Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fuji Rock Festival: Rockin our British socks off!

Beautiful weather in Echigo Yuzawa but as the courtesy bus ascended up to the site it started raining, boooo. Still really humid though, hurrah! Note to anyone thinking of going to Fuji Rocks, get there EARLY to avoid having to hike up and down the vertical slope of the golf course come campsite every day. We got there Friday around 2:30pm, we weren’t planning on getting there so late (we even missed the Doves playing) but the queues for the courtesy buses were absolutely huge in Echigo.

We ended up pitching our tents at the highest point of the campsite (it’s a golf course on a steep slope of a mountain- you wouldn’t believe the number of people who had pitched tents at 90 degree angles!)

The rain stopped and after cracking open a bottle or celebratory red we went for an explore to the site. The site wasn’t as big as I expected but has some cool things; a park, called the Palace of Wonder with lots of huge menacing looking metallic dinosaurs, a make shift swing made of tyres (very un-Japanese from a health & safety POV) and a few called “”miniscule of sound” I’ll get to that another day. The festival setting is so pretty, surrounded by mountains and quite literally a “river runs through it” where you can bathe or paddle your feet. I’m sure they wouldn’t let a bunch of Brits at a festival anywhere near a river, we’re just not responsible enough!

A slope runs down to the main Green Stage, a pretty impressive sight, not huge but had a cosy kind of feel. Loads of food tents and even a British one serving fish and chips (but with chopsticks, no knife and fork to be seen..) and Newcastle Ale.
Another (very Japanese one) selling whole grilled fish on these huge long skewers, amazing!

I had read somewhere that this is the only festival where the queues for official merchandise are longer than the beer tent queues. Yep this is true, in fact the official merchandise queue was permanently long. It’s also the only festival I’ve been to where people have worn full on waterproof gear, matching jackets and trousers, sensible boots and those little foldable chairs. It’s also the only festival I’ve been to where you can take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain, watch alpine monkeys and get bitten by ticks.

After a few vodka and red bulls (wow, I’ve missed that drink) we were feeling fab. Then I lost Sarah..but spent a fun night with Gav and Nick and we partied at the Chrystal Palace tent until 5am (they had to shut the rest of the site for the night because of heavy rain). Saw Oasis play, didn’t realise that it’d probably be the last time they’d play live together, it hammered it down with rain during the entire performance and you could tell there wasn’t much chemistry on stage. Meanwhile I’d necked a few more vodkas. Dying for a wee and we were stuck in the mosh pit. Tried to leave the boys but the crowds were crazy. The boys told me to wee right there and then. I refused multiple times, tried to fight it but in the end succumbed. Yes, soooo un lady like and not a thing to be done at a Japanese festival!

That night I managed to lose my hat (only bought it a few days before) and funky red shades but amazingly still had my camera even though I had left my bag for hours on a table in the club. It says a lot for the Japanese, they are so trustworthy it’s frightening, do that in the UK, your bag would be emptied!)

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