Fuji Rock tests the waters in a ‘return to normal’ – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Fuji Rock tests the waters in a ‘return to normal’

Written by on August 30, 2021

Last weekend saw what was billed as a Special Fuji Rock under Special Circumstances, with those circumstances being the COVID-19 pandemic.

While a limited number of people made the trip to Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture, where the event is held annually, most music fans had to settle for following along on three YouTube channels that livestreamed different stages.

On a purely musical level, the online portion of the event went well, with Saturday headliners King Gnu bringing in hundreds of thousands of viewers during its set. It also allowed people to marvel at the long-running success of musician Susumu Hirasawa, who was compared to a “23rd century religious guru” by one Twitter user.

Much like another major event that was postponed from last year and held this summer, Fuji Rock could not escape the sour notes played by COVID-19. With new cases climbing nationwide, the idea of holding a festival — even an outdoor one as scaled-down as Fuji 2021 was — attracted the attention of those who normally ignore such gatherings, resulting in possibly the most scrutinized edition of the festival ever.

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