Fuji Headliner Cancels

A little more than a week before the start of the Fuji Rock Festival (July 25-27), Kiyoshiro Imawano canceled his appearance as the final night’s headlining act.

The 57-year-old rock and soul singer was diagnosed with cancer of the throat in 2006 but made a well-publicized comeback to the stage last winter with a concert at Budokan. The rocker’s management said he was canceling all appearances because of health reasons.

In addition to the Fuji gig, where he was the only act to perform annually, Kiyoshiro was slated to tour Japan this summer.

Japanese media reported that it appears the cancer has spread to his pelvis, though reports also say the condition is treatable.

The cancellation caused considerable trouble for the festival, as an open slot remained on the main Green Stage just before Kiyoshiro’s appearance.

Rumors circulated for at least a month that organizers were in negotiations with a "legendary artist," but apparently these negotiations did not bear fruit.

With Kiyoshiro pulling out, a huge hole was left for Sunday night. Organizers later announced the slot would be filled with three acts: Japanese supergroup The Birthday, Primal Scream and Asian Dub Foundation.

The three bands were already slated to appear on Saturday – two of them on the Green Stage – and those appearances were not canceled.

Some ticketholders sent messages to the festival Web site expressing disappointment with the decision to double up so many artists, saying it contradicted the basic appeal of a rock festival.