Looking back on the years of Fuji Rock, it’s always interesting to look at trends or changes that have helped shape the festival’s vibe. For example, this year’s outing is anchored by the usual big-name headliners, but seems to be underlined by a stronger showing than ever before of young up-and-coming Japanese acts.
Fuji Rock has always been known as a celebration of musical acts from all over the world, but the inclusion of more and more Japanese acts in recent years could be echoing the current rise in strength and influence of Japanese music around the world.
Perhaps due to their presence on the world stage and travel from other countries to the festival, it’s still mainly the overseas artists invited to Fuji Rock that often end up getting top billing and taking the spotlight from equally famous Japanese artists appearing here. Taking into account the overall lineups recently however, this could be something that might push more Japanese acts into headliner status and transform the Fuji Rock experience in years to come.
While that’s a gradual change that many festival goers are sure to be picking up on, this time I’d like to reflect back on previous years and perhaps start a discussion on some trends of past headlining acts.
There will always be the veterans; Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Foo Fighters, Noel Gallagher, as well as this year’s returnee Bjork are all very familiar faces to the Fuji Rock main-stage lineup over the years.
Big names like these are sure to be a main draw for fans to return to the festival, but I think more credit goes to the variety that the main headlining acts showcase that ends up setting the core vibe of the festival each year.
Of course, the appeal of the Fuji Rock experience lies with much more than the three to five big-name acts that appear on the main stage, but we do rely on headlining acts to close out each day and wow us with consistently over-the-top performances. What kind of role, though, do these top artists really play in drawing crowds to the festival? If we take a look at top-billed acts from previous years, are there perhaps any patterns that come to the surface?
2016 Sigur Ros, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck
2015 Foo Fighters, Muse, Noel Gallagher, Deadmaus
2014 Franz Ferdinand, Arcade Fire, Jack Johnson
2013 Nine Inch Nails, Bjork, The Cure
2012 The Stone Roses, Noel Gallagher, Radiohead
2011 Coldplay, The Faces, The Music, The Chemical Brothers
2010 Muse, Roxy Music, Massive Attack
The possibility of an interesting pattern or trend in headlining acts is just something to ponder, but do you notice any interesting artist combinations that had a major draw for you, or notice a particularly weak/strong/unusual or memorable year because of the main acts that appeared?
Any trends or big changes to the festival (The end of the Orange Court?) or lineup (big-name artist cancellations?) over the years that had a big impact on you? We’d like to hear them too! Let us know in the comments.
Photo by 粂井健太
Text by Park Baker
A few days ago my colleague Sean touched on why music festivals matter, in this post I’m going to tell you why you should make Fuji Rock the one festival that matters the most. There are a number of ways you can spend your hard earned money and time this summer, so why choose Fuji Rock? The Japan summer festival season is impressive. There are loads of festivals and/or concerts you can attend, great bands and DJs you can take in every weekend this summer. READ MORE
- May 19, 2017 ● Experiences
Festivals existed long before Woodstock discovered mud wrestling and are no different than regional events like tractor pulls and cake bakes which basically are around to mark the dull passage of time. Such events also serve to pair adolescents from similar socio-economic groups, hoping that courtship will end in copulation to propagate the culture of the dominant group and thereby continue traditions such as blueberry pies and mint juleps.
- 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.