Heads up: Be sure to plan your 2014 holidays around these must-attend music festivals in Asia.
By Haikal Bakar
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival
Scheduled festival date: 25 January
Notable acts for 2014: Chvrches, Haim, James Blake, Jamie XX
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival is a boutique indie music festival that began in Melbourne in 2004. It has since evolved from a street party to an established one-day touring event spanning four countries and eight cities.
Since its inaugural Singapore show in 2011, Laneway Festival has grown in popularity. This year, the Festival returns to the tranquil grounds of Gardens by the Bay. Will it be bigger? Will it be better? Who knows. But what we do know for a fact is that Laneway has the uncanny ability to sniff out promising acts and is always one of the first platforms to present them to music-lovers, and that alone makes it worth a must-attend mention.
For more information, visit Laneway Festival.
Scheduled festival date: 27-29 June
Previous notable acts: Force Vomit, Electrico, The Great Spy Experiment, L’Alphalpha
Baybeats is a free and non-ticketed 3-day alternative music festival showcasing a discerning selection of quality local and international acts.
Presented by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Baybeats was launched in 2002 to create a platform to showcase indie-rock musicians in Asia, and to offer Baybeats as the essential destination to experience the spirit of indie music in Asia. The festival has been recognized as a springboard for local indie talents and has played an instrumental role in the development of these bands. The festival also celebrates the music-loving lifestyle with a festival village that brings together local indie craftsmen and entrepreneurs.
For more information, visit Baybeats.
Image via inSing
Timbre Rock and Roots
Scheduled festival date: Early April
Previous notable acts: Bob Dylan, Imogen Heap, Rufus Wainwright, John Legend
Timbre Rock & Roots is a two-day evening festival featuring a host of world-class musicians, Grammy Awards winners and nominees.
Rock & Roots is a true testament to Timbre Music’s mandate of bringing quality musicians to Singapore audiences regardless of artists’ origins. Who can forget 2011 when Rock & Roots brought Bob Dylan to Singapore? Since it’s inception in 2010, Rock & Roots has managed to establish itself as a mainstay on Singapore’s annual concert calendar, and there’s good reason for this.
For more information, visit Rock & Roots.
Image via Today
Scheduled festival date: December
Previous notable acts: Afrojack, Hardwell, Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, David Guetta
Dubbed one of Asia’s largest music dance festivals, the 13th edition of ZoukOut held in 2013 saw its biggest crowd ever, attracting a whopping 41,000 partygoers from all over the globe.
To cater to its increasing popularity and demand, ZoukOut tweaked its program in 2012 to span two days instead of one. The event is known for its star-studded line up of DJs who spin the hottest electronic dance tracks on a beach setting with some of the hottest people around town and beyond. What’s there not to love about that?
For more information, visit ZoukOut.
Image via Today
Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA)
Scheduled festival date: 13-15 March
Notable acts for 2014: Deadmau5, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Wu-Tang Clan, Armin Van Buuren
Slated to be Southeast Asia’s biggest music festival ever, this year’s three-day event promises an immense show that will seal FMFA as Southeast Asia’s most epic music festival.
With an estimated 75,000 fans expected to converge over the three-days, Deadmau5 will take the stage on the opening day, followed by trance veteran Armin Van Buuren on March 14th. The main festival will take place on March 15th across four stages. In line with this year’s “Safari” theme, attendees are encouraged to come decked in Safari themed outfits and go wild as FMFA unleashes its unbelievable line-up of performers.
For more information, visit Future Music Festival Asia.
Image via Visit Malaysia
Scheduled festival date: TBC
Previous notable acts: Yuna, Sigur Rós, Franz Ferdinand, Kyoto Protocol
Malaysia’s largest and longest-running creative arts festival, which had its humble beginnings at an Italian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur in 2002, has come a long way.
Having started out as a festival comprising mainly local acts, Urbanscapes has since expanded and star-studded international and regional performers were added to the line-up in 2012. Last year, the festival was presented across four stages at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS), the festival’s largest venue to date.
For more information, visit Urbanscapes.
Djarkarta Warehouse Project
Scheduled festival date: December (no firm date for 2014 yet)
Previous notable acts: David Guetta, Alesso, W&W, Avicii
Djakarta Warehouse Project, an annual affair, is the biggest dance music festival in Indonesia. Started out in 2008, Djakarta Warehouse Project features international acts as well as Indonesia’s best electronic DJs and artistes who perform in spaces that boast one-of-a-kind décor, complete with impeccable sound n lighting production.
EDM junkies from around the world have been traveling to Jakarta to celebrate this festival each year like flies to light. You can only expect #DWP14 to even bigger and better this year.
For more information, visit D.W.P.
