Esne Beltza is a large ensemble from the Basque Countries, the mountainous region that rests in the north of Spain and the south of France. Basque is one of the most ancient languages in Europe, predating the arrival of Latin and the Romans and having no relation to other contemporary European languages. People have spoken Basque – or Euskal, as the Basque people call their own country and language – in Spain’s mountains for literally thousands of years. So tradition runs deep, and Esne Betlza proudly accepts it, mixing traditional melodies and lyrics of modern Basque poetry with Latin rhythms, punk rock energy and various modern styles: hip hop, reggae, soul, rock, folk and Cumbia. In their own words, their music represents “the journey from the small Basque Country to the large world.”
This year, Esne Beltza will play several times at Fuji Rock, including sets on the White Stage and Crystal Palace Tent, a DJ set by band member DZ at the Blue Galaxy Tent, and also a pre-Fuji Rock warmup party at the Radical Music Network on July 25 at Club Asia in Tokyo.
- July 11, 2018 ● From Fujirockers.org
Before you start packing your wheelie bag or Igloo cooler, first ask yourself “what type of Fujirocker do I wanna be”. Thinking long and hard about this will eliminate some of the ballast from your belongings and maximize your chance of hanging with like minded people. Here are some of the regular looks we see each year.
The Rookie Stage is always a mixed bag of acts veering between wishy-washy bedroom pop, punk guitar-throwing, schedule-be-damned antics or energetic kawaii-pop. For those who play, the Rookie stage has sometimes opened up doors to wider success, and it’s this potential promise that keeps bands applying year on year for the chance to appear at the following year’s festival on a main stage.
Here’s a brief selection of bands worth checking out, if only because they break the mold of floppy-haired boys playing guitar to their shoes.
- July 9, 2018 ● Bands
In a more hip-hop-heavy lineup at Fujirock than ever, big names like Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone and N.E.R.D are sure to draw more fans of the genre to Naeba than in years past. Not to let overseas rap acts hog all the spotlight, a few Japanese hip-hop acts also have their sights set on expanding the presence of the genre at the festival. One of those acts, Jabba Da Football Club will take to Naeba Shokudo late Saturday to do just that.
Every year, Fuji Rock hosts at least one of those crazy Latin bands that play high-energy music makes you dance so hard your legs ache for the rest of the weekend. Their presence is almost always due to the work of Shogo Komiyama, head of the Japonicus, a music promoter who for nearly two decades has been bringing “mestizo” artists –– musicians mixing Latin, Caribbean and international influences –– from the Iberian peninsula, southern Europe and the Americas to Japan. This year, Shogo’s arranging much of the Friday night line-up at the Crystal Palace Tent, will host the Basque Country rockers Esne Beltza on the White Stage, and has set up a bunch of great vinyl DJs for the Blue Galaxy Tent on Saturday night.
Shogo’s also organizing the only Fuji Rock pre-party, his own Radical Music Network party on Wednesday, July 25 at Club Asia in Shibuya. It goes from 6:30pm to midnight and will feature members of Fishbone as part of an all-star mestizo lineup. (Quick note: anyone with a non-Japanese passport gets a JPY 500 discount on the door admission price. So if you’re getting to Tokyo early, check it out!)
To get the inside scoop on all the mestizo music action on and around Fuji Rock weekend, we caught up with Shogo for a quick preview of the Latin, ska and other music coming to Fuji Rock this year.
- June 29, 2018 ● Bands
While ‘kawaii’ may remain one of the most recognizable Japanese phrases and cultural cliches inside and outside the country, as an aesthetic concept it doesn’t provide musicians much artistic freedom. Then Nagoya’s CHAI comes in and flips the script.
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.
- June 26, 2018 ● From Fujirockers.org
It was a wild weekend of music and camaraderie as Fujirocker head honcho Koichi Hanufusa led a half-dozen of the J-crew for the short 3 hour flight across the pond to Taipei. The first night was a battle to topple 12-year old bottle of Nikka whisky and a chance to to dig through some records at host restaurant Alleycats. By 11pm, the conversation turned to Benny Goodman and the fifty plus swing dancers who did more prancing than swooning on this hot summer night. When the tents and banners arrived, it was time to tiptoe home, past patrolmen protecting the park, and back to the safe and spacious confines of Taipei Artist Village.
- June 23, 2018 ● Essentials
While obviously most of the action at Fujirock goes down within the festival gates, or just outside them, there are a few amenities that the usually sleepy Naeba town can offer during your festival experience. Home to a large selection of traditional inns, hotels, and souvineer shops, this little town is worth a stroll down the main drag at the least.
If you find yourself in need of the following; A quick dip in a hot spring or some basic supplies or snacks which you may have left at home, Naeba town has you covered.