Your definitive guide to 2017’s best music festivals in Asia, from Spring Scream to Clockenflap, ZoukOut and Sunburn

From a handful of events several years ago, the festival scene in Asia has grown to more than 20 this year – with Vietnam and Indonesia fast emerging as destinations for music-goers alongside established players

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 12:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 March, 2017, 11:51pm

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 ago there were only a handful of events, but this year there are more than 20 festivals worth seeking out.

Here’s the definitive guide to the best music festivals throughout Asia this year.

Spring Scream

Taiwan’s longest-running indie festival, founded in 1995, is returning to the island’s southern coast for another three days of rock and electronica performed by local and upcoming international acts.

April 1-3, Kenting, Taiwan

Paradise Island

Forget the full-moon parties – this new festival will bring the likes of US hip-hop act The Pharcyde, British drum ’n’ bass icon Goldie and Japanese turntablist DJ Kentaro to Koh Samui’s best-known beach.

April 8-9, Chaweng Noi Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

Equation

Vietnam is fast becoming one of Asia’s top music festival destinations, and this new electronic music event is shaping up as one to watch; the first instalment includes artists from Germany’s Giegling record label and a host of top regional DJs.

April 14-17, Dong Mo Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

Organik

Taiwan’s top techno festival has expanded to three days this year, and the event near the idyllic coastal town of Hualien will this year present influential figures such as DJ Nobu and Wata Igarashi from Japan, and Swedish DJ/producer Dorisburg.

April 28-30, Huting, Hualien, Taiwan

Electric Daisy Carnival

The infamous electronic dance music (EDM) festival arrives in Japan for the first time, and the line-up includes international DJ heavyweights such as Armin van Buuren, Fatboy Slim and Dubfire.

April 29-30, Zozo Marine Stadium and Makuhari Beach Park, Chiba, Japan

Ultra Singapore

The global EDM behemoth returns to the Lion City for another two days of ear-splitting beats and bass. The line-up has yet to be announced, but expect artists on the scale of Deadmau5 , Carl Cox and Above & Beyond.

June 10-11, Ultra Park, Bayfront Avenue, Singapore

Ultra Korea

South Korea played host to the first Asian edition of Ultra in 2012. This year’s Ultra Korea takes place on the same weekend as the event in Singapore, so expect the two festivals to host the same headlining artists on alternate days.

June 10-11, Olympic Stadium, Seoul, South Korea

Rainforest World Music Festival

Asia’s longest-running world music festival, founded in 1997, brings an eclectic line-up of bands and musicians from around the world to the forests of Malaysian Borneo. Come expecting renowned world musicians from all continents and indigenous musicians from Asia.

July 14-16, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Baybeats

Singapore’s original indie and alternative rock festival, launched in 2002, returns to Marina Bay for another three days of live music. This year’s headline acts include prominent Singapore and international acts, including Hong Kong electronic experimentalist Choi Sai-ho.

July 14-16, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay , Marina Bay, Singapore

Fuji Rock Festival

Asia’s biggest rock festival marked its 20th anniversary last year, and is returning with another world-class line-up including Bjork, LCD Soundsystem, The xx, Lorde, Major Lazer and Queens of the Stone Age.

July 28-30, Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata, Japan

Valley Rock Festival

The Valley Rock Festival has grown into one of South Korea’s biggest rock events since it was launched in 2009. It’s organised by many of the same people behind Fuji Rock, so expect many of the same international artists.

Dates TBC (likely late July), Incheon, South Korea

Pentaport

This event takes in a park in Incheon, offering three days of rock and electronica provided by local and international artists. This year’s line-up is scheduled to be announced soon, but will likely feature artists on the scale of last year’s headliners: Suede, Weezer and Panic! at the Disco.

Dates TBC (likely late July/early August), Songdo International Business District , Incheon, South Korea

Summer Sonic

The urban alternative to Fuji Rock, Summer Sonic is a three-day rock festival held at the same time in the cities of Osaka and Chiba. This year’s (slightly underwhelming) line-up features Calvin Harris, Kesha, Justice and Charli XCX.

August 19-20, Osaka, Chiba, Japan

Labyrinth

Labyrinth stands in contrast to commercial dance music events such as Ultra, and is known for its impeccably curated line-ups drawn from the electronic music underground as well as an obsession with top-quality sound systems. This year’s line-up and exact dates have yet to be announced.

September (dates TBC), Naeba, Niigata prefecture, September

Ultra Japan

The Japanese leg of the world’s largest EDM festival arrived in 2014, and has become the country’s largest annual dance music event. This year’s line-up hasn’t been announced yet, but will again feature A-list artists such as last year’s headliners Hardwell, Knife Party and Martin Garrix.

September 16-18, Tokyo Odaiba Ultra Park, Tokyo, Japan

Montreux Jazz Festival

The world’s top jazz festival first branched out to Japan in the 1990s, forging strong musical ties between Tokyo and the event’s home city in Switzerland. Again, the dates and line-up haven’t been announced, but expect jazz luminaries such as John McLaughlin alongside contemporary electronic musicians.

October (dates TBC), Yebisu Garden Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Electric Zoo

This New York-based festival made its debut in China last year, and a sold-out crowd was on hand to witness headline EDM artists Dada Life and Sander van Doorn. Organisers have promised to bring the event back to Expo Park in November. Keep an eye out for details.

November 12, Expo Park, Shanghai

Clockenflap

After successfully making the move across the harbour to Central last year, Hong Kong’s biggest annual music and arts festival is returning for its 10th-anniversary event. There’s no word yet on the main artists - but organisers tell us to expect something big.

November 17-19, Central Harbourfront, Hong Kong

Djakarta Warehouse Project

Last year, Djakarta Warehouse Project became Asia’s biggest electronic music festival, attracting 45,000 people each day. Hopefully this year’s line-up will be similar to last year’s, with underground names (Hot Since 82, Tiga) alongside commercial stars (DJ Snake, Zedd).

December (dates TBC), Jiexpo Kemayoran Convention Centre, Jakarta, Indonesia

ZoukOut

One of Asia’s best outdoor dance music festivals, ZoukOut has been held in Singapore since 2000, and has brought in huge international DJs playing everything from hip-hop to house music to drum ’n’ bass. It is usually held in the first half of December.

December (dates TBC), Sisolo Beach, Sentosa, Singapore

Sunburn

Founded in Goa in 2007, the large-scale Sunburn festivals have brought world-class DJs to various cities in India . By far India’s biggest dance music events, the next series of festivals is expected to start in Pune in December.

December (dates TBC), Pune, India