Flashback to Fuji Rock

Despite Weekender’s camera man dropping a pricey zoom lens in the rain, and subsequently missing once-in-a-lifetime shots of headliners Coldplay, the long weekend at Fuji Rock proved once again to be the biggest (and best) event of the year.

Fujirockers, it seems like to start early: by Thursday afternoon the early birds had already pitched tents and were busily enjoying the fireworks of the Bon Odori pre-party, by Friday morning nearly one hundred thousand rock fans had arrived in force amid torrential rain at the Naeba ski resort.

“By Friday morning nearly one hundred thousand rock fans had arrived in force amid torrential rain.”

Brit-pop band Kaiser Chiefs played a predictable but fun set to kick things off as the rain took a break, and after nightfall fellow U.K. rockers Arctic Monkey’s high paced energetic rock had the crowd jumping in their wellies.

Energetic rock music in Fuji Rock
Lee Scratch Perry, Battles, The Music perform live at Fuji Rock 2011

Headliners Coldplay were, as expected utterly professional—(seriously if you were to organize a festival you can’t go wrong with Coldplay).

Lead singer Chris Martin was very positive about Japan, dismissing the “radiation rubbish” in the foreign press, before performing a “Singing in the Rain” cover, which, if you attended last year, you’ll remember is the exact same thing Jamie Cullum did (Keep up Chris!).

“Coldplay’s Chris Martin was very positive about Japan.”

Weekender had bets that Martin would do an Amy Winehouse cover too, but alas, no dice—maybe it is too soon.

Though the mud was by now ankle deep, it was by no means as bad as some rock festivals (Glastonbury we’re looking at you).

One of the biggest surprises of Fuji Rock 2011 was Mick Hucknall’s performance, the guest vocalist with the Faces may have gained a few pounds over the years but his voice is still up there with the best.

Hucknall’s bandmate (and fellow legend) Ronnie Wood can also still cut it on stage but we’re not sure for how much longer!

“Ronnie Wood can also still cut it on stage but we’re not sure for how much longer!”

Younger audience members may not have known the Faces pre-Fuji, but discovering bands is as much a tradition as muddy boots and the paper cups of Heineken.Fuji Rock flags

As with most large festivals the smaller stages often offer some of the best acts. 1990s one-hit wonders Cornershop were a fantastic surprise in the Orange Court and the crazy DJs on the ridiculously tiny MTV/GanBan stage deserve a post-festival round of applause for entertaining the food court every night.

Sunday night’s dazzling laser and video show courtesy of the Chemical Brothers picked up the pace for the finale: the late addition of The Music.

It’s almost impossible to sum-up FIVE crazy days surrounded by world-class live music, so I won’t try, when I was exhausted and filthy on the last day I spotted some graffiti that did a pretty good job for me: Fuji Rock ‘11 was “awesome!”

See you next summer!

Photos: Alexis Wuillaume / Weekender

Fuji Rock is held every summer in Naeba

External Link:
Fuji Rock Festival

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