Monday, 28 June 2010

Fuji Rock Festival tips 2010

by craig

The 9th lineup announcement has been made and timetables are up for this year's Fuji Rock Festival. So it's time to get ready and plan your weekend.
The festival is on July 30th, 31st and August 1st. Info: http://www.smash-uk.com/frf10/index.html
Here are some general tips for the festival:

TRANSPORT

Most people take the shinkansen from Tokyo or Ueno station. You need to get off at Echigo Yuzawa station. It takes over an hour and costs 6490yen from Ueno one-way. You can get tickets from the JR counter of any major JR station. You could get the return tickets in advance as well, or just get them when you get to Echigo Yuzawa.



Local trains cost about half the price of a shinkansen (3260yen), but take more than twice the time. You can get the JR Takasaki line from Ueno to Takasaki, then the JR Joetsu line to Minakami, then the infrequent Joetsu line extension to Echigo-Yuzawa. Check train times at Hyperdia.

A seishun juhachi kippu is even cheaper. This ticket gives you five daily coupons of unlimited travel on JR local and rapid trains (not express or shinkansen) for only 11500yen. You can divide the 5 tickets among your friends and it'll work out to be only 2300yen to get to the festival! You will need to travel together though. Even if there are only two of you, if you use it on the way there and back, it'll only cost you 2875yen each way. You can take the above local train route.

You can of course drive there. A car rental agency with English support is Nippon Rent-A-Car.



Free shuttle buses run to and from Echigo Yuzawa station from 12:00 on Thursday to Monday. There is no real timetable; they just keep going back and forth. Be prepared for long queues in the sun or rain. The free buses also stop at Tashiro, Mitsumata and Asagai if you're accommodation is around there.


PACKING LIST



Clothes etc:
*Hat. The peak will protect you from the sun and keep the rain out of your eyes.
*Raincoat. This is essential because umbrellas are not allowed in the festival site and it WILL rain. Some people wear plastic rain pants too.
*Strong shoes or boots. You will be doing a lot of walking in the rain and mud. Bring spares. Wellingtons/gum boots are popular.
*Sunglasses and sunscreen. You will be outside all day.
*Jacket. It sometimes gets cold at night, so bring something long-sleeved.
*Towels. Big towels for the shower/bath/sink/swimming, but also small towels for mopping up sweat and rain.
*Cash. There are no ATMs.
*Batteries. For your phone recharger, torch, camera etc.
*Portable ashtray. If you smoke.
*Tissues. Bring some little packs in case there's no loo paper or you get a runny nose, or if you're a messy eater.

For campers:
You can get most of these things from a 100yen shop.
*Torch/flashlight. The camp site is very dark. Some parts of the festival are pretty dark too.
*Plastic covers. For your backpack and camping gear on the way to/from the festival in case it rains.
*Insect repellent. You will be surrounded by forest.
*Rope. This is very handy when camping to rig up a clothesline or to secure broken tents. Remember a knife to cut it!
*Plastic tarps. Handy for putting under/over your tent, sitting on, makeshift shade etc.
*Mallet or hammer. You can't put in tent pegs with your bare hands.
*Small padlock. Theft isn't really a problem, but if you're worried about leaving stuff in your tent/backpack, put a small lock on the zipper.
*Something to mark your tent. There are thousands and they all look the same! Tape or a flag or something.

Other useful things:
*Insulated PET bottle cover. You can get them from a 100yen shop.
*Something to sit on. Small tarp, light fold-up chair, or even just a plastic bag.



ALCOHOL

Buying it there:
Most alcoholic drinks in the festival grounds cost 500yen. The beer is almost always Heineken but you can get some nice microbrewery and organic beer down around the Field of Heaven stage. Naeba Shokudo sells some good nihonshu (sake) and shochu.

Bringing it in:
Glass bottles and cans are not allowed to be brought into the festival grounds. Your bags will be checked each time you enter. But don't worry - alcohol is allowed to be brought in, so you can mix up drinks in PET bottles in your tent/room and then carry them into the festival. Bring a cooler box/bag along and get ice from the store near the front of the Prince Hotel. There are vending machines around the entrance but they mainly only sell Pocari Sweat, water and Coca-cola. So bring some spirits which you can mix with coke (vodka, bourbon, malibu etc) or water (shochu, whisky etc).



