Fuji Rock Fest: Bjork, Nine Inch Nails to Headline
Japan’s original international summer music festival, Fuji Rock Festival, has made the initial announcement for its 2013 lineup.
Nine Inch Nail and Bjork will headline the oldest continuous rock fest in Japan, which started on the slopes of Mt Fuji in 1997 but is now held in Naeba, Niigata prefecture, some 200 miles from the mountain.
This is Bjork’s third time to headline the event. In 1998 she appeared at the Tokyo-based edition and in 2003 her flame-punctuated set enlivened the rain-soaked celebration. Her shows have consistently drawn big crowds in Japan and Johnnie “Fingers” Moylett, a producer at the fest’s promoter Smash Corporation says, “Every time Bjork has played the festival, it has been an event, musically, visually and emotionally. Her audience is the most loyal festival audience we have ever had.”
Fuji Rock will take place July 26-28, based around the Naeba Prince Hotel and Ski Resort.
Other announced acts include fun., DJ Shadow, Yo La Tengo, Tame Impala, Of Monsters and Men, Rocket from the Crypt, The xx, Flying Lotus and the electronic music prodigy Porter Robinson. More announcements are to come. The fest usually hosts over 200 international acts.
The event, in its 17th year, has been held in Naeba since 1999. The site has 5 main stages and 4 minor ones spread over rolling green mountains, with a river running through the area. The celebration is considered the highlight of the international rock calendar in Japan and Moylett notes, “Our role is to bring the best of great and new music to the festival audience.”
Fuji Rock usually attracts 110,000-130,000 patrons but 2012 was a bumper year, packing in 140,000 revelers. Smash regularly sells out the second and third days and to reach 140,000 all days must be have attendance at or near capacity.
Billboard estimates that this larger-than-usual crowd means there was a turnover of 1.5 billion yen (about $16.1 mil.) in ticket revenue for Smash.
This year 3-day passes are going for 42,800 yen ($461) and 1-day tickets are 17,800 yen ($192).
The Fest has had its challenges over the years. In 1997 the inaugural show was held on Mt. Fuji but a vicious typhoon destroyed the lighting rig of the two-stage event and caused the cancellation of the second and final day. After being held in Tokyo for a year Smash developed the Naeba grounds themselves to hold the fest.
Moylett adds, “We just work hard to make each Fuji Rock special. From where I am, it’s looking like Fuji Rock ‘13 will be something special!”