Fuji Rock to welcome back international acts
Japanese festival Fuji Rock is to welcome back international artists after two years of prohibitive Covid measures.
The Smash Corporation festival was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2021, the promoter was forced to replace its typical international bill with a completely domestic line-up.
Attendees of last year’s event had to abide by an extensive list of prohibitions which included raising your voice, cheering, shouting, high-fiving and having ‘unnecessary conversations during the performances’.
Other international artists on the line-up include Dinosaur Jr, Syd, Arlo Parks, Black Pumas, Tom Misch and Mura Masa
This year will herald a return to form for the international festival, with a lineup led by headliners Jack White and Halsey, as well as Foals, Bonobo, Fontaines D.C. and more.
Other international artists on the line-up include Dinosaur Jr, Syd, Arlo Parks, Black Pumas, Tom Misch, Mura Masa, Hiatus Kaiyote, Superorganism, Japanese Breakfast, Snail Mail and more.
The 25th-anniversary event will take place at Fuji Rock’s longstanding home, Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture, from 29 to 31 July this year.
News of the line-up comes after Smash, along with a consortium of Japan-based international promoters, spent much of 2021 lobbying for the resumption of international touring in Japan.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
Japan’s leading int’l promoters form alliance
Ten leading Japanese concert promoters have officially announced the formation of the International Promoters Alliance Japan.
Led by Creativeman Productions head Naoki Shimizu, the alliance is hoping to establish unified guidelines for the safe resumption of events involving international artists.
The alliance – which includes Live Nation Japan, Udo Artists, Smash Corporation, Hayashi International Promotions and Kyodo Tokyo – will work closely with the Japanese government, as well as international embassies and consulates, to further the cause.
The International Promoters Alliance Japan is completed by Avex Entertainment, Hanshin Contents Link/Billboard Japan, M&I Company and Promax. The alliance will complement the work of existing music association ACPC, with which it shares members.
In a statement, the group says: “The history of music in Japan was changed forever in 1966 when the Beatles performed at the Nippon Budokan. Since then, musicians from around the world have come to Japan to perform, and the opportunity for fans to experience high quality international live entertainment has led to the growth of a rich and diversified Japanese music culture.
“The fact that Japan has been able to create a larger market for music than any other Asian country is a credit to the more than 60 years of work by member companies of the International Promoters Alliance Japan, who have also contributed to the overseas expansion of Japanese artists and content.”
“That Japan has been able to create a larger market for music than any other Asian country is a credit to IPAJ members”
It continues: “From club and theatre shows through to stadium tours, major festivals, and live restaurants, the breadth of the market is unique in the region, and hosting performances by international artists contributes to international economic exchange, the development of the Japanese music culture and economy, and the growth of employment.”
The International Promoters Alliance Japan was unofficially formed in December last year and in March 2021 the alliance succeeded in getting the Japanese government to amend its compensation scheme to include domestic shows by foreign artists.
The group’s next goal is to ease the business visa restrictions for foreign artists to enter Japan with no quarantines.
Once overseas artists have resumed their visits to Japan, the promoters will work together to “foster continued international cultural exchange in this most important of live entertainment markets”.
Read IQ’s Japan country report, which outlined the opportunities in the Japanese market pre-pandemic, here.
Fuji Rock wants attendees to ‘refrain from speaking’
Japanese festival Fuji Rock has published a series of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at this summer’s edition – one of which discourages festivalgoers from speaking to each other.
The Smash Corporation festival is set to take place at its usual home of Naeba Ski Resort in Tokyo, between 20–22 August 2021, but not as we know it.
This year, the festival’s typical international bill has been replaced with a completely domestic line-up which includes Radwimps, Man With a Mission, King Gnu, Cornelius, The Birthday, ROVO and Denki Groove, while stage capacities may be restricted depending on circumstances.
Festivalgoers must adhere to a number of stringent restrictions which range from wearing a mask and socially distancing to the more bizarre requirements.
The festival has published an extensive list of prohibitions for attendees which includes raising your voice, cheering, shouting, high-fiving and having ‘unnecessary conversations during the performances’.
Naoki Shimizu, president of Japanese promoter Creativeman, told the Japan Times that requirements like these are necessary if the live music industry is ever going to stage a comeback, especially in a country where cases have recently been spiking and the vaccine rollout still hasn’t hit its stride.
Raising your voice, cheering, shouting, high-fiving and having ‘unnecessary conversations’ are discouraged at Fuji Rock
Shimizu revealed that Creativeman festival Supersonic, which welcomed 300,000 people across three days in 2019, will also set out a number of requirements for attendees: “We will have to check everyone’s temperature, first. Capacity will be limited. And alcohol … we probably can’t have alcohol at the festival.”
This year’s Supersonic will be a post-Olympics version of its trademark Summer Sonic event held simultaneously in Chiba and Osaka prefectures and will feature 10 acts across three days – though the line-up is yet to be announced.
With Japan’s borders largely closed to international travel and the Tokyo Olympic Committee moving to ban international spectators from the Summer Games (23 July to 8 August), it’s likely that Supersonic will also opt for a domestic line-up.
Both Creativeman and Smash have spent much of 2021 lobbying for the resumption of international touring in Japan via a new consortium of Japan-based international promoters.
Earlier this year, the consortium succeeded in getting the Japanese government to amend its compensation scheme to include domestic shows by foreign artists.
The alliance’s next goal is to ease the business visa restrictions for foreign artists to enter Japan with no quarantines.