FOOD

Japanese are obsessed with food so you will have plenty of good choices. There are food stalls around the entrance and in several spots in the festival grounds, the biggest being the Oasis/World Restaurant area. Most food is around 500yen. Good Japanese food can be had at Naeba Shokudo. Pizza at Field of Heaven. Vegetarians will find the most choices around Field Of Heaven and Gypsy Avalon.


WALKING



The festival site is an enormous ski resort in the mountains so expect to spend a lot of time walking, walking and walking. You'll need to study the timetable and factor in long walking times between stages on opposite ends of the festival. Mud and crowds can hold you up too. The paths and boardwalks between stages take you through beautiful green forests.


CAMPSITE



The campsite covers a large golf course and area on the front left of the festival site. However, most of it is hilly so flat land is at a premium. The earlier you can get there, the better. Arrive on Thursday when it opens if you can. For women staying without men, there is a girls-only area in a great spot near the entrance.

The ideal place to pitch your tent:
*Flat ground
*Not too far from the entrance
*Not at the bottom of a hill as the lower areas get flooded and muddy
*Near (but not too close to!) toilets
*Near some trees for shade and to use as a post for a clothesline
*Not over or right next to the path

Bad examples:


MOBILE PHONES

Bring your phone but don't rely on it too much as you often can't get reception at the festival (especially with Softbank). Plan places and times to meet friends in advance. Bring a battery-operated phone recharger!

SENDING AND STORING STUFF

You can get stuff sent to and from the festival by Yamato for reasonable prices. There is a counter near the entrance where you can pack and post stuff. This is very useful if you're too tired to carry all your stuff home. The Yamato counter can also store your luggage throughout the festival. Details here.

NOT JUST THE BIG STAGES



Mokudo-tei is a tiny stage set up on the boardwalk in the middle of the forest where bands play intimate sets.
Day Dreaming/Silent Breeze is a 20-minute cable-car ride away up on top of a mountain. Some cool hip-hop and electronica acts play up there, there are weird games and costumes, a flying fox, a restaurant, dragonflies and a really fun relaxed atmosphere where you are allowed to act like children.
Naeba Shokudo is near the world food area/Red Marquee. You can sit undercover on the tatami, get some nice Japanese food and sake, as well as catch some bands on the small stage.
The Crystal Palace tent/Palace of Wonder area is a bizarre place near the festival entrance where you can have some all-night fun. Dance, play, have some cocktails and watch the Human Cannonball and Wheels of Death. Check out some up-and-coming bands on the Rookie A Go-Go stage.
If you have time, go right down to the very end of the festival beyond the Orange Court to the tent which will be Cuban-inspired this year. You can also get some good cocktails, chill down in the creek, and jam on the drums at Stoned Circle.
There are hammocks you can hang in, in the forest between the Gypsy Avalon stage and NGO area. Take a look at the NGO booths while you're there.
Ganban has a small stage near the World Restaurant area where DJs play. This is a fun and casual area to dance.



THURSDAY NIGHT



The kick-off party on Thursday night is one of the festival highlights for the early-comers. It's free to the public so some locals come and hold a bon-odori (traditional dance) and fireworks. Surprise bands and DJs play on the Red Marquee and Ganban stages while everyone gets hyped up ready for the festival.

Related posts:
Fuji Rock Festival tips 2009
Fuji Rock Festival 2010
Fuji Rock Festival 2009 Review
Fuji Rock Festival 2008 Review

On Tokyo Gig Guide:
Day one
Day two
Day three

Also check out:
Fujirockers blog
Fuji Rock English BBS
Facebook page

So, who wants to join the Tokyo Gig Guide FRF team?

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello. im from oversea and goin to fuji rock. i bought my tickets online through the gaban website so which means i can only collect my tickets at the festival entrance. i read that i can only take the free shuttle bus only if i have my ticket? so how am i gonna get to the festival site? please help. i emailed to ganban but they didnt reply.

5:53 pm, July 25, 2010  
Blogger mr craig e said...

Don't worry! You can take the shuttle bus without a ticket - they won't check.

1:37 am, July 26, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have done the same thing this year. Did you have any problems with this?

3:50 pm, March 26, 2012  

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