The Sounds of Summer

Festival fever gets hotter and hotter every year in Japan, with more outdoor music extravaganza in 2000 than ever before. Throughout the summer Tokyo Classified will as always be covering the events in full detail, but the problem for most potential festival-goers is knowing exactly how to get tickets and how to get there. Sam Johnson has the answers.

Primal Scream
Primal Scream

Fuji Rock Festival '00
Billing itself as the largest international rock festival in the Eastern Hemisphere, Fuji Rock returns for a fourth year, and for the second year in a row the numerous artists from both in and outside Japan will rock nowhere near Fuji itself but in the mountains of Niigata Prefecture. The lineup is decidedly more rock than last year, and some festival-goers will mourn the absence of acts like The Chemical Brothers and Underworld and the slimmer dance lineup. This year the "Red Marquee" replaces the dance tent, hosting more intimate daytime gigs by among others Gomez, Eagle-Eye Cherry and Mogwai, with beatier acts like Bentley Rhythm Ace and Fantastic Plastic Machine at night. On the main Green and White stages, international highlights will include super-showmen Placebo, man-of-the-moment Moby, man-of-yesteryear Morrissey, Roni Size and Reprazent flying the drum'n'bass flag, Primal Scream who rocked Tokyo earlier in the year, as well as the riotous Asian Dub Foundation who stole the show at the 1998 festival. Home-grown talent is represented by acts as diverse as Denki Groove, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, Dry & Heavy, Buffalo Daughter, Rovo and AOA.

When: July 28-30, 11am-11pm daily.

Where: Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata-ken.

Tickets: One-day ticket JY14,500, two days JY29,000, three days JY38,000. Children under 12 (accompanied by a parent or adult) free. Order 24 hours at  10am-6pm at 0570-04-9933.

Info: General info: 0180-993-9988 (recorded, 24 hours). Tour package info: 03-5626-1778 (9:30am-5:30pm). Smash: 03-3444-6751.  
Smash UK: 
Fans' website:

Access: By train: JR Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo Yuzawa station. Free shuttle bus for ticket holders available from 6am-2pm from station to festival site. Warning from Smash: This bus trip usually takes 40 minutes but please allow up to two hours on festival days as the traffic may be heavy. By car: Kanetsu Jidoshado Expressway to Tsukiyono Interchange, then Route 17 for about 40 minutes to festival site. OR Kanetsu Jidoshado Expressway to Yuzawa Interchange, then Route 17 for 30 minutes to festival site. Parking: If you are traveling by car, you must buy a Car Park Pass before you go. Parking passes are only available for cars containing three or more people. Cars with four or more people will get a discount.

Camping: JY2500 valid from 12pm on Thur 7/27 till 12pm Mon 7/31. Campsite tickets should be bought at the same time as festival tickets.

Friday 28
Green Stage: Foo Fighters, Elliott Smith, Placebo, Fishbone.
White Stage: Asian Dub Foundation, Fishbone, MDFMK, Garlic Boys, Beast, Yellow Machinegun, La-ppisch.
Red Marquee: Gig I: Grapevine, Eagle-Eye Cherry, G Love & Special Sauce, Pealout. Planet Groove: Bentley Rhythm Ace, Captain Funk, Fantastic Plastic Machine, DJ Krust & Dynamite MC.
Field of Heaven: OOIOO, Scafull King, Kazufumi Kodama, Ozomatli, Musashi.

Saturday 29
Green Stage: Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, Johnny Marr's Healers, Sonic Youth, The Animalhouse, Rollins Band, Ozomatli.
White Stage: Run DMC, Roni Size & Reprazent, Buddha Brand & El Dorado Allstars, Tha Blue Herb, Dry & Heavy, Kojima, The Trojans.
Red Marquee: Gig II: Mogwai, Yura Yura Teikoku, Yo La Tengo, Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her. Tribal Circus: Takkyu Ishino, Luke Slater, DJ Wada (Co-Fusion).
Field of Heaven: Tamio Okuda, Soul Flower Union, Rovo, Deadweight, Theatre Brook, Sheena & The Rockkets.

