While Southeast Asia may not be synonymous with muddy fields and stadium-sized crowds, it is developing a quietly growing music scene, strengthened by the number of quality music festivals taking place each year around the region. Whether you’re looking for chart-topping tunes, under-the-radar indie bands, or an all-night electronic experience, there’s something to appeal to every type of music lover.
Rainforest World Music Festival
For those looking to get away from it all, the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysian Borneo offers just that. Taking place between July 12 and 14, the festival showcases artists, musicians, and performers from a wide range of disciplines in a unique festival that celebrates all things creative. The site also boasts a crafts bazaar, with artisanal handmade goods to take home as mementoes from your festival experience. The festival site lies just 40 minutes from Kuching, with three resorts and an 18-hole golf course just a short distance away.
Though Fuji Rock might be better known around the world, Summer Sonic offers a consistently strong, eclectic line-up for those interested in a weekend of music, but looking to forego the muddy fields and sodden tents. Taking place between August 18 and 19, the festival is held across both Tokyo and Osaka simultaneously, with artists performing in both cities on alternating days. Previous performers include James Bay, Radiohead, Noel Gallagher, and Fergie.
Fuji Rock Festival
The holy grail of outdoor music festivals in the region, Fuji Rock Festival is Asia’s answer to Glastonbury, and has become near-synonymous with big-named bands. Taking place from July 26 to 28 at the Naeba Ski Resort, the festival grounds are accessible from Tokyo via a 90-minute ride on the Shinkansen (bullet train), followed by a 40-minute complimentary shuttle to the campsite. With views of the surrounding countryside and past performers including the likes of Bob Dylan, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, and Oasis, you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason not to attend.
With its roots in India’s party heartland, Goa, the Sunburn Festival is now in its 12th year and has recently found itself a new home at the Oxford Golf Resort in Pune, in Maharashtra. From humble beginnings, this celebration of all things EDM has become one of the largest music festivals in Asia. Drawing local and international visitors, the festival offers outdoor sporting events, yoga sessions, film screenings, and performances from some of the world’s largest names in electronic music, with Armin van Buuren and DJ Snake among the names featured in the 2018 line-up. The dates for 2019 have yet to be confirmed.
Road to Ultra
From a singular festival in Miami, Ultra has expanded to a network of 24 festivals around the world, from New Delhi to Cape Town and (nearly) everywhere in between. Bringing its unique festival experience to all corners of Asia, Road to Ultra host cities have included Hong Kong, Seoul, Manila, and Taiwan. Previous performers at the single-stage festival include Afrojack, Avicii, Galantis, David Guetta, and Snoop Dogg.
Clockenflap Music & Arts Festival
Hong Kong’s very own homegrown music and arts festival has hosted everyone from funk legend George Clinton to indie rockers The Libertines and American rapper A$AP Rocky. Each year, Clockenflap boasts a strong showing from international and local musicians, performing and street artists, and more, as well as vendors representing some of the city’s favourite food and drink outlets. The 2019 instalment will be held at Central Harbourfront from November 22 to 24.
Great Wall Festival
The eponymous festival takes place on the world wonder just outside Beijing and offers festivalgoers access to a mixture of emerging and established names in electronic music. Sets from Nina Kraviz and Recondite are already confirmed for the 2019 Great Wall Festival, which is scheduled to take place from May 18 to 19. Music aside, other festival offerings include a 5K run, though be warned this isn’t for the faint-hearted. The festival is located next to the Beijing Huaibei International Ski Resort and is held from day to night. Accommodation options range from chalet stays to camping under the stars.
With a focus on sustainability and environmental preservation, Wonderfruit is an eco-festival unlike any other. Set in The Fields at Siam Country Club in Pattaya, live arts projects, installations, and workshops take place throughout the four-day festival, which also features an eclectic line-up of musicians and performers. Boasting local, organic produce, a self-sufficient water supply, and a community-led initiative that has seen the planting of more than 10,000 mangrove trees, eco-conscious travellers will find no better place to travel. The dates for the 2019 festival are yet to be confirmed.
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