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    A Magic Carpet Ride

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    Connecting the main festival grounds below with two small but not-to-be-missed mountaintop stages is a Japanese feat of engineering.

    The Dragondola, which was built in 2001 to connect Naeba and Kagura/Mitsumata Ski Resorts during the winter season, is a 5.5 kilometer long gondola taking about 20-minutes from end-to-end. Touted as the worlds longest gondola lift line, it traverses a number of peaks and deep valleys, offering both panoramic views of the festival grounds with deep blue lakes seen in the distance, the later swooping low across cool mountain streams before continuing onto the summit.


  • Death Cab for Cutie Maybe More Alive than Ever

    Death Cab for Cutie Promo for Fuji Rock

    Legend has it that as Death Cab for Cutie sat on a porch with their indie label rep circa 1998 – trying to decide how big a run of their first album they should press – they thought perhaps 500 copies might be enough. Their label then convinced them that they could sell 1000. Eight albums and a few member changes later, the band that grew around vocalist Ben Gibbard’s solo project is still evolving. From arguably depressing, navel-gazing ambient indie rock hymns drenched in reverb that perhaps only critics, hipsters and this writer could love, they completely changed their tune(s) by their fourth album; 2003’s Transatlanticism. Despite the darkly ironic nature of some its lyrics, the music for the single “The Sound of Settling” rang out with summery jubilance meant for stadiums. Atlantic Records were quick to snap them up, with the band striking a deal to their liking; on the strength of their last indie album selling 500,000 copies; the benchmark certified as “gold” in America. The following ten years saw their ambitions rewarded, with four albums multiplying into eight Grammy nominations. Their melding with the mainstream then reached its completion with a commission to write a song for the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga; “Meet Me on the Equinox”. 

    2018 saw the band born anew once again and reaching for new sounds, as it released its ninth studio album, Thank You for Today. Being DCFC’s first recording without their producer/guitarist Chris Walla, it also marked their debut as a five piece; with the addition of Dave Deeper and Zac Rae, both on guitars, vox and keyboards. Keys play a heavier role here than perhaps on any previous work, which is apropos, given the heavy nod to the eighties on a lot of songs; even borrowing the lead guitar sound of fellow Fuji Rockers The Cure, on the album’s opening track;  “I Dreamt We Spoke Again”. By song three, a casual listener could be forgiven for believing that “Gold Rush” was a new Pet Shop Boys single; as lead singer Ben Gibbard’s always whimsical voice leans even more towards the gentle nasal tones of PSB’s leader Neil Tennant, and the drums resemble a modern-day version of the raucous dance beats the Brits employed to chart success in the nineties. One might question how this will all translate to the stage at Fuji Rock, but given the success of 80’s flirtations for artist such as Taylor Swift and Katie Perry, and the general desire to party of the average festival attendee, Death Cab for Cutie will probably reign supreme this summer at Japan’s largest festival, with one more arrow to add to their quiver. 

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    Know Your Fuji Rock Stages!


    If you don’t know it already, Fuji Rock is big.  We all already know about the Green Stage, where the headliner action takes place.  But if it is your first time to the fest here is a handy little guide to some of the other stages.  Try your best to visit them all!


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    Fujrock fever is spreading to Taipei

    A very special two-day event is taking place in Taipei in early July attended by some of the key cast and characters behind Fuji Rock. The man known and loved as “Bunny”, Akiyoshi Takada, and 50 of his furry footed creatures will be unpacked for the first time on foreign soil. A special installation of his work will be unveiled to the public at popular Huashan 1914 Culture and Creative Park, a renovated wine factory in the heart of downtown Taipei.

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    Ecuadorian Electronica with Nicola Cruz

    Have you heard of ‘Andes Step’? No, it actually isn’t a diverse bioregion of South America but rather a new sub-genre of infectious electronica heavily influenced by folkloric sounds and traditions. This is the term french-born Ecuadorian Nicola Cruz uses to describe his music, despite not being a fan of creative labelling, it does accurately sum up his strong sense of place and awareness of ancestry.

  • Brian Yurasits - Unsplash

    Can Festivals Be More Eco-Friendly?


    Since China’s decision last year to refuse to be the world’s garbage dump, teamed with a growing collective awareness of plastic ocean pollution, the backwash through the media and society may feel like you’re being bombarded with constant requests to make better consumer choices, use fewer plastic bags and straws and generally make more changes to your behavior as an individual in order to affect change. However, as we delve into the topic of eco-friendly festivals and how you can make your festival-going as light on the Earth as possible, we also consider how festival organizations can do their part.

  • Photo: 安江正実

    Free Your Hands to Party Harder


    World travellers often have epic stories of hauling heavy luggage through brutal (see: stupid) situations. They make for funny anecdotes but, once we’ve collected a few notches on our shins, most of us would rather find a better way. Enter the good people at Luggage-Free Travel. Masterminded by people who care about your happiness,  Luggage-Free Travel allows globe trotters to drop off their luggage at three locations in Narita airport (or one in Haneda Airport) to be delivered to your choice of seven hotels in Naeba; making your voyage more relaxing, and fulfilling.* ** ***


  • Red Hot

    Red Hot Chili Pipers Bring the Bagrock

    Red Hot

    Not familiar with bagrock? Let Red Hot Chili Pipers give you a lesson.  Life is short, listen to bagpipes.


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    Acts from Across the (Other) Pond


    Fujirock has always welcomed more than just your standard American, British and Australian acts from overseas. However, especially in recent years we have noticed a steady increase in performers from neighboring Asian countries. Its not news to anyone that the largest non-Japanese attendants to Naeba are from Taiwan, reflected in the recent appearance of artists from there to draw in even more fans from that corner of the world.

    This year once again brings a handful of acts from Asian countries outside Japan, but what we are noticing particularly this outing is a stronger showing by artists from another country; Korea.


  • Just a few of bunny's fans!

    Going Down the Rabbit Hole

    A bunny get-together

    A very bunny get-together

    Akiyoshi Takada goes by many names. The most obvious is “Aki” and there’s “Madbunny” which UK friends use because of his signature character. In Japan many simply call him “Bunny”. During the festival, he can be hard to spot, either tending to his art work, or hiding behind a large camera as he’s an accomplished photographer with three published books of photos.

    Befitting the bunny, Aki’s route to Fuji Rock was circuitous and unpredictable. Born in nearby Gunnma Prefecture, he had an early passion for snowboarding and skateboarding which inspired his world travels. Later, his art career took him to capitals such as London and Berlin where he continues to split time. It was the The 311 earthquake and tsunami led him to think of home, inspiring his “Hope” installation at APART London Summer Show (2011). The work paired concrete rubble with rows of flowers, reflecting the fortitude of survivors. Attracting the attention of Fuji Rock’s UK art team, Aki earned an invitation to join and specifically, “do something with the Boardwalk”.