MOREFUNPEOPLE8/1 - (AFTER)
Best of the Fest: Nina
Photo by Ryota Mori, Yoshitaka Kogawa, Yusuke Kitamura, KentaKUMEI, Nina Cataldo Text by Nina Cataldo
Posted on 2022.8.2 19:03
Roundup of my favorite FRF '22 moments
It’s never easy to pick just a handful of highlights from my annual joy that is Fuji Rock. One thing was for sure this year; it felt like we were on the right path to Fuji Rock feeling like its old self again. International acts were back, the music and dancing went on for longer hours, and the crowds to match that passionate energy were back in Naeba, too. In the age of new normal, Fuji Rock has adapted gracefully without losing its core values. So, without further ado, here’s this year’s best of the fest.
1 – Jack White
There’s nothing else I can do than to bow down to this man. I grew up listening to The White Stripes, but I hadn’t paid too much attention to Jack White since those days (Sorry, man). But after seeing him perform right from the pit, I have newfound respect and love for him. Not only was his whole stage setup (black, white, and blue!) iconic, I couldn’t stop my jaw from dropping every time he riffed his guitar; nonetheless, with his eyes closed for the majority of the time. It was an honor and a joy to experience the musical genius perform at Fuji Rock!
2 – Japanese Breakfast
I’ve been waiting to see Michelle Zauner perform in person for so long, and I sure wasn’t disappointed. I’ve followed Japanese Breakfast since the beginning, mostly drawn by the band name and shocked to find out that she wasn’t Japanese, but Korean American instead. What’s race got to do with it? Well, as a fellow mixed-race Asian-American, she represents someone like myself, doing something she loves and being an incredible creator. She recently added “author” to her many titles and boy, did her novel “Crying in H Mart” really hit a note with me. So again, just being in the same space as her was a dream of mine, and to see/hear her live on top of that was fantastic. The ultimate peak was when the band played their Fleetwood Mac cover of “Dreams”. I got goosebumps!
3 – Global metal bands
There’s something abut coming to Fuji Rock that makes me feel like I’m cool enough for heavy metal. Last year, I covered Japanese metal band, SiM and was hooked. So this year, I made sure to check out both Bloodywood from India and The Hu from Mongolia. Not only was it awesome to support bands that came to the festival from so far away, it was seriously spectacular to watch them perform this genre of music while incorporating sounds from their home countries.
THE HU REPORT
4 – Return of Thursday and evening fun
It’s so good to have Fuji Rock’s old traditions back. Last year, we barely had much of a celebration on Thursday night besides the fireworks. But this year, we had the Bon Odori as well as the special guest artists performing at the Red Marquee. People flocked to Oasis for some food and fun, and I could see many happy faces who were probably reunited at and with Fuji Rock for the first time in three years. While music stopped at midnight last year (sigh), this year, it went long into the night, which have always been some of my best memories of Fuji Rock, so I’m glad the late-night fun was back again. Let’s *hope* that Crystal Palace will be back by next year!
5 – New food and drink options
Speaking of food, there were quite a few new vendors this year. While it’s always great to come back to the same delicious stalls, I loved being able to try new dishes. I especially loved the all-vegan food stall, Righteous Burger. The vendors themselves were so excited to be there, too! There were new drink stalls, like Iichiko sake and the Highball bar. They even served up a special “Fuji Rock Highball” which was rimmed with salt and kinako (roasted soybean flour) that I’m still drooling over now!
Hopes for Next Year
1. Water re-fill stations: In an effort to look out for festival goers and Fuji Rock’s value in sustainability, I really hope to see water re-fill stations in the future. This year was especially *HOT* and I had to witness some folks struggling from heatstroke. The last thing we want is for people to have to cut their weekend short due to the lack of water supply at the festival. Fuji Rock branded steel water bottles and refill stations all around the grounds? Yes please!
2. Merch tent expansion and education for bringing kids to music festivals: How do these two topics go hand in hand, you say? I’ve noticed that not enough young children were wearing protective noise-canceling ear muffs. I even saw a girl suffering because her ears hurt. At western festivals, ear muffs for kids is a must, and I hope to see Fuji Rock continue to be an advocate for safe and ethical festival fun for the whole family. If we had merch tents in more than one spot (i.e. in front of the main entrance), not only would there be less queueing, families would be able to buy the Fuji Rock branded ear muffs no matter where they are inside the grounds.
[Photo: 6 All photo]