2013 marks the 17th installation of Fuji Rock, Japan’s largest and most popular outdoor music festival. The three-day festival has been a staple of Japanese summers since its inception in 1997; top artists from around the world have graced its stages every year.
Fuji Rock’s name derives from the location of the inaugural venue at the base of Mt. Fuji, the newest UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan. However, due to the unpredictable weather and heat, the festival moved to its current location in the cool mountainous region of Naeba in Niigata prefecture in 1999, which is known for koshihikari rice and its plethora of hot springs. A visit to Fuji Rock is also a chance to experience the deeply relaxing onset culture of Japan.
With 13 performance stages, Fuji Rock is one of the largest music festivals in the world. Fuji Rock eclipses Southern California’s Coachella (approximately 85,000 attendees in 2013), recording 140,000 attendees in 2012. However, compared to the largest US festivals, the number of artists performing is less. This is made up for by longer sets by each artist, leading to a more immersing experience with each act. Also, although Fuji Rock is known in Japan for bringing in big foreign names, a good portion of acts are domestic, allowing visitors a rare chance to indulge in a slice of the Japanese music scene.
This year sees solid headliners in Bjork, the Cure, the xx, Jurassic 5, and Nine Inch Nails, who are recently back from a three year hiatus. These acts will take to the two main stages, the Green and White stages. The line-up is electronic dance music heavy, featuring dubstep heavy weight Skrillex along with Boys Noize, Porter Robinson, Modeselektor, and the up and coming Japanese DJ duo, Ryukyudisko. These acts will take place at the Red Marquee stage, where the theme of the stage will change daily. 2013 also features names such as Mumford & Sons, Coheed and Cambria, Yellowcard, legendary Japanese jazz act Soil and Pimp Sessions. Hip-hop will be well represented by Flying Lotus, the Gaslamp Killer, and the Cut Chemist of Jurassic 5. The festival will feature an additional four stages, Field of Heaven, Orange Court, Crystal Palace Tent and Palace Arena, each with a distinct theme.
Fuji Rock is unique amongst music festivals in Japan, as due to its remote location, the majority of festival goers camp onsite, similar to many multi day festivals in the United States, enabling you to also enjoy a Japanese camping experience with thousands of other guests. It wouldn’t be a waste to go there just to camp, as you stay in a picturesque mountainside getaway, complete with a river running through the camping grounds in which you can cool off in; being able to turn around and find yourself in a crowd of thousands at one of the world’s largest music festivals is an added perk. Navigating between the different stages at the festival involves winding treks through forests, making them an adventure all in their own. Further, there is also the chance you could find yourself shoulder to shoulder with your favorite musicians, as Fuji Rock doesn’t have a VIP Section; if you want to see an act, you stand with the crowd.
Fuji Rock also features a multitude of other attractions, such as the Oasis, where food trucks offer cuisine from all over the globe and the Stoned Circle, a community oriented tent where you can perform instruments along with the other festival goers in a drum circle-esque atmosphere. You can also ride the Dragondola, one of the world’s longest aerial lifts, to take in majestic views of the mountainous Naeba region.
To learn more about this year’s line-up and purchaset tickets please go here.