festival areas. To paraphrase Lord Mick, the big stages are just the excuse, really… for the small stages, because that’s really where the festival springs to life.
In our last guide to the small stages, we looked at the chill-out zones. This time, let’s focus on the party spots, namely the Palace of Wonder complex and Cafe de Paris. And as the Palace actually comprises several separate stages/areas, we will also break that down.
- June 2, 2016 ● Experiences
One major trend at Fuji Rock in recent years has been the development of small stages. There are now at least nine small stages, and even more activity areas, even though the fest is best know for the famous bands that play on its four major stages. The small stages are the mini-scenes within festival’s big ecosystem, representing everything from underground rock clubs (Rookie-a-Go-Go) to folk singer cafes (Pyramid Garden) to raves in remote natural landscapes (Day Dreaming) or a boozy Caribbean burlesque joint (Cafe de Paris).
It’s no accident that while the big stages have anonymous, color-coded names (Red Marquee, Green Stage, White Stage and Field of Heaven), the small stages have unique names that indicate personality. Here’s a quick guide, starting with Gypsy Avalon, Pyramid Garden and Day Dreaming. READ MORE
Let me preface this article by saying I highly recommend getting the 3 day pass to Fuji Rock in order to get the full experience. As someone who has gone up for a single day and night in the past, I feel that in order to grasp the essence of Fuji Rock, what makes it different from your average festival, is to take in the festival experience as a whole and not just bits and pieces. Secondly, I made this article a list as people generally like lists and it should be easy to read. Keep in mind, it’s not a ranked top 10 list, but just my list of 10 tips. If after reading it, you feel I’m missing something crucial for newcomers to Fuji Rock let myself and the readers know. With that said, let’s get to it.