When event organizer Smash first approached the residents living around Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture about hosting the Fuji Rock Festival in 1999, they had reservations.

“The residents and farmers were nervous. They wanted to know if the noise would affect the birds ... and where exactly the orchestra would play,” Smash promoter and international booker Johnnie Moylett says. “But after that first festival, they reported that the Fuji Rock crowd was better behaved than the winter skiing community.”

The music festival has been based in Naeba ever since, and this year’s edition, held from July 26 to 28, marks the 25th anniversary of Fuji Rock’s Niigata debut. Just as older Japanese associate the summer with Bon dancing and fireworks, there’s a whole new generation for whom summer means a weekend camping trip soundtracked by Foo Fighters, Bjork or Franz Ferdinand.