In 2002 I interviewed Masa Hidaka, the man behind the Fujirock Festival, Japan’s largest outdoor music festival. This was the first of three interviews I had with Hidaka-san over the years.
The feat of building a community takes vision, commitment and lots of time. But once every year, a massive village materializes on a mountainside in Niigata Prefecture in late July, only to vanish into thin air less than a week later.
This temporary township includes more than 70 different eateries, campgrounds that can accommodate 100,000 people and, of course, hundreds of Porta-Toilets for when nature calls. There will be street performers, poetry readings, a flea market, ad hoc clubs and, most importantly, music from all over the globe offered virtually round-the-clock for a period of three days.
During its brief stay this year, from July 26 to 28, the village will host an estimated 75,000 music fans — if you tally each day’s admissions — and more than 100 bands. More than 400 flights will shuttle groups from overseas into and back out of Japan, and about 200 vehicles will have transported them and their equipment to Naeba, a four-hour drive from Tokyo.
If you make the journey to Fuji Rock this year, there’s a chance you might catch a glimpse of the man behind the village. He can easily be spotted behind the wheel of a Jeep, whizzing from stage to stage. That man is Masa Hidaka, who, from the festival’s wobbly start in 1997, has turned Fuji Rock into one of the biggest events of its kind in the world.
Read the full interview at The Japan Times Online.