Overall Review “Magic, mellow and fun for everyone” @ Asagiri Jam – It’s A Beautiful Day! 2014.10.11 & 12

Overall Review – “Magic, mellow and fun for everyone”
Features : Overall Review “Magic, mellow and fun for everyone” @ Asagiri Jam – It’s A Beautiful Day! 2014.10.11 & 12

Asagiri Jam

Approaching Asagiri Jam as a first-timer gives you the obvious question, what is this festival all about? Is it simply a smaller version of Fuji Rock Festival or is there something more to it? Certainly there are similarities between the two, such as the company running it and the camping aspect. Some of the food and market vendors are the same, even most of the bands have played Fuji Rock in the past. Thankfully it isn’t that simple, there is much more to defining Asagiri Jam than simply labelling it as a smaller version of a bigger, more famous festival. Asagiri exudes its own atmosphere and excels in what it does. Let’s take a closer look at what that is.

Asagiri JamAsagiri Jam’s slogans, incorporated in the logo, say a lot to the core values of the festival. They read “Camp in Asagiri Jam” and “It’s a beautiful day”. They’re even written in English to make things easier for us foreigners. Let’s look at the first statement, “Camp in Asagiri Jam”. Of course there is camping at other festivals in Japan, this part isn’t unique. However, at Asagiri Jam, camping is as big a draw as the music. Unlike other festivals, there is virtually nothing else within the vicinity of Asagiri Jam, no hotels or lodges, no towns within walking distance, this is it. If you want to stay here, you have to camp. People spend a lot more time at their campsite here, many of which are situated within view of the main stage. Regardless of where you set up camp at Asagiri, you are always within a 10 minute walk of a stage. Many people cook their own food, bon-fires are a common sight, there are many elaborate camping setups. Similarly, the last acts of the night finish around 10pm, perfect for sleeping early with the family or continuing the party back at your camp site.

Of course music is a big draw, but it’s not the main concern. The fest usually sells out before the artists are announced. This comes to mean a few things, that people have ultimate trust in the organiser’s music selection and that they come for another reason. Asagiri isn’t simply a concert, it’s a getaway. Its a very accommodating festival in ways many others are not. Asagiri encourages people to bring the kids and the pets and enjoy the trip together. There is a little something for everyone. There is plenty of open space and even a dog run. For the kids, there is an area that is dedicated to them. Asagiri Jam Kids of all ages can play or make crafts such as dreamcatchers or finger paintings. They are given the chance to watch or partake in taiko drumming or just run around and play with other kids.

The other slogan, “It’s a beautiful day” reigned true again this year, but just barely. There were concerns leading up to this year’s fest that my first Asagiri Jam experience would be over before it even started. Promoters were considering cancelling the event if proclaimed ‘supertyphoon’ Vongfong were to touch down. Luckily for myself and thousands of others, Vongfong waited a couple days and we were treated to a couple cool, but otherwise beautiful days. Whereas summer festivals like Fuji Rock are notorious for rain and mud, Asagiri has been synonyms with refreshing, crisp weather and gorgeous views of mount Fuji.

Asagiri literally means morning fog, and the image fits well. The festival lingers to a start Saturday afternoon, bands play shorter sets and there are only two stages. Asagiri takes its time, doesn’t overwhelm and welcomes you to do the same. It’s a perfect synergy between the camping and the music festival experience. It offers up a manageable, mellow but diverse music schedule, family friendly activities and the best way to close off the festival season here in Japan.

Asagiri Jam


–>Back To Intro :
"Dreams Come True as Typhoon Fears Fade" by Lisa Wallin

–>Overall Photo Report :
Taio Konishi / Shinya Arimoto (Part.1 / Part.2) / Yutaro Suzuki / Mamiko Miyakoshi

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Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

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