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Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer festival fever

Lily Allen @ Fuji Rock Festival

Staff writer

Japan's most famous festival is its best, for music quality and diversity — rock, techno, folk, vintage soul: you name it, Fuji's got it. And the pleasure of escaping from stressful city life to languish in a lush green valley in Niigata Prefecture for the weekend is priceless. I've been to every single Fuji Rock (this is the 13th) and have learned that it's simply impossible to do everything you want — such as visit all of the 201 stages and watch every one of the 43,157 artists. So I set myself five goals: (1) See Lily Allen at the intimate Crystal Palace stage. (2) Swim in the river and drink its water. I do it every year, never had a problem. (3) Do another duet with the one-man band guy who pops up all over the festival site. (4) Light a candle for Fuji Rock stalwart Kiyoshiro Imawano, who sadly passed away this year. (5) Not end up in hospital at any point, which has happened to me a few times in the past. But, at Fuji, something always happens that you never expect.

News photo

Also check out: Oasis, Guitar Wolf, Ida Maria, Tokyo Ska Paradise, Franz Ferdinand, Dinosaur Jr., The Birthday and Friction.

The setting: Trees, rivers, fields, a bit of mud, sunshine, polite security, total fun.

When/where: July 24, 25 and 26 at Naeba Ski resort, Niigata Prefecture. Take the shinkansen to JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station, then a free bus ride to the site. Three-day tickets cost ¥39,800; one-day tickets are ¥16,800. Camping and parking OK. Check www.smash-uk.com/frf09 for info

Summer festival roundup

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