Japan's music fans get ready to rock

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Music lovers are preparing themselves for the biggest date on the Japanese music calendar, the long weekend of the hugely popular Fuji Rock festival.

Scheduled for the three-day weekend of July 30 to August 1, the organizers of this year's event have outdone themselves by pulling in some of the biggest names in the industry.

Headlining on the 40,000 capacity Green Stage on July 30 will be Muse, followed by Them Crooked Vultures, Ken Yokoyama, Ash and Superfly, while British stalwarts Roxy Music take over the following day, ably supported by John Fogerty, Kula Shaker and the John Butler Trio. Massive Attack top the bill on the final day of the festival, along with Atoms for Peace, Boom Boom Satellites and Asian Kung-Fu Generation.

The White Stage will host dozens more acts over the weekend, including Grapevine, The Bawdies, Third Eye Blind and Foals, while the Red Marquee venue has elbow room for 5,000 people to dance until dawn.
Organized by Smash Japan, the event will feature more than 200 bands from Japan and abroad, and close to 100,000 spectators, making it the largest outdoor music event in Japan. Other similar events during the summer include Rising Sun, Rock in Japan and Summer Sonic.

The Fuji Rock festival has a storied history and the first event was staged in 1997 on the lower slopes of Mount Fuji. That festival was struck by one of the most powerful typhoons in years and many people required medical attention for hypothermia, although the Red Hot Chili Peppers played through the storm.

The event was moved to a winter ski resort in Niigata Prefecture in 1999, retaining its original name despite being nowhere near Mount Fuji. Organizers also pride themselves on the event's cleanliness - it is truly a far cry from Glastonbury - and a great deal of effort goes into recycling waste.

The Field of Heaven outdoor stage has a capacity of 5,000 and a more chilled-out atmosphere, while the Orange Court is set aside for jazz and world music.

The Rookie A Go-Go venue is set aside for newcomers to the music scene, while the bands to grace the Gypsy Avalon stage have just been announced and will include Christian Vander, Deep Cover and Aoba Ichiko.

Fuji Rock festival, July 30 - August 1

Hours: Gates open at 9 a.m., stage starts at 11 a.m., curtain at 11 p.m.

Venue: The Naeba Ski Resort, Yuzawa-machi, Niigata, Japan

Tickets: Y39,800 (€355.60) for a three-day pass, Y16,800 (€150.10) for a one-day ticket.