Sunday 30
Green Stage: Primal Scream, Morrissey, A Perfect Circle, Eve 6.
White Stage: Denki Groove, Leftfield, Stereolab, Moby, Boom Boom Satellites, Buffalo Daughter.
Red Marquee: Gig III: Air (from Japan), Super Furry Animals, Gomez, Rammstein, Bloodthirsty Butchers. Sunday Session: The Trojans, Adrian Sherwood, Ozomatli.
Field of Heaven: Kinocosmo, Joujouka, AOA, Adrian Sherwood, Soft, Walrus.

Mt Fuji Aid 2000
One of Japan's first concerts with a cause, this festival is dedicated to the preservation of Japan's ubiquitous mountain symbol. Mt Fuji is under constant threat from the thousands of tourists who make the hike up its symmetrical slopes each summer to see the sunrise. Add to this deforestation and reckless development at the base of the mountain, and you've got the perfect recipe for an eco-concert. The organizers have gathered artists from all over the world to perform over two days at Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi) at the base of the mountain, to support their fight to preserve Japan's hallowed symbol. Performers include Shigeru Izumiya, a veteran Japanese musician and activist for causes such as the Kobe earthquake victims and AIDS awareness, under-appreciated pop-rock maestro Arto Lindsay, Arona N'diaye Rose from Senegal and Maalem Mahmoud Gania from Morocco representing the world music scene, and The Elephant Kashimashi, Quruli, Charged (with Bill Laswell) and others to boot.

When: July 29-30, from 2pm.

Where: Stella Theater (Kawaguchiko), Yamanashi Prefecture.

Tickets: JY4500 one day (adv), JY5000 one day (door), JY8000 both days. Call ticket Pia 03-5237-9999, Lawson Ticket 03-5537-9999 (L-code 37853), Conversation 03-5280-9996 or Stellar Theater 0555-72-5588 (all in Japanese only).

Info: Tel 03-3233-1813.

Access: By train: From Shinjuku take the direct express to Kawaguchiko station, or take the JR Chuo line to Otsuki station, transfer to the Fujikyuko line and get off at Kawaguchiko station. By car: Take the Chuo Expressway to Kawaguchiko interchange. Parking available. By bus: From Shinjuku, take the Chuo Kosoku bus direct to the Kawaguchiko stop. There is a shuttle bus service from Kawaguchiko available on both days.

Camping: Call Kawaguchiko Field Center 0555-72-4331 for info.

Saturday 29
Shigeru Izumiya, Carnation, Quruli, Cannabis, Arona N'diaye Rose, Maalem Mahmound Gania, Charged.

Sunday 30
The Elephant Kashimashi, Momono Mikoto, Shigeru Nakano and Shinichi Fujinuma, Arto Lindsay, Charged.

Beenie Man

Beenie Man

Reggae Japansplash
Out comes the sun, and along with it the rasta flags, dreads, off-beats and other, more illicit, accessories. Summer means reggae, and reggae means Japansplash-the Asian version of Jamaica's Sunsplash party-this year once more being held at Tokyo Big Site in Odaiba. Headlining are dancehall king and former reggae wonder-kid Beenie Man, Big Mountain, who found worldwide fame with their 1994 smash "Baby I Love Your Way," R&B diva Monica, Morgan Heritage, a group formed by the children of veteran reggae performer Denroy Morgan, plus "special guests."

When: July 29, from 2pm.

Where: Tokyo Big Site, Odaiba.

Tickets: JY8500. Ticket Pia 03-5237-9999, CN Playguide 03-5802-9999, Lawson Ticket 03-5537-9999, Tomorrow House 03-5410-9999 in Japanese only.

Info: Kyodo Yokohama 045-671-9911 or Tomorrow House 03-5410-9999 (Japanese only).

Access: By train: Take the Yurikamome monorail from Shimbashi to Kokusai Tenjijomae station. By car: Parking is widely available in Odaiba.

Artists: Beenie Man, Big Mountain, Monica, Morgan Heritage, Thriller U plus special guests to be announced.

