If you love music and traveling, you can’t miss the 20th anniversary of the Fuji Rock Festival at the Naeba Ski Resort on Mount Takenoko’s eastern slope in Niigata Prefecture, Japan, from July 22 to July 24, 2016. The festival will feature over 200 Japanese and international musicians, making it the country’s largest outdoor music event. The music scene surrounds you with a friendly crowd, great food, a stunning mountain setting, hot springs and some of the best performances on the planet. Make it a perfect getaway trip by booking a private plane to the Niigata Airport. Then, watch this video to get a taste of the scene.
Fuji Rock Festival History
The Fuji Rock Festival debuted in 1997 at the Tenjinyama Ski resort near Mt. Fuji, hence the event’s name. It was a disaster. A typhoon struck on the first day, but the headlining band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, played through the storm, despite Anthony Kiedis having a broken arm. The fans camping at the festival were not properly prepared for the inclement weather and many suffered hypothermia, prompting officials to end the festival early.
The next year, the festival temporarily moved to Toyosu on Tokyo’s waterfront. While it was a hit, the heat was too much for many fans. It was time to go back to the cool mountains.
In 1999, the Fuji Rock Festival found a new home in Naeba. Since then, the event has always been a success. Officials expect up to 150,000 music lovers to be in attendance in 2016.
Where to Stay
The majority of fans attending the rock festival are going to pitch a tent on the nearby campgrounds. There will also be sites for those with RVs, or “Moon Caravans,” perfect for international “glamping”.
At the time of publication, the onsite Naeba Prince Hotel at the ski resort is sold-out, as are many nearby accommodations. You might have better luck at the Four Seasons Yuzawa Quattro, Oyado Honjin or Hotel Futaba.
Stages and Bands
The Fuji Rock Festival has several stages scattered throughout the ski resort. The Green Stage is the main outdoor arena with the majority of headlining bands, including Sigur Rós and James Blake on Friday, Beck and Wilco on Saturday, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Sunday. Other big stages include Field of Heaven, Orange Court and the White Stage.
The Red Marquee is the only indoor stage, which comes to life at night with international DJs and dance acts. Naeba Shokudo in the Oasis area transforms into a stage during the evening for those who want to enjoy sake and the music from surprise bands. At the relaxed Mokudo Tei in the middle of the forest, participate in sing-alongs with Green Stage artists. If you want to catch up-and-coming artists, head to the Rookie A Go-Go stage. The NEW POWER GEAR Stage/Gypsy Avalon premiers in 2016 with tunes powered by bio-diesel fuel. If you enjoy open mic sessions and tribute bands, make your way to Orange Café. The stage will have an acoustic guitar and microphone, giving everyone the chance to be on stage at Fuji Rock.
In addition to the festival headliners, the 2016 Fuji Rock lineup includes Innocent Criminals, Battles, Kula Shaker, Robert Glasper Experiment, Disclose, Courtney Barnett, 2 Cellos, Squarepusher, The Internet, Ernest Ranglin, Jake Bugg, G. Love and Special Sauce, Jack Garratt, Oliver Heldens, Leon Bridges, Con Brio, Kamasi Washington, and Mura Masa.