The 2021 edition of Fuji Rock Festival should have been a breakthrough moment for Japan’s live music scene. After COVID-19 canceled last summer’s slate of music gatherings, many hoped this August to be a return to semi-normalcy and a chance for a financially battered industry to begin rebounding.

It hasn’t played out that way. Fellow major summer events Rock in Japan Festival and Rising Sun Rock Festival were canceled yet again due to an increase in new infections, which continue to rise across the country. Fuji Rock will press on, holding a “Special Fuji Rock under Special Circumstances” from Aug. 20 to 22 in Naeba, Niigata Prefecture.

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