The last major outdoor music festival of the year, Asagiri Jam has been dubbed “the real Fuji Rock Festival” due to its very scenic location at the foot of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka. The two-day concert was established in 2001 and inspired by the spirit of the late 1960s and the communal atmosphere at early editions of pioneering events such as The Isle of Wight Festival, Glastonbury, and The Cambridge Folk Festival. Only 5,000 tickets were issued to the inaugural bash, but that number has since risen to 12,000. Asagiri Jam always sells out in advance so if you’re considering attending, it is highly recommended that you purchase a weekend wristband very soon. All the available on-site parking passes have already been snapped up. With no hotels in the immediate vicinity of the grounds, everyone camps. And it gets chilly at night so be prepared for that.
Asagiri Jam’s lineup is revealed only a few weeks prior to the festival. A smaller-scaled production, there are few “big name” draws involved. Instead a diverse range of artists are selected to provide the backing soundtrack for this laid-back shindig. This October will see 25 acts gracing the Rainbow Stage and the DJ Field Moon Shine. Among the international invitees are Chicago’s eight-piece Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (which is comprised of the sons of Sun Ra Arkestra trumpeter Phil Cohran), Netherlands-based dub producer Twilight Circus, and Swedish minimal techno act The Field, whose “Here We Go Sublime” debut was one of 2007’s top-rated discs. Local participants include Yokohama jam band Special Others, Tokyo hard rock and acid-folk trio Boris, and Osaka’s Yoshimi P-We from Boredoms’ eclectic, avant-rock side-project OOIOO. A 10:30 p.m. curfew stops the music on Saturday so as not to disturb neighbors and livestock. But, the party continues in the camping area as people huddle around several bonfires to share food and drink with friends old and new. Things wrap up Sunday evening at 7 p.m., making it relatively easy to catch everything and still be at work on Monday.