Selected by Dan Grunebaum
recently caught up with Smash' English point-man Johnnie Moylett, and asked him how
preparations are going for this year's festival
TC: How many people
came last year, and how many are expected this year?
Moylett: Last year over three days, 72,000 people came and we are aiming
for the same this year.
TC: What major changes have been made to the festival this year?
Moylett: We try to make the Festival a wider experience each year by
adding various new features. This year, we've added two new stages and other sideline
events. The Red Marquee is a 5000 capacity tent. Loosely, it's an alternative stage to the
outdoor rock arena stages. The Avalon Stage is an acoustic stage and is a platform for
unrecorded musicians, street performers, etc. There are various other things going on this
year around the site - street performers, performance artists, and a House of Horrors.
TC: What is being done to ease traffic congestion?
Moylett: We had that fully under control last year. The shuttle bus from
the JR station and the Festival car parks ran every 10-20 minutes. There were no traffic
jams. It's not a problem at all.
TC: Is the festival a money-making proposition?
Moylett: Sometimes we wonder ourselves. Of course, we don't want to lose
money. Last year we had a total staff of 2250 people and 100 bands/artists performed. And
luckily it didn't rain. It's a year's planning to get the festival staged, if we break
even we are happy.
TC: What were the craziest things participating bands got up to last
Moylett: There was no great 'Us and Them' (artist/audience) thang going
on backstage, which is fairly customary at most festivals. Most of the artists, after
their performance, walked around watching other bands. Very relaxed really.
TC: Are there any plans to move the festival back to Mt Fuji?
Moylett: Naeba is a really beautiful setting for the Festival. We are
very happy to return there this year. You can ask that question after this year is over.
TC: Any tips on 'surviving' the Festival?
Moylett: There is a lot of helpful information about the Festival on our
website (www.smash-jpn.com). But to sum it up, be
prepared for all types of weather.