Java Jazz Festival
Scheduled festival date: 28 February – 2 March
Notable acts for 2014: India Arie, Natalie Cole, Jamie Cullum
Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival (JJF) has established itself as one of the largest annual jazz festivals in the world since its launch in 2005. Through it’s motto “Bringing the World to Indonesia”, not only does the festival treat attendees to the sounds of jazz performed by renowned international acts, it also provides Indonesia’s jazz musicians an opportunity to showcase how they masterfully meld jazz improvisations with traditional Indonesian music.
In addition to the jazz genre, JJF also showcases spin-off genres such as the ‘jazz ‘n beyond’ form presented by DJs. Because of this, JJF’s performances attract audience from a wide range of age groups including teenagers who would typically be quick to call jazz old fashioned.
For more information, visit JJF.
Image via Dwiki
Scheduled festival date: TBC
Previous notable acts: The Charlatans, Santigold, The Klaxons, Azelia Banks
Founded in 2008 and widely considered to be Hong Kong’s marquee music event of the year, Clockenflap is an annual music and multimedia arts festival which incorporates international, regional and local live music, film, art installations, digital arts, children’s entertainment and animation.
Inspired by international festivals such as Glastonbury, Fuji Rock and South by Southwest, the festival has managed to strike a fine balance between showcasing some of the world’s most established acts, while putting a strong spotlight on the region’s finest up-and-coming musicians. The festival draws a diverse range of the population and provides a fun atmosphere for all ages. For music lovers, Clockenflap is a place to discover brand new talents and catch big names who would have otherwise never played in the city before.
For more information, visit Clockenflap.
Image via Timeout HK
Scheduled festival date: TBC
Previous notable acts: Pharell Williams, Steve Aoki, Grandmaster Flash, Ed Banger Records
Despite being Hong Kong’s new kid on the blohk, this festival looks set to be a mainstay on the region’s festival calendar – it is on ours, at least.
Inspired by the well-known block parties of New York City, Blohk Party is a stylish explosion of music and culture, showcasing offstage festival fun and live performances from local and international acts against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s breathtaking city skyline. Last year‘s line-up was curated by Pharrell Williams, so we have great expectations this year.
For more information, visit Blohk Party.
Fuji Rock Festival
Scheduled festival date: 25-27 July
Previous notable acts: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, Eminem, Coldplay
Fuji Rock Festival is an annual music festival in Naeba Ski Resort. The 3-day event, features more than 200 Japanese and international musicians, making it the largest outdoor music event in Japan.
Experience walking through scenic forests and sparkling streams as you travel between the seven main stages and minor stages scattered throughout the site. Also not to be missed is the Dragondola – the longest gondola lift in the world, which carries festival goers up to the top of the mountain overlooking the festival site.
The hub of the site is called Oasis where more than 30 food stalls from around the world gather. The main site closes each night after the final act, but Oasis continues to stay open until late at night, as well as the Red Marquee where an all-night rave continues until 5am.
For more information, visit Fujirockers.
Image via Danny Clifford
Sonic Mania & Summer Sonic
Scheduled festival date: 16-17 August
Notable acts for 2014: Arctic Monkeys, Avenge Sevenfold, Phoenix
Sonic Mania, is an indoor all night musical feast of live acts and DJ sets scheduled a night before Summer Sonic, a two day energetic and vibrant festival of the best Japanese and international rock, pop and indie acts held at the same time in Osaka and Chiba. A majority of the bands playing in Osaka the first day go to Chiba the following day, and vice-versa.
Located a half-hour train ride from Tokyo Station, Fuji Rock’s urban rival makes up in convenience for what it lacks in atmosphere. Summer Sonic boasts an extensive and variety filled options for all your senses. You’ll be spoiled for choice with the never-ending food options located within the premises. Whether you’re looking to recover your body from the sweltering heat at the massage parlor, indulge your inner child with some face painting or simply chilling out to enjoy the numerous sideshows, there’s always something unique to experience at the festival.
Image via Live Nation
Ultra Music Festival
Scheduled festival date: 13-14 June
Previous notable acts: Armin Van Buuren, Avicii, Tiesto, Skrillex
Ultra Music Festival is a two day event where a selection of the world’s top DJs and Live Acts come together to create a music blast. The Ultra Music Festival originates from Miami (1991) but it wasn’t until 2012 did South Korea become one of the main hosting cities of the event. The Festival prides itself on its cutting-edge productions and has racked up a reputation for presenting the world’s biggest, most diverse EDM line-ups year after year.
Hosted at the Olympic Stadium in Seoul, the venue is spectacular, with over tens of thousands of people gathering to groove out to the assortment of heavy-hitting electronic dance beats. Members of the crowd are known to come in various states of dress and undress – some are decked in costumes, others go shirtless. Partygoers dance nonstop and only pause to grab a beer or energy drink from one of the many stalls lining the field. These are just some sure signs of a great party.
For more information, visit Ultra Korea.
Image via Inspired Steps