Last year you may have downloaded the 2016 Fuji Rock app, set up your timetable and used it to co-ordinate your timetable for the 20th Anniversary celebrations. Or you may have relied on a printout from the Internet, or even just pure luck and serendipity to put you in the right place at the right time.
This year the Fuji Rock app is back in new and improved form, thanks to iFlyer, with a whole swathe of useful and entertaining features to add to the Fuji Rock experience. We sat down with iFlyer Director of Business Development Joshua Barry to talk about iFlyer, the new app, and his thoughts on Fuji Rock past and present.
As with any holiday, are you pestered to bring back souvenirs from Fuji Rock? Do you have family waiting at home or colleagues covering you while you party the Friday and weekend away at the festival? Well, the official Fuji Rock store has you covered with a variety of goods that range from the practical to the downright weird. We’ve taken a quick dive into the store and picked our highlights below.
My kids (Finn, aged 7) and Meara (aged, 2) perfectly bookend the kid spectrum at Fuji Rock. Any older and he may be too cool for Gorillaz and any younger they may not be able to keep down the curry at Queen Sheeba’s. Finn went to his first EDM show years before many of you even heard of the genre, checking out (Diplo, the better half of Major Lazer) when he was just 7 months in his mama’s belly. Here’s a few tips for you to have kid-stravagant experience.
Wondering where to go for great craft beer and tasty grub this year? While I usually recommend a full stroll around the grounds to check things out for yourself, allow me to save you some time and steer you towards Aichi’s Hyappa brewing. They will have a booth at this year’s Fuji Rock for the 3rd consecutive year. I’ve personally enjoyed Hyappa’s great drinks and chow the past two years at Fuji Rock. I can say from experience, for those of us with discerning taste, the Hyappa booth is not to be missed. I’m sure you might have a few questions, like where can I find the booth, what are they serving up this year and what exactly is Hyappa brews all about? Well, fret not, I got a chance to chat with Hyappa head honcho Craig Morrey (pictured center with 2 thumbs up) to answer these questions and more. READ MORE
We all know what we’re supposed to wear! But will your breathable waterproof hiking wear inspire naughty looks from appealing strangers? Will your neck towel help you stand out in a crowd of 40,000? Will that sensible all-weather hat get you onto other people’s Instagrams with the hashtag #onlyatfujirock?
There is no problem if you bring sunscreen and sturdy shoes, but remember that Fujirock is a party! So we put together this lookbook of Fuji Rock’s best dressed, and it was just as easy as perusing the people photos in the “More Fun” section of last year’s FujirockExpress.com. So get ready, this goes way beyond band t-shirts. Below we’ve selected seven of the top looks / bits of advice so you too can join Fuji Rock’s best dressed.
With the basic stage line-up for Fuji Rock 2017 laid out, punters can begin plotting out their days at Naeba. For the most part, the gathering is laid out in a line — one that curves and can reach out to the further edges of the ski resort, but a line nonetheless. Hitting up every stage is relatively easy and doesn’t require major detours.
Well, except for one.
The Day Dreaming and Silent Breeze stage rests far away from any other part of Fuji Rock, requiring a 20-minute gondola ride to get to the hill where it is located. Fest newbies might not be able to locate it on a map…and even veterans of the event might be hard-pressed to remember heading up there. With so much to take in, making time in your schedule to head off into the wilderness for the fest’s most far-flung spot might seem unnecessary.
Yet it is totally worth it. Here are the main reasons we believe making the trek out is completely worth it.
Of Fuji Rock’s main stages, the Red Marquee is the most diverse, by day functioning as an indie showcase for newish indie acts with one or two big hits or who are currently killing it on tour, and by night turning into a big room dance club for an international mix of DJs and electronic acts. This year they appear to be doing away with Sunday Sessions, an after midnight showcase to discover weird, new and high energy local Japanese electronic bands and hybrid acts. Or possibly they are merging Sunday Sessions with the Planet Groove showcase, which traditionally was only on Friday night, but has now taken over Sunday as well.
