Fuji Rock to move dates after successful 2019
Smash Corp.’s Fuji Rock, Japan’s largest outdoor music festival, will next year move to August from its traditional last-weekend-of-July dates, to accomodate the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympic games (24 July–9 August 2020).
The 2019 edition of Fuji Rock – with Creativeman’s Summer Sonic one of Japan’s two marquee rock festivals – took place from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 July, welcoming a total of 130,000 people (5,000 more than last year) for its 23rd event, held at the Naeba ski resort in Yuzawa, in central Japan.
Despite more challenging conditions – for the second year in a row, programming was disrupted by a tropical storm (dubbed, with typical Japanese understatement, ‘Typhoon #6’) – Fuji Rock “finished all three days with cooperation and understanding from the audience”, according to organisers.
Some 15,000 people attended Thursday night’s free opening party, with capacity crowds of 40,000 on Friday and Saturday, and 35,000 on Sunday. Headliners were the Cure, the Chemical Brothers and Sia, with other performers including Thom Yorke, James Blake, Janelle Monáe and Martin Garrix.
Fuji Rock 2020 will be held on Friday 21, Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 August, after the Olympics. Summer Sonic 2020, which would have taken place in Tokyo and Osaka, has been cancelled altogether.
Fuji Rock booker James Smith joins Live Nation Japan
Live Nation has hired talent buyer James Smith, formerly of Fuji Rock promoter Smash Corporation, to attract more major international acts to the company’s events in Japan.
Tokyo-based Smith becomes VP of touring and festivals, reporting to John Boyle, president of Live Nation Japan, in an appointment the company says “signals its ongoing investment in Asia”.
At Smash, Smith focused on securing talent for both Fuji Rock – Japan’s largest outdoor festival, which draws more than 100,000 attendees annually – and the promoter’s touring business, where he worked on international tours by artists such as James Blake, Grimes and Bonobo.
“James’s knowledge of Japan’s music industry runs deep, and he has a true passion to unite artists with fans, existing and new,” says Boyle.
“My ultimate goal is to bring acts from all over the world to Japan”
“His dedication and expertise makes him the perfect addition to Live Nation’s team to help us expand our business as we continue to meet the growing demand for international concerts in Asia.
“I can’t wait to see what amazing shows we create together for the people of Japan thanks to his extraordinary vision.”
Live Nation currently operates across ten markets in Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Recent successes include Bruno Mars’s 24k Magic world tour, whose Asian leg sold out 14 shows across seven cities.
“My ultimate goal is to bring acts from all over the world to Japan, which is why I’m so excited to be joining Live Nation entertainment and begin tapping into their unparallelled artist pipeline,” adds Smith. “There is enormous potential in this market and I plan to maximise these opportunities for growth with a hands-on and artist-centric approach.”