7 Music Festivals To Schedule Your Asian Holiday Around
Your dream destination festival may be way closer than you think.
Destination festivals are a beautiful thing. Along with the music and mayhem that go along with spending days on end in a field with a bunch of beautiful strangers, you also get to tack on the adventure and discovery of a foreign holiday. We all know someone who has travelled great lengths to attend Coachella or Glastonbury, but the destination festival of your dreams might be way closer than you think. Asia is chock full of ridiculously fun events, so there are plenty of options when it comes to timing your holiday plans around a world-class music festival. There are our top seven picks.
#1 Fuji Rock
Where: Niigata Prefecture, Japan
When: 24–26 July 2015
It’s been almost 20 years since the first Fuji Rock Festival took place at the base of Mt Fuji. Since then, the festival has moved to the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture and the three-day event has played host to some of the world’s biggest musical acts as the largest outdoor music event in Japan. Last year’s festival made headlines for the wrong reasons when Kanye West cancelled his headline appearance at the last minute, but this year will surely make up for it, with the likes of FKA twigs, Belle and Sebastian, Ride, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds on the bill, in the company of notable Japanese acts like Sheena Ringo (formerly of Tokyo Jihen).
#2 Pentaport Rock Festival
Where: Incheon, South Korea
When: 7–9 August 2015
One of the main events on South Korea’s annual music calendar, Pentaport Rock traverses rock and electronic music, and much in between. Legendary German rockers Scorpions are headlining the festival this year (coinciding with their 50th anniversary), alongside The Prodigy, The Kooks, Mew and prolific South Korean icon Seo Taiji. Camping tickets are available for those attending more than one day of the three-day festival, which could make for a South Korean sojourn with a difference for anyone planning a trip there this winter.
#3 We The Fest
Where: Jakarta, Indonesia
When: August 9 2015
Newcomer to the Southeast Asian festival circuit We The Fest is back for a second time in August, boasting big internationals on the bill this year like Cyril Hahn, Flight Facilities, Jessie Ware and Passion Pit, plus Indonesian acts like Elephant Kind and L’Alphalpha. The all-ages event takes place over one day. Those keen on the line-up can choose to attend We The Fest in Jakarta or, alternatively Sunny Side Up Tropical Festival in Bali two days prior, which will see most of the same artists gracing the stage at the world-renowned Potato Head Beach Club.
#4 Bacardi NH7 Weekender
Where: Shillong, Kolkata, Delhi, Pune & Bangalore; India
When: Oct 23–24 (Shillong); Oct 31–Nov 1 (Kolkata); Nov 28–29 (Delhi); Dec 4–6 (Pune); Dec 5–6 (Bangalore) 2015
What started as a festival in the western Indian city of Pune now boasts a five-city extravaganza between late October and early December each year. This year’s line-up is yet to be released, but 2014 saw the likes of Peking Duk, Cloud Control and Money for Rope share the stage with British rockers The Vaccines, plus plenty of other international and Indian acts. The Pune festival tends to boast the biggest line-up each year, but any of the five festivals at the NH7 Weekender would be a great addition to any vacation plan in India.
Where: West Kowloon, Hong Kong
When: 27–29 November 2015
There are plenty of reasons to travel to Hong Kong, but a major one is Clockenflap – one of the city’s biggest music and arts festivals that draws massive international crowds every year. Taking place in the burgeoning West Kowloon Cultural District over three days each November, Clockenflap last year drew international acts of all kinds – from long-time festival heavyweights The Flaming Lips to comparative newcomers like Melbourne’s Jess Ribeiro, and everything in between (no, really – other acts included New York rapper Le1f, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Scottish faves Chvrches and so many more).
#6 St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore
Where: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
When: Date TBA, January 2016
Remember when St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival actually took place in a laneway? These days, the ten-year-old Melbourne-originating festival is a major mainstay of the Australian festival circuit, with added dates in Auckland, New Zealand and – for the last five years – Singapore. The festival’s Singapore incarnation started in the leafy surrounds of Fort Canning Park, but soon outgrew those grounds and now takes place in the nature-park-meets-science-fiction setting of Gardens by the Bay. If last year’s experience is anything to go by, 2016 is sure to be legendary.
#7 Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival
Where: Jakarta, Indonesia
When: Date TBA, Feb/March 2016
One of the largest jazz festivals in the world, Java Jazz happens every year in early March. Now ten years old, the festival has attracted big names over the years – from Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder to Jamie Cullum and Joss Stone. The festival also reliably presents a thoughtfully curated line-up of Indonesian artists from all over the country (one-off collaborations unique to the festival are also a common occurrence at Java Jazz). Next year’s line-up hasn’t been announced yet, but if past years are anything to go by, you can bet it’ll be huge.
(Lead Image: Courtesy of St Jerome’s Laneway Festival)