So what precisely is the Red Marquee? READ MORE
In my last article I described one of the reasons to attend Fuji Rock this year was its great diversity of bands and acts at the Festival. One example of such diversity is Jake Shimabukuro. For those who don’t know, Jake is a 5th generation Japanese-American, Hawaiian born and bred, master of the ukulele. Before the internet was being broken by silly things like pictures of the Kardashians, our man Jake was shaking things up on Youtube with his super-human ukulele skills. If you still haven’t seen his rendition of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, join the 15 million others who have.
Jake was signed to Sony records Japan in 2001 and has been releasing records and playing shows here ever since. I caught his set at Tokyo’s Bunkamura a couple years back and was plenty impressed. This will be Jake’s fourth time to play Fuji Rock and he’ll be coming this time with his Nashville Sessions trio band, consisting of Nolan Verner on bass and Evan Hutchings on drums. If you somehow manage to miss Jake at this year’s Fuji Rock, he’ll be back in late September of this year playing a Japan tour. READ MORE
Well the big news today is that the line-up for all of the stages has been announced. For me, it’s always a heartbreaking moment as I begin to make dreaded schedule decisions, writing off some bands that I would love to see but would be logistically impossible.
For example, it’s gonna impossible to catch both Gorillaz (Green) and Queens of the Stone Age (White) on Friday night without running your ass around and being content with half-sets from each band. But then again,having an abundance of choice aint such a bad thing.
Further complicating matters comes from the myriad of other stage announcements which came out today like Palace of Wonder, Naeba Shokudo, Mokudo Tei, Gypsy Avalon, Pyramid Stage, etc. All of these acts are worthy of your time and attention. But if you see have to see one act these stages, I think it’s gotta be Big Willy’s Burlesque This fella sure puts on a helluva show and really gets the place steaming.
Let’s hear it from you…. who are you gonna see.. or to put it another way who are you gonna miss?
Looking back on the years of Fuji Rock, it’s always interesting to look at trends or changes that have helped shape the festival’s vibe. For example, this year’s outing is anchored by the usual big-name headliners, but seems to be underlined by a stronger showing than ever before of young up-and-coming Japanese acts.
Fuji Rock has always been known as a celebration of musical acts from all over the world, but the inclusion of more and more Japanese acts in recent years could be echoing the current rise in strength and influence of Japanese music around the world.
Perhaps due to their presence on the world stage and travel from other countries to the festival, it’s still mainly the overseas artists invited to Fuji Rock that often end up getting top billing and taking the spotlight from equally famous Japanese artists appearing here. Taking into account the overall lineups recently however, this could be something that might push more Japanese acts into headliner status and transform the Fuji Rock experience in years to come.
While that’s a gradual change that many festival goers are sure to be picking up on, this time I’d like to reflect back on previous years and perhaps start a discussion on some trends of past headlining acts.
There will always be the veterans; Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Foo Fighters, Noel Gallagher, as well as this year’s returnee Bjork are all very familiar faces to the Fuji Rock main-stage lineup over the years.
Big names like these are sure to be a main draw for fans to return to the festival, but I think more credit goes to the variety that the main headlining acts showcase that ends up setting the core vibe of the festival each year.
Of course, the appeal of the Fuji Rock experience lies with much more than the three to five big-name acts that appear on the main stage, but we do rely on headlining acts to close out each day and wow us with consistently over-the-top performances. What kind of role, though, do these top artists really play in drawing crowds to the festival? If we take a look at top-billed acts from previous years, are there perhaps any patterns that come to the surface?
2016 Sigur Ros, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck
2015 Foo Fighters, Muse, Noel Gallagher, Deadmaus
2014 Franz Ferdinand, Arcade Fire, Jack Johnson
2013 Nine Inch Nails, Bjork, The Cure
2012 The Stone Roses, Noel Gallagher, Radiohead
2011 Coldplay, The Faces, The Music, The Chemical Brothers
2010 Muse, Roxy Music, Massive Attack
The possibility of an interesting pattern or trend in headlining acts is just something to ponder, but do you notice any interesting artist combinations that had a major draw for you, or notice a particularly weak/strong/unusual or memorable year because of the main acts that appeared?
Any trends or big changes to the festival (The end of the Orange Court?) or lineup (big-name artist cancellations?) over the years that had a big impact on you? We’d like to hear them too! Let us know in the comments.
Photo by 粂井健太
Text by Park Baker