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Music

The best Asia spring and summer music festivals – 14 events that you should not miss

Lorde, Lauryn Hill, Beck, Nine Inch Nails, Alt-J and Kendrick Lamar are among the big names and a host of up and coming acts and unannounced artists performing at festivals in Asia this spring and summer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 February, 2018, 1:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 March, 2018, 7:06pm

With the weather warming up, Asian music lovers are starting to emerge from their winter cocoons and are planning their festival adventures throughout the region during spring and summer.

And what a selection they have to choose from – from jazz in Singapore and electronic music on the Great Wall to indie rock in the mountains of Japan and a Clockenflap clone in Jakarta.

Here are the best music festivals being staged in Asia during spring and summer.

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ISY Music Festival

Electronic music festivals are mushrooming throughout China and the first big one of 2018 is in March on the Hainan beach resort of Sanya. And the ISY Music Festival has gone big for its inaugural edition, packing its line-up with EDM heavyweights including Martin Garrix, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Hardwell and Tiesto.

Mar 2-3, Four Seasons Hotel, Sanya, Hainan province

Dropzone Festival

Dropzone is another new kid on the Asian festival block and will be packing the ravers into the Wonderworld Extreme Park fun park in Bangkok’s Khan Na Yao District. As with ISY, it’s kicking off with a line-up full of A-list EDM artists such as Paul Van Dyk and Kaskade, plus more underground acts including Sven Väth and Marco Carola.

Mar 2-3, Wonderworld Extreme Park, Bangkok, Thailand

Sónar Hong Kong

The groundbreaking Barcelona-born electronic music festival returns for its second instalment in Hong Kong with a suitably diverse line-up of live acts (Mouse on the Keys, Mount Kimbie), left field outfits (Squarepusher, Floating Points) and big DJs (Laurent Garnier, The Black Madonna). Add the Sónar+D programme for creativity and technology featuring workshops and keynote talks and you have one essential festival.

Mar 17, Hong Kong Science Park, Pak Shek Kok, New Territories, Hong Kong

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Transmission

After making its debut last year, the Bangkok edition of the global trance music festival Transmission returns to the Thai capital next month. Last year the festival attracted punters from more than 60 countries and is hoping to attract even more this year with a star-studded line-up of trance giants including Ferry Corsten, Markus Schulz and Aly & Fila.

Mar 17, Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre, Bangkok, Thailand

Singapore International Jazz Festival

Now in its fifth year, the Singapore International Jazz Festival is promising its biggest edition yet in 2018. The main artists announced so far include Lauryn Hill and Jamie Cullum, with more to be announced. Considering that previous guests in the past have included the likes of Natalie Cole, Esperanza Spalding and the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, expect the addition of more A-list acts.

Apr 6-8, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Creamfields

The long-standing British dance music festival arrived in Asia last year, with editions in Hong Kong and Taipei. It’s not only making a return to both cities in 2018, but also making its debut in no less than five cities across mainland China. Headliners at all Creamfields 2018 editions will be EDM giants such as Axwell & Ingrosso, DJ Snake, Danny Avila and Aly & Fila.

April 6-7, Guangzhou; Apr (TBC), Chengdu; May (TBC), Beijing; Sep 15-16, Taipei; Dec 15-16, Hong Kong; Dec (TBA), Shanghai; Dec (TBA), Xiamen

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Electric Daisy Carnival

The infamous EDM festival from Las Vegas made its Asia debut in Japan last year and is now returning to the region in 2018 with a second event in Japan and a debut event in China. The China line-up has yet to be announced, but it’s likely to feature many artists from this year’s EDC Japan such as Deadmau5, Steve Aoki and Diplo.

EDC China, April 29-30, Shanghai International Music Park, Shanghai; EDC Japan, May 12-13, Zozo Marine Stadium & Makuhari Beach Park, Chiba, Japan

Great Wall Festival

Amid all the commercial EDM events, the Great Wall Festival stands out with its well curated line-up featuring some of the biggest artists from the underground side of the electronic music world. It’s hard to beat the location, and for 2018 it’s attracted some heavy hitting artists in the form of Nina Kraviz, Dixon, Recondite and Carl Craig.

May 19-20, Badaling Great Wall, Beijing

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Ultra Music Festival

The gigantic Miami dance music festival is now well established in Asia, and is returning to the region in 2018 with events in no less than five cities. Line-ups for the events in Seoul, Singapore, Bali, Shanghai and Tokyo have yet to be announced, but expect A-list artists to match previous headliners Hardwell, The Chainsmokers, Steve Angello and Carl Cox.

June 8-10, Seoul, South Korea; September TBC, Singapore; September TBC, Bali, Indonesia; September TBC, Shanghai; Sep 15-17, Tokyo, Japan

Valley Rock Festival

This large-scale South Korean event is in many ways a sister festival to Japan’s massive Fuji Rock, as the two share many of the same A-list international artists. It attracts more than 100,000 punters to a theme park in Ansan outside Seoul for three days of high-octane festival action. Exact dates and headliners have yet to be announced, but expect a healthy selection of Fuji Rock acts.

July TBC, Daebu Sea Breeze Theme Park, Ansan, South Korea

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We The Fest

Since being launched in 2014, We The Fest has evolved into one of Indonesia’s favourite summer pop, rock and indie music festivals. It’s probably the closest thing to Clockenflap outside Hong Kong – with its focus on art and food, as well as music – and this year is presenting another massive line-up spread over a full three days, including Lorde, Alt-J and Moon Boots.

July 20-22, International Expo Kemayoran, Jakarta, Indonesia

Fuji Rock Festival

Fuji Rock remains the festival against which all others are judged in Asia – with crowds of more than 120,000 making their way into the mountains of Japan in July every year. As well as attracting the biggest crowds in Asia, Fuji also presents the biggest names – this year, punters will have to choose between the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Skrillex, Chvrches and MGMT.

July 27-29, Naeba Ski Resort, Japan

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Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival

Pentaport has been one of South Korea’s top music festivals for more than a decade and is held over three days in a scenic park just outside Seoul. The line-up is usually dominated by indie, rock, dance and metal acts, and while this year’s headliners haven’t been announced, in previous years Pentaport has featured the likes of Justice, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and Korn.

Late July, Incheon Dreampark, Incheon, South Korea

Summer Sonic

In many ways the urban equivalent to Fuji, Japan’s Summer Sonic has become one of Asia’s most famous festivals since emerging in 2000 and is spread over two separate locations, Tokyo and Osaka. The line-up – which this year includes massive names such as Beck, Nine Inch Nails, Chance the Rapper and Queens of the Stone Age – performs in both cities over two days.

Aug 18-19, Tokyo and Osaka, Japan