Since the festivals inception at the base of Mount Fuji, the event has been known to attract international headliners. The first bill in 1997 featured the likes of Beck, Foo Fighters, Rage Against The Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Few festivals boast such impressive names on their first outing, however a typhoon threatened the entire event.
The first day went ahead though with Anthony Kiedis playing through the Chili Peppers set with a broken arm, an anecdote which has since become fabled amongst veteran attendees. However the cancellation of the second and final day of the music event ended Japan’s first ever outdoor rock festival.
Despite the festival’s shaky beginnings Fuji Rock has gone from strength to strength in its 16-year history.
Fuji Rock’s location is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular settings for a camping extravaganza. Up near the mountains with huge green trees, to say that it’s picturesque simply isn’t doing it enough justice. With 14 stages, the three day event hosts over 200 acts, with a huge range of both Japanese and international musicians making their way to the festival.
Fuji Rock also holds a proud record of being environmentally friendly. Through investing in carbon neutral offsets along with incredible recycling efforts the festival is one of the cleanest events in the world. With its beautiful natural location it’s no wonder why being green is so important to the organisers.
There are few big international bands that haven’t played the festival before and if they have, it’s more than likely that they’ll play Fuji Rock more than once. Foo Fighters, Beck, The Prodigy, Franz Ferdinand and the Chili Peppers have all played three times.
While other acts like Arctic Monkeys, Eminem, Muse, The Stone Roses, The Cure and The Strokes have made a visit to Fuji Rock in the past.
Many festivals around the world gain notoriety through their sheer size and brilliant lineups, but the Fuji Rock experience doesn’t solely rely on big names. Even though the festival is by no means small, the location and subdued Japanese atmosphere allows for something that punters won’t get anywhere else in the world.
The two headliners of Fuji Rock 2014 could not be anymore different. On one hand rap genius and provocateur Kanye West will arrive with plenty of celebrity status and 2013’s Yeezus in tow, while Jack Johnson will bring six albums worth of surfy acoustic tunes to the mountains.
Indie rockers Franz Ferdinand, dancefloor killers Basement Jaxx and Welsh rock veterans Manic Street head up the second tier of headliners, while a slew of indie acts make up the rest of the bill.
Notable acts to watch out for include Bombay Bicycle Club, SBTRKT, Parquet Courts, Darkside, Bloody Beetroots, London Grammar and John Butler Trio amongst many others.
The second round of artists announced for Fuji have taken this lineup from solid to extraordinary. On their reunion tour Outkast will join Kanye as headliners with Damon Albarn, Foster The People, Lorde and Kelis amongst others joining the bill.
See the full lineup here.
When and Where
Fuji Rock Festival is held from the 25th to the 27th of July, with the event held at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture.
How To Get There
Ticket holders must first make their way to Tokyo with return flights from any major city in Australia being valued at around $1200.
From Tokyo you then need to make your way to Echigo Yuzawa station to catch a shuttle bus to the festival site. To get from Narita airport to Tokyo train station you will have to catch the express train service, which runs roughly every half hour during the day. Check out the timetables from the airport here. A ticket will set you back around $30.
Once at the Tokyo station punters should buy a ticket on the Shinkansen bullet train, which takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes and costs $60 one way. Trains run around every 20 minutes and attendees should make sure that their service stops at Echigo-Yuzawa. From the station there is a free shuttle bus service to the festival site for all ticket holders.
Where To Stay
Accommodation at hotels and hostels in surrounding areas can be sought for single day ticket holders and those wary of the camping experience. But as this is a camping festival, you can’t truly get the full Fuji Rock vibe without pitching a tent.
Camping is not included in the festival ticket, however a spot on the golf course of Naeba Ski Resort is only worth $30.
How To Get Tickets
There is a separate website for people living outside of Japan who wish to purchase tickets. It isn’t pretty, but click here if you’re ready for a Fuji Rock adventure.
A full three-day ticket will drain about 43,000 Yen or $469 of your funds, while a single day ticket is worth $207 or 19,000 Yen. A campsite pass is worth 3000 Yen or around $33 AUD.
Insider Tips & Tricks/Things You Shouldn’t Miss
There are bunch of cool areas at the festival site that Fuji Rock have developed to enhance the overall experience. The Palace Of Wonder for example has intriguing and quite enormous art installations, while there are also many performers in this section of the site.
‘Stoned Circle’ is a tent in the back region which allows punters, regardless of age or skill, to pick up an instrument and play music with those around them.
There is also a Fuji Theatre (just in case the music wasn’t what you thought it would be) located along the river with a selection of recently released films.
At the campsite you can pay to use the Naeba Onsen hot springs if the regular showers aren’t doing the trick.
Much like many of our own festivals Fuji Rock doesn’t have ATMs so bring plenty of cash.
For more details head to the English translation of Fuji Rock’s Official Website
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Bjork will return to Fuji Rock for the third time in 2013 playing songs from across her revered discography. While Nine Inch Nails will make their live return as rumours circulate around new material that would make up their first album since 2008’s The Slip. The xx continue their world tour in support of their sophomore release Coexist as their compatriots Foals also promote their latest record Holy Fire. Tame Impala are Australia’s only representative on the first lineup announcement, with Lonerism allowing the band for further international dominance.
Check out the full lineup here.