Starting last year, with the addition of Craft Beer Market at Fuji Rock, bringing along 4 booths of the country’s top brewers and importers, (concurrently offering a total of around 20 different craft beers at one time) the standard for quality beer at the festival was substantially raised. This was great news for beer fans all throughout Naeba. READ MORE
Now that you’ve got your waterproof shoes and practical camping clothes picked out, it’s time to throw some actual fashion items into your luggage. So make sure to save some room for a frog suit, panda mask, interesting headgear, face paint, or exceptional clothing items that will have the punters lining up to snap selfies with you. Need some inspiration? Here’s a sampling of festival fashion statements from 2017.
How goes it my fellow Fuji Rockers? I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, we’re closing in on one month to go before the yearly extravaganza in Naeba. So, whether this is your first dance or your twentieth, it’s never a bad idea to be reminded of some of the things that will help you make the most of our beloved, mountainous, musical marathon.
The allure of magic is something that transcends age and culture. Basically, everybody gets a kick out of a good magic trick. But the best magic takes place in the context of a great show, courtesy of a great showman. Few are able to make magic an indie art form like Tokyo’s Masato Moja. Typically he can be seen busking around the country, frequently in collaboration with his partner in crime EPPAI (who will also be performing at Fuji Rock). But his festival shows are always a special treat.
Generally punk and one-man band are not concepts that fit together neatly in a person’s mind. Also, one would assume that the real draw of a one-man band would be the skill of the performance, not the crowd-work and attitude around the edges. Especially when the performance involves playing violin and piano at the same time. But Tokyo’s EPPAI takes the anarchy and musical/comedic sensibilities of the Marx brothers and repackages it for the 21st century in the form of a punk one-man band performance artist.
The best music festival in the Far East, and possibly the known world, is upon us yet again my friends. So while I couldn’t possibly list all the reasons to get excited about Fuji Rock this year, let’s examine a few. READ MORE
- August 10, 2017 ● Experiences
This year’s festival was memorable in many ways such an outstanding Field of Heaven line-up and rainfall which was “intermittent” instead of constant. But how does this year stack up against of yore? For this we need to look back at the records.
Many Fuji Rock veterans believe the festival really hit it’s stride in 2005. That was when the fest expanded to 200 plus bands, many performing on stages that were little more than boardwalks, noodle stalls, or any clearing big enough for a pair of speaker stands. Doubling the number of performers also led to international visitors Many were drawn to Fuji Rock in 2005 as two Billboard No. 1 artists, Foo Fighters and Coldplay, played on the same night (Friday) and on the same stage (Green).
And holy shit something so cool couldn’t go off with a little incident as Dave Grohl would trade barbs with Chris Martin which would carry over into their sets. Saturday was a similar double scoop of stars with Fatboy Slim and Beck on the Green Stage and Sunday it was God bless UK legends New Order and Primal Scream. Imagine that, 6 bonafide festival headliners in three days. It was like the festival gods aligned in Japan that weekend. The excellent programming didn’t end there as the Pogues played and so did My Morning Jacket, and Sigur Ros.
But basically the reason the festival hit it’s stride was because it went bananas in creating multiple stages in areas where you thought it wasn’t possible to put a stage. Getting to the festival site a few weeks before the event must have stirred some creativity and with a little bit of lumber and extra equipment, we got more performance spaces so artists could do multiple sets at the festival. I am sure the record companies loved it, and so did the audience. Take a look at this Mokudo Tei (boardwalk stage) and here we see a photo of Los Lobos playing on the damn footpath without even a tent! That’s just plain nuts.
Fuji Rock’s resident DJ Jim West tipped me off to the fact that 2005 could have been the best year ever. He noted than Australian photographer living in Taiwan, Jimmie Wing, took pictures for UK’s Total Production magazine (TPi) which is the music industry’s most authoritative monthly dedicated to the design and technology of live events, from concert, gigs and festival productions. Appearing in this magazine for the first time leading keyed in the international audience to just how huge and significant of a festival Fuji Rock has become.
More importantly, Wing’s photos really captured the spirit of the festival and the fans, even impressing concert organizers when later published. “He saw a totally different side of Fuji Rock that we never did. We spend all our time looking down at turntables and equipment and never get a chance to walk around.”
We did a little bit of digging around and got in touch with Jimmie Wing and he’s agreed to let us use these three photos from 2005, photos that as of yet, have never seen the light of day. Enjoy.
All images credited to JIMMIE WING
As the festival is now less than a week away you should start getting your packing organized sooner rather than later. This year, like many of you, I will be braving the elements, pitching my tent and camping in the mountains of Naeba. So partially for myself, as well as the readers of this blog I decided to put together a short list of essential or commonly forgotten camping items. I’m going to exclude obvious things like your actual tent or sleeping bag, as those go without saying. The list is purposely short as I want to get the conversation started. Are these 5 items essentials for you too? What else is on your Fuji camping checklist? Read my list below then tell me what I missed. READ MORE
- July 20, 2017 ● Experiences
First things first. After enjoying a beery bus ride or an express taxi, get your wristband right away. The line will be shorter. You don’t want to be like a few pals of mine who put it off for another day only to get stuck in hour plus lines the next day. And don’t pull your wristband too tight as three days of drinking and lead to some swelling in your extremities, especially your beer drinking hand. For campers, the site opens at noon, so pick a spot with some shade rather than settling for steep slope. After you’ve dropped your load, grab your wallet and a rain coat and head to the festival gates which officially open at 6pm. That’s when the vendors start selling inside the festival as well so no need to get there too early.
The Bon Odori dance is well documented and is probably the first public event that takes place on Thursday night, just as the sun is beginning to dip below the kebab tents. The music is a mix of blaring Nakashi music and taiko drums performed by Naeba native, Fujio Moroto. There’s a little dancing to this easy beat and it’s slow enough so that foreigners can easily join in. Mr. Moroto has been keeping the beat steady for the past 15 years and he’s a good example of how the festival has ingratiated itself into the community. If you didn’t know it, this Thursday pre-party is free to the general public and is when the good village folk of Naeba and a few local politicians walk the grounds.