Newport Jazz Festival 2000

This year's installment of the Newport Jazz Festival will once again have jazz fans flocking to Nagano Prefecture from all over Japan. The festival is split into two types of events, afternoon "Jazz Picnics" and evening "Jam Sessions," the former being more mainstream and the latter more fringe. Highlights will include the Kind of Blue Band, and The Count Basie Orchestra. The Kind of Blue Band worked with Miles Davis on his original album. The Count Basie Orchestra, formed way back in 1935, has seen many changes over the past 65 years, but they've kept on swinging and never missed a beat, winning Grammy Awards in 1997 and 1999 for best large jazz ensemble performance. Also don't miss Latin-jazz giants The Ray Baretto Group, and Liquid Soul, one of the main attractions in the more youthful contingent, playing everything from hip hop, funk, jazz and R&B to rock.

When: August 4-6, 11am-11:30pm.

Where: Madarao Kogen, Iiyama-shi, Nagano Prefecture.

Tickets: (Daily prices.) Jazz Picnic: JY6000 (adv), JY7000 (day). Jam Session: JY4000 (adv), JY5000 (day). Combined ticket (Jazz Picnic & Jam Session): JY8000. Call Kyodo Tokyo 03-3498-9999.

Info: Madarao Kogen Jazz Festival Committee 0269-64-3081.

Access: By train: Shinkansen to Nagano station, take the express bus to Madarao. By car: From Tokyo, take the Joshinetsu Jidosha-do to Toyota/Iiyama IC, then head for Madarao Kogen.

Artists: Count Basie Orchestra, Kind of Blue Band, Dianne Reeves Group, The Ray Baretto Group, and Liquid Soul.

August 4, 5, 6
Jazz Picnic: 11am-4pm (11am-5pm on Sun 8/6).

August 5, 6

Jazz Clinic and Interview (entrance free with Jazz Picnic ticket) 10:15-10:45am.

August 4, 5

Jam Session 7-9:30pm.

dragonash.jpg (12439 bytes)
Dragon Ash

Summer Sonic
The main rival to Fuji Rock's festival crown is Summer Sonic, a new event from promoters Creativeman, held jointly in Fuji Q Conifer Forest at the base of Mt Fuji, and Osaka Cosmo Square in Kansai. Artists performing on the Saturday at Fuji Q will perform on the Sunday in Osaka, and vice versa. Acts including Green Day and The Mad Capsule Markets provide a load of rock with a capital R, while Weezer, Eels and The Flaming Lips among others provide a bit of light relief.

When: August 5-6, 10:30am-8pm.

Where: Fuji Q Conifer Forest, Yamanashi Prefecture/Osaka Cosmo Square, Osaka.

Tickets: One day JY11,000. Two days JY20,000.

Info: 0180-993-990 (recorded, 24 hours).

Access: (To Fuji Q.) By train: To: Fuji-Q Conifer Forest: By car: Take the Chuo Expressway to Kawaguchiko Interchange. By bus: Round-trip bus service: JY4500 from Shinjuku, JY4900 from Yokohama. Tel: 03-3376-6435.

Camping: Kawaguchiko Auto Camp Center, tel: 03-3376-6435 (pitch JY3400, plus JY800 per person). Nishiko Camping Ground, tel: (JY2000-JY5000 depending on the number of people and size of car). Saiko/Yamanakako Bungalows: Tel: Reservations vital. Overnight stay (3/4 per room) JY4200-JY5300 per person.

Saturday 5 (Osaka, August 6)
Stage 1: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Arrested Development, 311, The Mad Capsule Markets, Muse and more.
Stage 2: The Flaming Lips, Eels, Grandaddy, Supercar, Coldplay, Sigur Ros and more.

Sunday 6 (Osaka, August 5)

Stage 1: Green Day, Ben Folds Five, Weezer, Mansun, Triceratops, Snail Ramp, The Living End and more.
Stage 2: Teenage Fanclub, The Bluetones, Ween, Tahiti 80, Quruli, Snug, and more.

Rock in Japan Festival 2000
A new addition to the festival calendar, Rock in Japan 2000 promises an all-star lineup of Japanese talent. Hip hop superstars Dragon Ash top the bill after a couple of years of surfing the Japanese charts with style. The Yellow Monkey successfully toured the UK in recent years, and have a loyal following of fans who will no doubt be out in strength at the festival. Tamio Okuda, ex-vocalist of the '80s band Unicorn, has moved on to writing and singing his own songs as well as producing the now-famous Puffy duo. He'll be showcasing his more Beatles-inspired sounds of the sixties. Also at the festival will be boy-band Spitz and Kansai-based trio Quruli.

