• Fun for young and young at heart. Photo: Taizo Konishi

    A Little Rain Never Hurt Anyone – Asagiri Jam ’18 – Day 1


    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?

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  • Mr. AQ himself, Albert Kuwano in his element.

    Fujirockers chat to Albert Kuwano of AQ Bevolution!


    Mr. AQ himself, Albert Kuwano in his element.

    Mr. AQ himself, Albert Kuwano in his element.

     

    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

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    Camping essentials


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    Twilight camping in the hills of Naeba

    If you haven’t reserved other accommodations for Fuji Rock this late in the game, I’m going to assume, much like myself and the bulk of the Fuji Rock attendees, you are going to be camping in the rolling mountains of Naeba! READ MORE

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    What on Earth should I wear to Fuji Rock?


    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.

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    7 Fuji Rock Do’s and Don’ts


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    A Fuji Rock do or don’t? We’ll let you decide!

    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.

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  • Magic in the Mountains

    Masato Moja: Add Some Magic to Your Fuji Rock


    Abracadabra

    Abracadabra

    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.

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  • EPPAI, busking and basking

    EPPAI, Clown Prince of the Madcap


    EPPAI, busking and basking

    EPPAI, busking and basking

    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.  

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    5 reasons to get excited about Fuji Rock 2018


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    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

  • Juliette Lewis performing live at Fuji Rock Festival, Japan 2005

    Three Pictures That Made Fuji Rock Famous: 2005


    Juliette Lewis performing live at Fuji Rock Festival, Japan 2005

    Juliette Lewis performing live at Fuji Rock Festival, Japan 2005

    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.

    Los Lobos rocking out in the woods.

    Los Lobos rocking out in the woods.


    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.

    Joe Strummer's Shrine at Fuji Rock Festival, Japan

    Joe Strummer’s Shrine at Fuji Rock Festival, Japan

    All images credited to JIMMIE WING

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    What to bring when you camp?


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    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

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