To live in urban Japan requires a certain tolerance for crowds and an independence from personal space. The same can be said for big music festivals like the Fuji Rock Festival and Summer Sonic. Sure, there’s room to move — maybe even dance — but if you want to see DJs and rock stars up close, then say goodbye to breathing room.
This year both fests offered numerous ways to escape the humanity. Both now have far-flung stages guaranteed to be more sparsely populated — Summer Sonic with the Beach and Riverside Stages, and Fujirock with the Cafe de Paris and Stoned Circle venues — but my favorite oases of privacy (however conceptual) were Summer Sonic’s Silent Disco and Fuji Rock’s Miniscule of Sound.
Silent Disco is set up like a club, except that everyone wears wireless headphones, so there’s no thumping bass upon arrival — just people jumping around, singing along and occasionally grunting. Can you guess what song these people are listening to? What was most interesting to me was that there were two DJs playing simultaneously, so there wasn’t a uniform beat everyone was dancing to. This clip may be the best example.
The Miniscule of Sound is a club, too. The smallest club in the world, in fact. The dance floor is only 2 sq. meters and about the size of a walk-in closet, but it has a doorman, manager cloakroom, smoke machine and dedicated DJ. And in typical club fashion, VIPs get past the velvet rope first, to the chagrin of those waiting in line. That didn’t seem to sway the crowds at Fuji Rock, who waited up to an hour to get in.
The lengths we go to for a moment alone.