The Concert on the Rock (also known as the 'Surf Rock' Concert) is an annual outdoor one stage event held near Nakatsu in the northern area of Oita Prefecture. The locale is as spectacular as you could ask for - up Mt. Hachimen, next to clear and cooling streams, with a fantastic view over the Nakatsu area... And it is not just the view that keeps you entertained.
As well as local bands and DJs (this concert continues on until it is dark), there are usually a few bands populated by us gaikoku-jin and there are certainly a lot of ALTs in attendance in the crowd too. The music really does range from acoustic to rock and just down-right bizarre, but the atmosphere is great. The crowd is a good mixture of Japanese and foreigners and everyone gets into the swing. The concert lasts over two days/one night usually in mid-to-late September and it is possible to camp near the site - although not at the site itself. It is on a slope. If you are not up for roughing it and waking up smelly the next morning (although there would be no excuse for this as the public conveniences at Hachimen are really good!), then the city of Nakatsu is not too far away and there are hotels aplenty.
It is a good idea to get to the concert relatively early; not necessarily because the bands start early, but if you get there late it can be difficult to find a car park (although the men with their glo-sticks will try their hardest to accommodate you) and you will miss out on the best food and trinkets and drinks... There are food stalls from throughout Oita Prefecture, and often from neighbouring Fukuoka too. Food is general festival food - meat-on-sticks, taco-yaki, amazing hotdogs, karaage - however some stalls offer foreign food like fish and chips. Beer will cost you about ￥500 for a nama. Soft drinks are available also. If you want to pick yourself up some bangles or charm braclets, have your fortune told, any of that summer festival stuff, then you will not be let down either for there are many different stalls of this nature touting their wares. A lot of it is good stuff, too! Anyone can have a stall at the site, but obviously you need to contact the organisers for permission before you arrive and start setting up shop. There is a charge for this, I am sorry, but I do not know how much. Also to note is that every year the stalls are slightly different from the year before, so if you are desperate for a palm reading and miss out then I am sorry for exciting you unduly.
I think that entry is around the ￥1000 mark. It is definitely worth the trip and the money. A lot of fun.
Thetamdog, February 2007