Big Crowds At Fuji And Jisan

Two of Asia’s biggest festivals took place the weekend of July 30, Fuji Rock in Japan and Jisan Valley Rock in South Korea.

The two festivals have developed a relationship in which they share the expenses of bringing over international acts. This year acts included Massive Attack (who also played the TWinkle Festival in Taiwan), Belle and Sebastian, Vampire Weekend, Corinne Bailey Rae, Third Eye Blind and Muse.

Jisan attendance stood at about 23,000 on Friday and ended up with 30,000 on Sunday, according to The Korea Times. The Pet Shop Boys, who did not play at Fuji, were the headliners Saturday night.

Now in only its second year, the festival still seems to have some logistical problems with major traffic jams making it difficult for festivalgoers to move easily between the two main stages.

Under ideal conditions, it would take about 10 minutes to walk from one venue to the other, but it apparently always takes longer.

There were also problems with the large screens, which didn’t work properly on the first day. Some bands’ starting times were also delayed due to technical glitches. One Korean band, Mate, was only able to play half its planned set because of audio problems.

The weather was alternately blazingly sunny or rainlessly overcast, but throughout the weekend the humidity was high. A large outdoor pool was provided for relief.

Like Jisan, the much older Fuji Rock Festival is held in the mountains. As usual, the weather was spotty at the Naeba ski resort in Niigata Prefecture. It rained off and on over the weekend, sometimes heavily, causing large mud pits to form in front of some of the eight stages, on the trails and within the food courts.

Experienced festivalgoers were prepared, and this year there seemed to be a large increase in the number of camping chairs in use. Certain venues, like the jam band-friendly Field of Heaven, was usually half filled with seated individuals.

Japanese media reported all summer that advance ticket sales for the major summer festivals were much slower this year. Organizer Smash said that cumulative attendance for the weekend was 125,000, which is slightly higher than last year. The largest draws were Muse, Thom Yorke’s side project Atoms for Peace, Massive Attack and the Japanese hardcore band Cro-Magnons, whose set at the White Stage prompted security to block off the path between the two main stages because the crowd was so large.

The same weekend, China held the InMusic Festival, which took place in a grassy field in Zhangbei County in northern Heibei Province. Promoted as China’s answer to the Glastonbury Festival, the three-day event expected to attract more than 200,000 people with around 50 Chinese and international acts that included Panic At The Disco, CocoRosie and Killing Joke.

The site is about two hours from Beijing. It was the second year for the festival, which last year had attendance of about 150,000.