Music festivals have mushroomed throughout Asia in recent years, offering adventurous music lovers everything from indie rock and jazz to world music and techno. A decade Everyone knows that Asia has firmly established a reputation as being home to some of the world’s best party spots, and now, music festivals are now quickly catching up to speed with skyrocketing attendance numbers each year. And we don’t just mean the EDM parties like Ultra and ZoukOut: from indie rock to jazz and everything in between, here are 13 music festivals around the region worth seeking out and travelling for before the year is over.
Returning to the iconic Marina Bay for its 16th edition this month, Baybeats is Singapore’s original indie and alternative rock festival showcasing budding and established local and regional bands, with some 70,000 visitors annually. Set for three days of non-stop live music, the festival will see genres like post-rock, shoe-gazing (yes, that’s a thing), emo, glam rock, and all things powerpop, with artists like Qu from Japan, Greyhoundz from the Philippines, and local acts Obedient Wives Club, sub:shaman, and Subsonic Eye.
Baybeats is happening from 14 – 16 July at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Marina Bay, Singapore.
Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival
Taking place in one of Incheon’s largest parks, look forward to three days of rock and electronic courtesy of the finest local and international acts (past years have seen the likes of Suede, Weezer, and Panic! at the Disco). Of course, this year looks to be even more electrifying, with headlining acts the legendary Bastille, French duo Justice, Australian pop band 5 Seconds of Summer, Japanese metal core group Crystal Lake, and psychedelic South Korean rock act Guckkasten. See the line-up here.
Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival is happening from 11 – 13 August 2017 at Songdo Moonlight Festival Park, Incheon, South Korea.
We The Fest
Since its inaugural edition in 2014, We The Fest has gone on to become one of Indonesia’s most anticipated summer events for music, arts, and fashion. Alumni include Ellie Goulding, Mark Ronson, The 1975, Kimbra, and The Temper Trap among many, and this year, we’ll be seeing the equally impressive The Kooks, Kodaline, Pheonix, rapper Big Sean, Malaysian soul queen Yuna, and DJs Cash Cash. See the line-up here.
We The Fest is happening from 11 – 13 August 2017 at Jiexpo Kemayoran, North Jakarta, Indonesia.
Summer Sonic is pretty much the urban alternative to Fuji Rock, which takes place earlier in the year in a ski resort. Taking place at the same time in the cities of Osaka and Tokyo, the festival consistently churns out gargantuan rock, pop, and dance names, even seeing the elusive Radiohead last year. This time round, acts such as Foo Fighters, Calvin Harris, Black Eyed Peas, and old-school bands Sum 41 and Good Charlotte will be gracing the stage. Surely you don’t want to miss pop star Kesha’s big comeback either? See the line-up here.
Summer Sonic is happening on 19 & 20 August at Makuhari Messe, Tokyo, and Maishima Sonic Park, Osaka, Japan.
Ultra Japan Music Festival
The Japanese seem to do everything bigger and better, as seen in the Japanese leg of the world’s largest dance music festival, which arrived in Tokyo in 2014. This year, expect only the top A-list luminaries of the EDM scene, such as Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Nick Martin, and plenty more. Also gracing the stage for live shows are Australian electronic music duo Empire of The Sun, British Drum & Bass band Pendulum, and Chapel Hill producer Porter Robinson. See here for the line-up.
Ultra Japan Music Festival is happening from 16 – 18 September 2017, Tokyo Odaiba Ultra Park, Tokyo, Japan.
There’s a new festival on the tropical island of Bali: the UK’s multi-award winning Bestival. The inaugural Bali edition will take place in the breathtaking Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park centred around 25-metre high limestone cliffs, and will see two days of camping, exquisite cocktail bars, global street food stalls, and international luminaries like Alt-J, Purity Ring, hip-hop trio De La Soul, DJs Rudimental, and Indonesian reggae man Ras Muhamad. See the line-up here.
Bestival Bali is happening on 30 September & 1 October 2017 at GWK Cultural Park, Bali.
