With Fuji Rock happening this weekend, it’s time to start making sure you’ve got everything you need to make the festival an unadulterated success. Here’s a list of essential items you should consider trying to squeeze into your bags:
Footwear: You’re likely to need rain boots that are mid-calf or higher to keep all the mud out if the skies open up. Experienced festival-goers usually add comfy insoles to give their feet extra protection. Having said that, you could probably get by with a pair of ankle-high hiking shoes if the rain’s not too bad and you don’t mind waiting to walk around the worst mud swamps throughout the site. It may preclude you from getting to the far-flung Orange Cafe, however.
Poncho or light raincoat: Go knowing one thing — it is sure to rain (unless we’ve all jumped back in time to the week before the sun-drenched 2012 edition). Umbrellas are prohibited and rain is as much a part of Fuji Rock as the music itself. Ponchos are generally easier to use than raincoats because you can simply throw them on and off (the rain has a habit of coming down sporadically). Ponchos can also cover any gear you have.
Long-sleeved jacket: You can go through an entire night at Fuji Rock in nothing more than a T-shirt, but it’s best to be prepared in case the temperature plummets. You’re in the mountains of Niigata, after all.
Extra clothes: Sure, some people wash their clothes in the nearby river. If it rains, though, you’ll be happy you brought some extra underwear and socks.
Flashlight and batteries: It gets pretty dark when the sun goes down, especially when looking for your tent.
Sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, sunglasses, folding fan: The Red Marquee and Cafe de Paris may have roofs, but you’re going to be exposed to the elements for pretty much the rest of the festival. Sunscreen and insect repellent are essential. Additionally, a decent hat can help keep the sun off your neck and torrential rain out of your eyes.
Towels: A small towel can help protect your neck from sunburn and wipe away any sweat or rain.
Toilet paper/tissues/wet wipes: Useful for mopping up spilled drinks, visiting the facilities and just feeling clean overall.
Painkillers: There’s nothing worse than facing a day of ear-piercingly loud music with a splitting headache brought on by overindulging on one too many drinks the previous evening. If you’re buying from a Japanese pharmacy, ask for zutsū-yaku (headache medicine).
Ear plugs: Speaking of loud music, these certainly help. They’re also good in case the people in the tents around you decide to pull an all-nighter.
Band-Aids: The elastic waterproof variety offers an extra layer of protection in the never-ending battle against blisters. They are also quite handy in the event of a paper cut.
Small tarp or plastic bags: You’re definitely going to need to sit down throughout the day, so at least be sure to take a small tarp or even a plastic bag because logs, rocks and chairs can often get wet. Plastic bags can also help protect electronic items such as cameras or phones from the rain.
Cash: Fuji Rock is located in the mountains, and ATMs do not grow on trees.
Plastic bottles (and optional cover): You can’t bring glass bottles or cans into the festival grounds, so a 500-ml plastic bottle and cooler from the ¥100 shop are essential if you wish to enjoy your chilled pre-mixed cocktails.
Toys: Your kids will thank you for it. Your sanity will, too.
Portable ashtray: Smokers, you know the drill.
Fuji Rock ticket: Absolutely essential.