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Music

Eight music festivals in Southeast Asia to look forward to this autumn, from Urbanscapes to Neon Lights

Music fans have plenty to look forward to between now and the end of the year, with acts like The Weeknd, Paul Van Dyk, Interpol and The Vaccines just some of the headliners at festivals across the region

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 8:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 8:00am

Summer may be the peak season for music festivals in colder countries, but festival-goers in Southeast Asia have the luxury of partying outdoors much later in the year thanks to favourable weather.

In addition, the fact they are off-season means flights and accommodation are much more affordable than during summer.

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Here are the best music festivals taking place throughout Southeast Asia later this year.

1. It’s The Ship, Singapore/Thailand

For those whose constitutions can withstand four days at sea aboard a 24-hour party boat, cruise ship event It’s The Ship is not to be missed. The line-up is distinctly club-oriented, with electronic dance artists Cash Cash, Paul Van Dyk, Showtek and Cosmic Gate heading a bill that also features comedy London rap sensation Big Shaq and the Sandstorm legend himself, Darude.

November 4-7, departing Marina Bay Cruise Centre, Singapore, and sailing to Phuket, Thailand, from US$498

2. Urbanscapes, Malaysia

Malaysian music and arts celebration Urbanscapes returns in November for its 16th year. With a format similar to Texas’ South by Southwest (SXSW), Urbanscapes takes place over three weekends and at multiple venues throughout Kuala Lumpur. Khalid and Wolf Alice are the biggest names to perform, alongside an extensive programme of arts and design exhibitions.

Nov 3-18, Kuala Lumpur, from US$48.

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3. ZoukOut, Singapore

Singapore’s Siloso Beach will play host to 30,000 music lovers this December when “Asia’s largest dusk to dawn dance music festival” ZoukOut sets up camp. In its 18th edition, the annual beach party will take revellers from sunset to sunrise to sounds spun by some of the world’s best known DJs. Dance favourites Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Swedish electro duo Galantis, and house masters W&W will get the crowd pulsing – and they are only the first announced acts.

Dec 1, Siloso Beach, Sentosa, Singapore, from US$108

4. Hodgepodge, Indonesia

For music lovers wanting to dodge the banging EDM of Djakarta (see below), Indonesia’s capital has an earlier festival for those more into live music. British indie miscreants The Libertines will headline with their signature good-time set, supported by R&B singer-songwriter Gallant, pop-punkers All Time Love and rapper Lil Yachty. Look out for Day Wave, Cloud Nothings, Vancouver Sleep Clinic and Swim Deep, too.

Dec 1-2, Allianz Ecopark, Ancol, Jakarta, Indonesia, from US$41

5. Djakarta Warehouse Project, Indonesia

Asia’s largest electronic dance music festival is one of Indonesia’s best-known events for good reason. What started as a club event in 2008 has grown to encompass 90,000 attendees and the world’s biggest electronic acts performing over multiple indoor and outdoor stages.

An oceanside arena and the Bali beach setting lend an extra-chill ambience to the huge festival, which this year will stage pop megastar The Weeknd, plus Armin Van Buuren, DJ Snake, Major Lazer and Alesso.

Dec 7-9, Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, Bali, Indonesia, from US$102

6. Neon Lights, Singapore

If the Neon Lights line-up looks familiar, that is because it shares several acts with neighbouring festivals Clockenflap, in Hong Kong, and Malaysia’s Urbanscapes (that is how international touring acts make far-flung shows cost-effective).

Sharp-suited indie New Yorkers Interpol will be blessing Fort Canning Park with their presence along with Caribou, Shame, The Vaccines, Cigarettes After Sex, Phum Viphurit and Rhye.

Dec 9-11, Fort Gate, Fort Canning Park, Singapore, from US$72

7. Wonderfruit, Thailand

Experiencing mad Burning Man FOMO recently? Thailand’s long-running arts and music festival Wonderfruit offers a free-spirited experience often likened to the famed Nevada desert bash.

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Drum ‘n’ bass star Goldie and trip hop producer Nightmares on Wax are among the first wave of acts announced on a programme that also includes a series of art installations, talks, workshops, wellness classes, sustainably farmed food, and lots of family fun.

Dec 13-16, The Fields, Siam Country Club, Pattaya, Thailand, from US$119

8. Epizode, Vietnam

See out 2018 and ring in the new year with Vietnam’s Epizode festival. Set against a backdrop of palm trees, white beaches and ocean waves, the 11-day bash, on the island of Phu Quoc, offers an ideal getaway from the winter blues in colder climes.

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Again featuring a line-up heavy on A-list international DJ talent, performers include Russian DJ/producer Nina Kraviz, Chilean electronic icon Ricardo Villalobos and US tech-house DJ Seth Troxler.

Dec 28-Jan 8, Long Beach, Phu Quoc, Vietnam, from US$196