It might sound more like a European festival than a Hong Kong one, but Clockenflap is undisputedly the neon city’s largest music and arts festival. After moving across the harbour to Central last year, the 10-year-anniversary edition promises to be even better – the first round of artists include hip-hop collective Massive Attack, Canadian indie pop singer Feist, rock band The Dandy Warhols, English indie pop band Blossoms, and most interestingly, Tinariwen, the Grammy Award-winning Tuareg musician group from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali.
Clockenflap is happening from 17 – 19 November 2017 at Central Harbourfront, Hong Kong.
Montreux Jazz Festival Japan
No surprise that Japan, one of the world’s largest jazz communities, is to host yet another edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival in Tokyo in November. Returning for three days of jazz, soul, blues, reggae, and world music, the 2017 line-up has yet to be announced, though past year’s edition saw everyone from DJ extraordinaire GIlles Peterson with the Sonzeira Live Band, and jazz club stalwart Toshio Matsuura to Yukihiro Takahashi’s Metafive, deep house producer Henrik Schwarz, and renowned pianist Fumio Itabashi.
Montreux Jazz Festival Japan is happening from 3 – 5 November 2017 at Yebisu Garden Place, Tokyo, Japan.
Vietnam’s annual Quest Festival is more than just glittery body paint and crochet bikinis. With a host of local and international talents across five stages, the music curation this year represents all genres from funk and jazz, to metal, electronic, and disco, with The Orb Soundsystem, The Bay Collective (VN/DEN), Thailand’s synthpop powerhouse X0809, Rebel Monk, Bahtik from Germany, and Singapore’s Cats on Crack. It’s not just music either, grab a tent spot to camp, attend healing workshops, and witness a whole range of performance art. See the line-up here.
Quest Festival is happening from 10 – 12 November 2017 at Son Tinh Camp, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Electric Zoo Shanghai
New York-based festival Electric Zoo is the latest event to make its debut in China, seeing a massive sold-out crowd in Shanghai last year with headline EDM artists Sander Van Doorn (one of the world’s top 100 DJs for ten consecutive years), the high energy Dada Life, British Trap group Hucci, EDM upstart Codeko, and Cavia, the China champion of DMC. The party will be returning to the Expo Park this November, though the line-up has yet to be announced.
Electric Zoo Shanghai is happening on 12 November 2017 at Expo Park, Shanghai, China.
Djakarta Warehouse Project
With an attendance of 45,000 people each day last year, Ismaya Live’s Djakarta Warehouse Project looks set to become one of the region’s most expansive electronic music festival in no time. Its musician list in earlier years has featured top-tier EDM celebrities like Avicii, Calvin Harris, Paul Van Dyk, Martin Garrix, Kaskade, and Matthew Koma, and we’re expecting this year’s party to be no different, if not even more explosive.
Djakarta Warehouse Project is happening on 15 & 16 December 2017, Jiexpo Kemayoran Convention Centre, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Founded on the coast of Goa in 2007, Sunburn is by far the premiere dance music festival in the whole of India, which is saying something. While the dates and line-up for 2017 have yet to be announced, word has it that the festival will be brought to Pune in December for three days. Having seen DJs like Dash Berlin, Armin Van Buuren, Swedish House Mafia, and the indomitable Avicii in its 10-year-run, you probably won’t want to miss this one.
Stay tuned at the Sunburn Festival website for confirmed dates and location.
Closing off the year is none other than Singapore’s iconic ZoukOut, Asia’s only sunrise beach festival. It’s going to be a weekend of non-stop pumping house and techno, as proven by leading international DJs and artists Armin van Buuren, Jamie Jones, Dixon, Martin Garrix, and Skrillex in recent years. What’s more, each edition sees even bigger and more stunning visual and production effects, just as the final party of the year should be.
ZoukOut is happening in December 2017 (dates TBC) at Siloso Beach, Sentosa, Singapore.
Top Image: Quest Vietnam