Sean’s Best of the Fest: Full Fuji

  • Sean’s Best of the Fest: Full Fuji
PHOTO BYfujirockers.org
TEXT BYSean Scanlan

Posted on 2023.8.2 11:31

We’re back, and in a big way! No half-measures this year, like social
distancing and no alcohol sales, but ramping it up like Dave Grohl of
Foo Fighters said, “Full Fuji.”

1) Palace of Wonder
Sitting majestically on top of a hill, the Spiegel Tent was a beacon for
those who dug deep inside of themselves and wanted one more party. Sure, there were the purists who thought the old location was better,
but I’m not going to waste words discussing this. And it’s a big up for those that made it happen, balancing a 100-year-old tent on uneven
ground and even pulling it out of a container after four years of moldy storage. The art was back thanks to Debs, Strapper, and the crew,
who are the blood and sweat of the festival.

2) Boardwalk
It was a joy traveling to different stages this year, and every effort was made to make the walk even more meaningful with images of former
Fuji Rockers like Joe Strummer and Taylor Hawkins. I like to call it the
“Stay Free” highway and would play the Clash song to tell everyone
about the hard work, commitment, and dedication that made
independent music a viable art form. As Joe Strummer would say,
“Without people, you’re nothing.”

Backstage, where many weren’t allowed to travel, were other signs for promoters and other artists like Marc Zermati of Sky Dog Records
from Paris, France, who also helped introduce punk rock music to
Europe and the world.

But even without knowing these backstories, traveling through the
forest daytime, nighttime, or even sunup was a true pleasure. There
was art, there was nature, there were friends, and most of all,
dear reader, there was you!

3) LGBTQ pride and awareness
Thanks to brave artists like Lizzo and others, audiences in Japan were given a glimpse at a community where “love is love” and it truly didn’t matter who you were holding hands with, kissing, or calling your
partner. Many stigmas still exist in regular, daily life, but for
one magical weekend, we were all accepting of our individual
preferences and dropped our prejudices.

On a similar note, the 30,000+ audience members each day were especially polite and appreciative of each other. Friends have noted that it would be nice if we could all take this “Fuji Spirit” back with us to our
offices, our homes, and our communities. A little love and kindness
can go a long way.

4) Don’s Cafe
If there was one location that was a home for all sentient beings,
it was Don’s Cafe. Located on a distant path behind the Prince Hotel
on the way to Pyramid Gardens, this venue served rainbow crepes,
coffee, and gin and tonics and hosted a handful of bands.

But more than anything, it encouraged people to be nice to pets
and potentially adopt a dog or cat. In the Ganban Store, there was a
t-shirt listing all of Masa’s cats and dogs, and it was quite a big list.
Adopting a furry friend just might make us better people.

5) Green Stage
Music across the board was outstanding, but the Green Stage really
hit its mark this year as it was well-managed, accessible, friendly, and on-time with scheduling. Perfect weather didn’t hurt, but spending an afternoon camped out in the grass, under a tree, or up in the hills
simply couldn’t be any better.

6) The Music
Alright, what everyone is waiting for is which bands rocked. After
a few conversations, I can attest that these bands brought their best:
Idles, Lizzo, Foo Fighters, Cory Wong, Black Midi, Weezer, and Alanis