When: August 12-13, 11am-8:30pm.

Where: Kokuei Hitachi Kaihin Koen.

Tickets: One day JY8500. Two days JY16,000.

Info: Smash Rock in Japan (24 hours recorded message) 0180-993-993. Online:
Tour info: 03-5256-1780 (9:30am-5:30pm),

Access: By train: From JR Ueno station, take the Super Hitachi or Fresh Hitachi train to Kasuta where there will be shuttle bus services to the site. By car: Take Joban Jidoshado to Joban Tomobe JCT to Kitakanto Jidoshado, get off at the Hitachi Kaihinkoen IC.

You must purchase a JY510 parking permit when you buy your festival ticket before arriving or you won't be allowed to park.
No camping grounds

Saturday 12
The Elephant Kashimashi, Quruli, Dragon Ash and more.

Sunday 13
The Yellow Monkey, Tamio Okuda, Spitz, Kazuyoshi Nakamura, Number Girl and more.

With Maki Nibayashi and Crowboy

349: Where there's a will
What will WiLL think of next?
348: Let it snow
Get the inside scoop on three of Japan's best ski resorts
347: Change of Scenery
Commune with nature this fall in Tokyo
346: The Filth and the Fury
Director Julien Temple and his film No Future
345: Retro fit
Tokyo brings retro to the runway
344: Future fortunes
Fotune telling and superstition
343: Women in the lead
Sharp-minded businesswomen climbing to the top
342: Market Value
Expert advice on finding buried treasure
Pottering around
Ceramics trade secrets
341: Screen Test
13th Tokyo Internatioanl Film Festival
340: A walk in the woods
Escape to the mountains in Kanto
339: A good sport
Olympic sports you can try in Tokyo
338: The red mile
Cruise Hakone's strip of car museums
337: Art in the city
Take a tour through Tokyo's artscape
336: Pulp Fiction
Architecture genius Shigeru Ban
335: Pick a fight
Karate, the most popular martial art
334: Summer Haunts
Tokyo's haunted houses
333: Man of the rising sun
Graphic design guru Tadanori Yokoo
332: Taking it to the streets
The inside story on Tokyo's street performers and vendors
331: Monk for a day
Shadowing Sojiji's monks
330: Changing Tides
Spotlight on Okinawa and the G-8 Summit
329: I want my MP3
Downloadable music to everyone's ears
328: Getting Gatten
Welcome to NHK, Japan
327: Mountain High
The significance of Mt. fuji to Japanese culture
326: The Sounds of the Summer
Outdoor music extravaganzas in Japan
325: The Parent Trap
How to survive (and even enjoy) your parents visit
324: On the mark
Get the lowdown on the famous "no brand brand" Muji
323: In the hot seat
The Japanese love affair with the loo
322: Working it out
Find a gym that will fit you to a T
321: Behind the Scene
Detour off of Harajuku's beaten paths
320: Searching in vein
What your blood type does and doesn't say about you
319: Get a move on
Useful advice to get you moving along
318: Can't buy me love
A modern approach to arranged marriage
317: Diary of a Repatriate
Stepping back into your old life
316: Jazzin' Tokyo
Explore the high notes of the Tokyo jazz scene
315: In and Out of Fashion
Tokyo's latest spring and summer fashion collection
314: Tee time
Take a swing at golfing in Japan
313: Lights... computer... action!
The future of film could be film-less
312: The Winner Takes It All
Searching for a purpose behind beauty contests
311: The hunt is on
Hunting for a home in Tokyo
310: The Ale Trail
The perfect pint for St. Patrick's Day
309: Head Up!
Headhunters help navigate your way
308: I have a theme...
Theme bars and cafes in Tokyo
307: Love unclassifed
Finding your mate through the  classified ads
307: Get Educated
Educational opportunities for foreigners in Tokyo
School Daze
International education for kids
305: True Dub
How Princess Mononoke learnt to speak English
304: New heights in architecture
Contemporary architecture in Tokyo
303: Get Festive!
Japanese festivals for everyone
302: First Trains
Expand your late night experiences in Tokyo
300: Edward Seidenstickers
Tokyo's finest historian