Photo by Masahiro Saito
I was talking to some of the Fujirock Express team a few days ago and we all felt like the week which had passed between the festival beginning and the day we met up again had seemed like an eternity. I get the impression that much may be true for many who attended the festival: time goes all wonky when you’re having fun. Three days fly by pretty quickly when you’re raging it up down the front of the Green Stage for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, running between stages to catch all those artists you want to see, or just passed out unconscious in the shade up near the Orange Court. Similarly, that early morning uphill hike to your tent seems interminable when you’ve been on your feet all day. It all fades away as real life sucks us unwillingly back in to the daily humdrum, and those days of sunshine, dust and beer become a mishmash of standout images. Luckily, the Fujirock Express team were in action all weekend catching the spectacle so we’ve got an account of the whole festival for you to reminisce with.
Since the festival’s tempestuous inception at the foot of the eponymous mountain in 1997 music fans in Japan have been treated one of the biggest and best ranges of music available in Asia. It’s reputation for inclement weather has never gone away, but this year Fuji Rock was blessed with a glorious weekend of sunshine. On the downside, most people left with a cough and half a field of dust up their noses – getting back to the fetid city air must have felt much like a consumptive’s trip to the seaside.
While the weather was good, so too was the music. Although some may complain that the festival line-up is not the huge draw it once may have been, what cannot be denied is that there is something for everyone here, and this year felt particularly broad and surprising in scope. Not only was was the festival celebrating its own birth, there were other anniversaries, resurrections, beginnings and endings taking place around the site. San Francisco funksters Con Brio made their Fuji Rock debut (and certainly not their last appearance), while Valencian ska-punk band La Gossa Sorda made a memorable first and last performance as they disband after 19 years together. At the opposite end of things, Jump With Joey made one of their first appearances together for the first time in 17 years. Meanwhile, the festival was aging in good company this year as both Travis and Ego-Wrappin’ are also celebrating their 20th years together.
So, now Fuji Rock has made a kind of full-circle with the return of 1997’s acts like Beck, the Chili Peppers and Lee “Scratch” Perry, where do we go from here? We members of the E-team have no idea, but we will be back next year to bring you all the action from Naeba. In the meantime, you can keep an eye on our Facebook page for English updates and the Fujirockers Blog.
See you next year!