Reuniting with an Old Friend, Gonchan
Returning back to Naeba this year has been a mix of emotions; nostalgia, excitement, happiness, nerves, you name it. Seeing that most of the feeling of Fuji Rock including the festival decor, overall vibe and the beloved rock mascot Gonchan has not changed has made my reunion oh so sweet.
After arriving to Naeba yesterday, I walked the whole festival grounds to get back in the groove, and I was pleasantly welcomed to the festival grounds by rocks with eyes in every color of the rainbow at every corner, seemingly saying “welcome back!”.
A little history about said rocks, they are an art piece created and named after their creator Robert Gordon McHarg III, an artist and gallerist from London. However, they are more commonly known to fujirockers as “Gonchan”. Gordon has worked very closely with Fuji Rock for over a decade, and Gonchan has become an integral symbol of the festival.
The number of rocks placed around the festival grounds varies each year, ranging anywhere from 200 to 500 rocks scattered around the Naeba grounds, all in different sizes and colors. You may even find some wading in the river. All Gonchans that you see are sourced locally every single year and painted by volunteers just before and during the festival.
In recent years, Gonchans have become so popular that people have started taking them home, which isn’t really their overall purpose. They are placed around the festival for people to enjoy, not to bring home as a 2kg gift for their friends. To try to counteract this, Fujirock has incorporated many Gonchan creative elements into their merchandise each year – which are very popular amongst fans.
This year, keep your eyes peeled for our beloved Gonchan that we have missed so much – but remember not to steal him from his home! Let’s leave them where they belong, and let everyone enjoy their lovely presence!
[Photo: 1 All photo]