Fuji Rock Festival at Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata was held on July 28–30, 2017. Went for the first time on a rainy Sat. (July 29). Fuji Rock Festival is an annual rock festival held since 1997. It used to be held at a ski resort at the foot of Mt. Fuji so it was named “Fuji.” They soon moved faraway from Mt. Fuji to Naeba, a fashionable ski resort in Niigata Prefecture, but they’ve kept the name “Fuji.” I’ve skiied here in Naeba before, but the quality of the snow is not so good compared to places further north in Niigata. Echigo-Yuzawa is the closest train station where they had shuttle buses taking people to the venue in the mountains.
There was a very long line to ride the shuttle bus. Got to Echigo-Yuzawa before 11 am, and it took over 90 min. to get on the shuttle bus, about 40 min. to get to the festival site by bus, and 15 min. to walk to the main stage.
One popular way to enjoy the festival is to buy a two- or three-day ticket and camp out here. However, the campsites are on ski slopes and the flat places get taken quickly.
The main stage, named “Green Stage,” is outdoors for 40,000 people. They have several concert stages outdoors and indoors where many artists perform almost all day. This rock festival is huge in both area and attendance. Great for skiers in winter, but the venue can be a good hike if you’re walking in summer. Over 100,000 attend during the 3 days. Tickets are pricey too, like ¥19,000 for one day. And they sell out.
The main attraction for us was Jake Shimabukuro (well-known Japanese-American ukulele player from Hawaii) who played on the main stage. Due to the long wait for the shuttle bus, we were greatly delayed and got to see only his last song. But at least we saw him. He played on the 29th from 12:50 pm to 1:50 pm. It was his fourth time to play at Fuji Rock and the first time to perform on the main stage. He plays every other year or so.
We later met Jake and took photos with him. He was very nice and gracious. He will have a concert tour in Japan this Sept. 2017.
Since it was raining, Red Marquee was packed. A British rock group called the Amazons was playing. They were good. Lots of overseas artists at Fuji Rock. Apparently, they are all good, even though not yet super famous.
Didn’t get to see everything at Fuji Rock. Too foggy/rainy to ride the gondola to the summit. Too wet and muddy to really walk around. So we left early by late afternoon.