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.
Or should that be the “Seoul” Sauce?Japan has had a strong reggae and ska scene for decades, and Fuji Rock has always been one of it’s major showcases. But Korean reggae? Yes, it exists. And now Fuji Rock has that too.NST & The Soul Sauce is an eight-piece band based in Seoul, South Korea, will make their first visit to Fuji Rock this year, playing on Saturday 7/23 at the Cafe de Paris (1pm) and Crystal Palace tent (3:15am). Though the band was formed last year as a recording project for Korean recording industry veteran — and a man with a silky smooth voice — Noh Seon Teck, the sound they came up with had so much style and swagger they couldn’t just call it a day. So they kept going, gigging around Korea, and now making their first visit to Naeba. To find more about the band, the Korean reggae scene, and the state of Rastifarianism on the Korean peninsula, I caught up with the guys over email for this interview.
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.
- July 6, 2016 ● Bands
This year’s Rookie A Go-Go bands have been announced so to take the hard work out of deciding who to go catch in action, we’ve done it for you. Scroll down to grab a quick look at the young band’s vying for your votes at this year’s festival on Friday night.
- July 4, 2016 ● From Fujirockers.org
The most lively discussion on my Facebook page right now is where to buy this collapsible wagon? As you can imagine, it will be a terrific help when it comes to lugging camping gear, and even more importantly, hauling your stuff out of the festival. Don’t be a bad camper and leave your tent and sleeping pad behind for others to clean up! Now that you’re gonna pack in and pack out, lets go over what to bring.
We’ll start with the basics which i distilled from the official website:
Raincoat (no umbrellas allowed on the festival site)
Hand towels (good for sweat, bathing in creek, etc.)
Extra clothes (band t-shirts only take you so far)
Hat (fashionably keeps sun/rain away)
Portable ashtray (Smokers only)
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.
Fuji Rock’s most exclusive party space is the Miniscule of Sound which sits majesticaly alongside shipping containers and at tire swing at the Palace of Wonder. Punters can queue upwards of an hour for a visit which may last no longer than a Kylie Minogue extended play single. Fuji Rockers was given exclusive access, behind the velvet rope.
- June 7, 2016 ● Essentials
A number of people have enquired about camping gear and where to buy it in Tokyo. If you’re attending the festival from overseas and wish to pick up camping equipment in Japan, here’s a brief guide to shops catering for your needs.
- June 5, 2016 ● Experiences
The lineups for 10 of the 11 small stages were just announced last Friday June 3, and even if you are not familiar with all the acts, rest assured, these stages will be tons of fun! For it is these stages that the Fuji Rock carnies call home, coming out of their subterranean musical grottoes to bedazzle fest-goers with their sly musical magic. Only the Rookie A Go Go lineup is still to come. (Check new additions to the lineup here.) So this is a perfect time to continue with our Comprehensive Guide to the Small Stages of FRF.
But first, a rock’n’roll caveat. In the documentary Gimme Shelter, as the Rolling Stones were preparing for Altamont, Mike Jagger was quoted as saying, “The concert is just an excuse, really…” And then, mid-sentence, he trailed off into dreamy rapture, as if he had just discovered the thing the concert was an excuse for somewhere in the middle of his stoned-out mind. There are at least 11 small stages at Fuji Rock and even more festival areas. To paraphrase Lord Mick, the big stages are just the excuse, really… for the small stages, because that’s really where the festival springs to life.
In our last guide to the small stages, we looked at the chill-out zones. This time, let’s focus on the party spots, namely the Palace of Wonder complex and Cafe de Paris. And as the Palace actually comprises several separate stages/areas, we will also break that down.