「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Too many music fests?

By Patrick St. Michel


July 24 marks the start of the Fuji Rock Festival, one of Japan's biggest music gatherings. For three days, people from across Japan will come to the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture to watch dozens of artists perform against a stunning natural backdrop. Regardless of who plays, I love Fuji Rock because of the surrounding area, and how positive it feels. I'm also lucky that I get to write about the three-day event for the official Fuji Rock blog.

Japan loves music festivals. Every summer, thousands flock to huge events all over the nation. Besides Fuji Rock, some of the highlights during the season include Summer Sonic in Tokyo and Osaka, Rock In Japan Fest in Ibaraki, and Rising Sun Rock Festival in Hokkaido.

Music festivals have become so popular in Japan that it now feels like there are too many. Besides the big ones above, nearly every prefecture boasts at least one smaller fest, featuring Japanese pop and rock. It is completely possible to spend every weekend of the next three months at a large-scale music festival.

The problem, though, is most of these fests feel the same. Look at the artist lineup at any summer festival in Japan, and you might think someone just rearranged all the names in a different order. Almost every major event features a few J-pop stars, many rock groups, and some rappers and DJs. Japanese music festivals, for the most part, lack anything making them unique.

This isn't just a Japanese problem, though. In the United States, people love music festivals too, and the calendar features dozens of big-deal events throughout the summer. Like Japan, new fests have popped up in almost every state, but the artists playing have started looking similar. It doesn't matter if you're in California or Delaware, chances are most of the performers will appear at a dozen other festivals after the stages get taken down.

A few new fests, though, have gotten creative. Earlier in July, the Senseki Train Festival happened in Sendai. Besides featuring a collection of lesser-known musicians, every stage at this fest could only be accessed by riding local trains. It was a clever twist that freshened up the festival experience.

Still, I'm excited to go to Fuji Rock this year. It's my fourth trip to Naeba, but this weekend I'll see one of my favorite Japanese musicians, Sheena Ringo, live for the first time. I also still enjoy soaking in all the nature and watching fields full of people geeking out to music. There are lots of summer music festivals to choose from in Japan, but Fuji Rock stands out for me because of its unique location and atmosphere.



The Japan Times ST: July 24, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




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