Everything You Need To Know About the Fuji Rock Festival

Music is something that never fails to connect people. A person can vibe and dance with a complete stranger and feel linked to that person without saying a single word because of the music they shared and appreciated together. This magic of music is why concerts and music festivals are so enjoyable to go and it is also the reason why events like these have been continuously growing in demand and popularity throughout the years. There are many well-known music festivals to go to around the world like Coachella or Wanderlust but there is one in Japan that can compete with the biggest names in music festivals scene nowadays. This is the Fuji Rock Festival and it is Japan’s largest outdoor music festival.

Kevin Utting [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Details and Reviews about the Fuji Rock Festival like Its Location, History, and Progression through the Years

Before anything else, it would be essential for you to know that this music festival has been going on for 20 years now and this year’s 2018 festival would be the 21st time that it is to push through. Unlike all the other music festivals that happen annually around the world, the Fuji Rock Festival has never changed its stated aim which is to be the cleanest festival in the world and it is the only music festival with this kind of primary goal. It might seem insignificant to others but if you are aware of the problems of pollution that have lingered and grown throughout the centuries of mankind, you can surely see why having and promoting a music festival like this would be great to further raise the awareness of people regarding this matter. Considering that it was founded in the year 1997 with that goal already, it is safe to say that the organizers of this event were way ahead of their time.

Wlee74 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Despite the fact that it has been called the Fuji Rock Festival for nearly over 2 decades now, it actually hasn’t been held anywhere near Mt. Fuji since the very first time it was held in the year of 1997.  During this first year, it was held in the Tenjinyama Ski Resort at the base of Mt. Fuji which explains where its name came from. Unfortunately, it was the least ideal of locations to host such an event because the weather conditions did not cooperate with what the organizers had planned.

It turned out to be a disaster because, during the first day of what was then a 2-day festival, a strong typhoon hit that area directly. Artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers gutted it out for their fans and continued to play despite the storm on the first day which became an iconic moment for the history of this event but the 2nd day of the festival was canceled due to the fear of a repeat of day 1. They were right to cancel it because a lot of the goers from the first day needed medical attention due to the hypothermia they were experiencing from the heavy rain and strong winds. Despite this correct decision though, there wasn’t anything the organizers could do to prevent the harsh criticisms they would receive from the seemingly poorly planned outdoor music festival.

Luckily, the bust of a first attempt didn’t shut down operations completely because in the year that followed, particularly in the year of 1998, it pushed through once again but this time around, it was held in Tokyo’s waterfront in Toyosu. It was a success compared to the first festival of 1997 but it was far from what the organizers imagined it to be because they did not account for the searing heat that the summertime of Tokyo brings. With this being said, the year of 1999 was the year when it all went right for the event as it went back to the cold climate of the mountainous areas of Japan and hosted the event in Naeba Ski Resort which is found in Yuzawamachi in the Niigata Prefecture. It has been the venue for this festival ever since that year and that particular Fuji Rock Festival marked the start of the 3-day format for the event as compared to when it started as a 2-day event.

A Recap of the Fuji Rock Festival of 2017 and Information about the upcoming Fuji Rock Festival of 2018 

Christopher Johnson (globalite) on Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There have been many great artists and bands that have graced the stages of the Fuji Rock Festival. When they opened in 1997, bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Third Eye Blind, and many other rock performers were the ones that headlined for the event. Throughout the years, bands like Coldplay and The Strokes were also added to the long list of bands that have participated in this momentous music festival and there were also several bands that gladly performed again after a couple of years from their previous performance. It might not be obvious to some but the fact that artists gladly perform again in this event means that the organizers do a good that at taking care of their artists as well as their customers.

There is no doubt that the festival has grown a lot since the time it began in 1997. Before the only stages you could in the festival were the White Stage and the Green Stage with the latter being the main stage for the event. In the years that have passed, the number of the stages the performers could use also grew with the popularity of Fuji Rock. From having only the White and Green stages, the festival of today now has stages like the Red Marquee, Gypsy Avalon, Field of Heaven, Palace of Wonder, Naeba Shokudo, Mokudo Tei, Pyramid, Café de Paris, Day Dreaming and Silent Breeze, Gan-Ban Square, and Blue Galaxy. You might find the number of stages overwhelming but if you are the one booking over 200 performers for a 3-day event, you are sure to all the stages mentioned to fit them all within the 3 day period.

