Fuji Rock Festival 2018. Image Source: Eye Scream.
For two decades, Fuji Rock Festival never fails to impress music goers with its massive and thunder-like performances. Summoning more than 200 musicians, both locals and internationals, Fuji Rock Festival is the biggest outdoor music festival in Japan. The festival is organized yearly for three days, commonly during the month of July. It attracts over 100,000 visitors and this year, the date for Fuji Rock Festival has been set to 26th until 28th July 2019. The festival is organized by Smash Corporation and they celebrated Fuji Rock Festival’s 20th anniversary in 2016.
Beat its first drum in 1997, Fuji Rock Festival got its name from its first concert venue, which was at the base of Mount Fuji until typhoon gushed the whole place on the second day. Then, in 1999, they decided to organize the festival at Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata, which has become the permanent site for Fuji Rock Festival. The festival gained worldwide recognition since it has features many legendary rock bands and artists from across the globe. Among the performers that have set foot in Fuji Rock Festival are Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth, Eminem and other popular names.
From left: Franz Ferdinand and Skrillex performing with Yoshiki Hayashi, Japanese rock star.
Attending music festivals without leaving trash and garbage at the site seems impossible. Aim to be the world’s cleanest music festival, Fuji Rock encourages its visitors to keep or throw their trash at the provided canisters in order to achieve this target.
Overall, the four main stages are Red Marquee, Green Stage, White Stage and Field of Heaven. These are the stages where most main acts will perform and there are also other small stages which can be found as you walk from one point to another. From the entrance gate, Red Marquee and Green Stage are easier to reach as compared to White Stage and Field of Heaven where you need to cross boardwalk. The walkway is very narrow and it can get quite crowded during peak hours. So, be sure to check your favourite artists show schedule so you can plan beforehand.
Stage layout for Fuji Rock Festival.
Green Stage. Field of Heaven.
Smaller stages are for minor acts and they are placed in between main stages. Some of the small stages you should know are Mokudotei, Gypsy Avalon, Rockie A Go-Go, Day Dreaming and more.
What to Prepare?
Preparation is the key to survival when it comes to open and crowded places. The three days music event is held during summer and it is hard to predict the weather as it might be raining or scorching hot all day. In case it rains, please do not use umbrellas because it can disturb other people’s view, opt for raincoats instead. If you plan to attend the festival for three consecutive days, we recommend you to bring:
Extra Clothes & Comfortable Shoes/Boots
Bring additional clothes as you might get drenched in sweats and dirt all day. It is important to wear comfortable clothing and footwear because you will be doing a lot of walking. To be safe, just wear sneakers and breathable clothes for your own comfort.
Image Source: Eye Scream.
The venue provides public toilets for their visitors and honestly, it might get dirty at the end of the day and ran out of toilet paper. Hence, bring your own papers.
Other than that, food stalls are available throughout the event and the price is not too shabby, considering this is one of the popular music fests.
Bring Picnic Mats or Foldable Chairs
Since Fuji Rock Festival starts quite early in the morning, you need to be prepared mentally and physically as you will get pretty exhausted from all the singing and walking. Alternatively, consume your energy by bringing picnic mats or foldable chairs for you to unwind in between shows. You will be surprised at the number of people sleeping on the grass or mats during the day. So, it’s okay to take a nap here.
Image Source: Eye Scream.
Manners Maketh Man
As we mentioned earlier, the Fuji Rock Festival is aiming to be the world’s cleanest music festival. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to keep your trash inside your pocket in case you couldn’t find any nearest canister.
Avoid Dangerous Stunts
Take good care of your belongings as you will delve into a massive crowd every second. On another note, please be aware that there will be many moshing pits and crowd surfs. Moshing is actually prohibited in the festival because it’s dangerous and can hurt some people. Best ways to overcome this is by enjoying the music and avoid the crowd surf as well as moshing pits.
As for accommodation, Fuji Rock Festival provides camping sites, Moon Caravan, Pyramid Garden as well as nearby hotels and B&B. For camping sites and Moon Caravan, the tickets will be sold online at their official website. Camping sites and Pyramid Garden tickets sold out pretty quick because it is the cheapest place to stay and the spaces are limited. The price of camping sites is ¥ 3,000 per person. For Moon Caravan, the price is ￥12,000 for 4-wheels and ￥6,000 for 2 wheels.
The differences between these three sites are the proximity and strategic location. Camping sites are located very near to the stages, Pyramid Garden is close to official bus tours and those who travel with vehicles, Moon Caravan is the best place to stay at. Bear in mind that in the camping site, you are required to bring your own tent and its essentials. As for Pyramid Garden, you may rent tents, but with an advanced reservation only.
Camping Site. Image Source: Sean Phelps.
If you are unable to purchase the camping tickets, there are plenty of good hotels nearby. For instance, Naeba Prince Hotel is just within walking distance which is easier. Other accommodations are 20 to 40 minutes away from Fuji Rock Festival and you can commute using shuttle bus provided. It is very important that you book your hotel rooms in advance to avoid being homeless for three days.
On 8th February 2019, Fuji Rock Festival announced the first line-up. Among the performers are The Chemical Brothers, The Cure, Sia, Jason Mraz, Martin Garrix, Radiohead’s frontman – Thom Yorke and others! More performers will be announced soon from time to time, just tune in to Fuji Rock Festival’s official website for upcoming updates and news.
First line-up for Fuji Rock Festival 2019. Image Source: Fuji Rock Festival Official Website.
It is recommended to purchase all three days tickets as it is much cheaper and you get to catch all the performances. Children under the age of 15 enter free of charge but need to be accompanied by adults. Tickets can be purchased online at Fuji Rock Festival’s Official Website.
How to Get Here?
Shuttle bus at Echigo Yuzawa Station. Image Source: Skies Nice on Blogspot.
Echigo Yuzawa Station is the closest you will ever get to Naeba Ski Resort. From there, you can take the shuttle bus which will take you directly to Fuji Rock Festival. The journey will take about 40 to 60 minutes depending on the traffic as you get closer to the venue. The fee for the shuttle bus is ¥500 and the return fee is free of charge. Bear in mind that the shuttle bus does not operate 24 hours. Should you missed the last bus, there is no option but to spend the night at the venue.
In between acts, explore the area by going to the play area or ride the longest gondola lift in the world called Dragondola. Reaching 5.5 kilometres long, the gondola will take you on a ride to see a beautiful panoramic aerial view of the place. Costs only ¥1,500 for round trips, why not take a scenic tour while you are at Fuji Rock Festival?
Dragondola. Image Source: Nihon-Kankou.
In a nutshell, summer is a great time for music festivals especially the Fuji Rock Festival. If you are interested to go, don’t forget to check out their website for more information and tickets purchase.
Fuji Rock Festival 2019
Venue: Naeba Ski Resort, Yuzawa-machi Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata, Japan 949-6292
Opening Hours: 9:00AM (Gates open), 11:00AM-11:00PM (Festival hours)
Access: 40 minutes by shuttle bus from Echigo Yuzawa Station