We’re back, and in a big way! No half-measures this year like social distancing and no alcohol sales but ramping it up like Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters said it, “Full Fuji.”
“Palace of Wonder”
Sitting majestically on top of a hill, the Spiegel Tent was a beacon for those who dug deep inside of themselves and wanted one more party. Sure there were the purists who thought the old location was better, but I’m not going to waste words discussing this. And it’s a big up for those that made it happen, balancing a 100-year old tent on uneven ground, and even pulling it out of a container after four years of moldy storage. The art was back thanks to Debs and Strapper and the crew, who are the blood and sweat of the festival.
It was a joy traveling to different stages this year, and every effort was made to make the walk even more meaningful with images for former Fuji Rockers like Joe Strummer and Taylor Hawkins. I like to call it the “Stay Free” highway and would play the Clash song to remind everyone about the hard work, commitment, and dedication that made independent music a viable art form. As Joe strummer would say “without people your nothing.”
Backstage, where many weren’t allowed to travel were other signs for promoters and other artists like Marc Zermatti of Sky Dog Records from Paris, France, who also helped introduced punk rock music to Europe and the world. But even without knowing these backstories, traveling through the forest daytime, nighttime, or even sun up was a true pleasure. There was art, there was nature, there were friends, and most of all dear reader, there was you!
“LGBTQ pride and awareness”
Thanks to brave artists like Lizzo and others, Japan audiences were given aa glimpse at a community where “love is love” and it truly didn’t matter who you were holding hands with, kissing, or called your partner. Many stigmas still exist in regular, daily life, but for one magical weekend, we were all accepting with individual preferences and dropped out prejudices.
On a similar note, the 30,000 plus audience each day were especially polite and appreciative of each other. Friends have noted that it would be nice if we could all take this “Fuji Spirit” back with us to our offices, our homes, and our communities. A little love and kindness can go a long way.
If there was one location that was a home for all sentient beings, it was Don’s Cafe. Located on a distant path behind Prince Hotel on the way to Pyramid Gardens, this venue served rainbow crepes, coffee, gin and tonics, and hosted a handful of bands. But more than anything, it encouraged people to be nice to pets and potentially adopt a dog or cat. In the Ganban Store, there was a t-shirt listing all of Masa’s cats and dogs, and it was quite a big list. Adopting a furry friend just might make us better people.
Music across the board was outstanding, but the Green Stage really hit its mark this year as it was well-managed, accessible, friendly, and on-time with scheduling. Perfect weather didn’t hurt but spending an afternoon camped out in the grass, under a tree, or up in the hills, simply couldn’t be any better.
Alright, what everyone is waiting for is which bands rocked. After a few conversations, I can attest that these bands brought their best: Idles, Lizzo, Foo Fighters, Cory Wong, Black Midi, Weezer, Alanis Morissette.