For the previous Fuji Rock Festival 2017, the headline acts that made use of the Green Stage were the Gorillaz, which is a British virtual band, Aphex Twin, who is a well-known EDM artist, and Bjork, who is an Icelandic singer/songwriter that is well-known for the unique mix of genres that her music has. These artists weren’t the only big names that played during the 2017 festival because bands and artists like The XX, Queens of the Stone Age, LCD Soundsystem, Major Lazer, and Lorde also made appearances in this festival.

The Fuji Rock Festival has always been held throughout a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For the upcoming Fuji Rock Festival of 2018, it is scheduled to happen from July 27 until July 29. The line-ups for the stages have already been released and the headliners for this upcoming Fuji Rock include N.E.R.D., Bob Dylan and His Band, as well as Kendrick Lamar. Some of those artists are the biggest names in the music industry right now so they are sure to catch the attention of people. If you do not know or like these artists, worry not because there are a handful of other artists that have different sounds to their music which might be more your taste. To mention some of the other acts you can look forward to in this Fuji Rock Festival, there are performers like Skrillex, Vampire Weekend, Post Malone, Brahman, and Chvrches. Each of these artists has a unique sound and with that said, you can already expect the festival to be a roller coaster due to the different vibes and sounds that will be present there all throughout the event.

The music will surely be great as usual but that isn’t the only thing that the goers of this festival love about it. Since it is located in an area surrounded by the beauty of nature, there are many places that you can and will probably pass or go through that will make you feel like you’re on a sightseeing tour. A perfect example of such a location is the Dragondola that is renowned to be the longest gondola lift in the world. Another would be the trails you must take as you move from stage to stage. Some of these trails may make you feel like you’re on a hike so be sure to dress accordingly for this. It will be worth it as you pass sceneries like sparkling streams and tree-filled forests that look like it was taken from a screensaver.

Aside from the gondola and the beautiful surrounding nature, there is also a place on the festival grounds that you will surely frequent and that place is none other than the Oasis. This area of the grounds is where you can find practically the entire world’s cuisines separated into different stalls. You will be dancing and singing a lot during your time here so eventually, your bodies will need to refuel with food. The Oasis makes it so that your replenishing meal is something special and it truly adds to the experience. The grounds practically close after the last acts but certain portions of the grounds remain open. One is the Red Marquee because it is where the all-night raves happen and the other is the Oasis. With this being said, you don’t have to worry about getting hungry here because the food stalls are open pretty much the entire time.

How to Get Tickets to the Fuji Rock Festival of 2018 and the Accommodations for the Event 

Jess Mann [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Before getting into how to get the tickets, you should first settle your accommodation for the trip. Fortunately, there are a lot of ryokans, hotels, and minshukus that are within walking distance of the venue for the festival so you do have a lot of options. Despite this fact, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to book because there are a lot of people that go to the festival so you might run out of rooms. Booking these rooms earlier may also help saving you money because the prices for the rooms rise as the festival nears. Transportation won’t be a problem because there are shuttle buses that travel to these establishments and pass by near the festival grounds. You’ll just need to plan trips accordingly so that you don’t miss a beat.

Onsens are also an option since there are quite a lot in these snowy areas of Japan but if you want to experience something a little more unique for your trip to the festival, you may also opt to stay in the campsite right beside the festival grounds. It makes sense to have this kind of set up because of the location of the festival. Campers can end the night alone on a mountain with just the stars shining over them and that is something that is a priceless experience for some. If you want to camp on the site, you will just need to pay for admission to the camp which would be around 3000 yen for the entire weekend already. Just bring your camping stuff and you are good to go. If you are planning to bring your own car, be warned that the parking ticket on the grounds costs 3000 yen per vehicle per day and there must be at least 2 people in the vehicle.

Now that you know where you can stay, you should know about the ticket to this event. The time for advance ticket booking has passed but worry not because general tickets are still available. There are three general tickets you can choose from which the 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day tickets. The 1-day ticket costs 20,000 yen. The 2-day ticket costs 36,000 yen and the 3-day ticket costs 45,000 yen. If you are thinking of purchasing the 3-day ticket, you should also know that you can opt to get the Moon Caravan Area Ticket. The perks can be found online but this ticket basically gives you access to a lot of exclusive areas on the grounds which is always a good thing when it comes to these types of events.

Given all the details of this upcoming event as well as the history behind the event itself, it becomes easy to understand why this music festival is getting the attention that it has been receiving on a global scale. It gives people a reason to come together and enjoy different cultures and music while promoting or giving importance to the preservation of nature. It educates people in a very fresh and entertaining way and there is no doubt that it will continue to grow in the coming years. There is a need for more events like these that promote responsibility and environmental awareness so if you are also a believer of this cause, it gives you all the more reason to buy a ticket now and party your heart out for this world-changing cause.