Southeast Asia is a prime backpacking and adventure destination. Why not top up an epic journey with a music festival? Be it on an island, in a tropical forest, on a lush mountain, on a pristine beach, or in a buzzing metropolis, the vibes, lineups and venues are epic. Check out our guide to the best music festival in Southeast Asia – don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes and bring on the happy vibes.
We The Fest
Born in 2014, We The Fest has become the pioneer on the southeast Asian music festival scene. By mixing the pleasures of art, music, fashion and food, it’s an essential event for festival lovers. In 2017 it took place over three days for the first time, with more than 50,000 participants. The lineup is usually jaw-dropping. Glorious names like The Kooks, Phoenix, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Temper Trap, Purity Ring, Hot Chip and Flight Facilities have played on its stage. The organization is smooth, the vibes are happy and it’s one of the best music festivals in Indonesia.
Sunny Side Up Tropical Fest
Put together by the same organizers of We The Fest and Ismaya Live, Sunny Side Up is what we call an epic tropical fest. Can you imagine a stage set up on the edge of an infinity pool overlooking the dreamy Balinese beach? Best thing is you can jump in the pool while listening to your favorite music. The two-day festival gathers international musicians and cutting-edge DJs from different backgrounds and genres. Pretty darn cool.
DJakarta Warehouse Project
Since 2014, DJakarta Warehouse Project has been the biggest EDM festival in Southeast Asia. When it was born, it wasn’t a festival, but a warehouse party organized by clubs in Jakarta. The event usually takes place in December. Past editions featured world-class DJs, including Carl Cox, Claptone, Cashmere Cat, Rudimental, Jamie Jones, What So Not, Flume, Robin Schulz and many others. Before going, make sure to pack your dancing shoes and get ready for a good stomp.
Ultra Music Festival
Born in Miami, Ultra Music Festival is now one of the biggest itinerant music festivals in the world. And it’s all about electronic techno beats. From Mexico, to Rio de Janeiro, through Croatia, South Africa, Australia, South Korea and many others, Ultra also arrives in Southeast Asia. Check out the dates in Singapore, Bangkok, Manila and Bali. Previous lineups included Carl Cox, David Guetta, Martin Solveig, Kölsch, and What So Not.
Coming from the Aussie neighbors, Laneway Festival arrived in Singapore in 2010 with an absolutely sick lineup, featuring Cut Copy, Foals, Gotye, Local Natives, Two Door Cinema Club, Violent Soho and Warpaint, among many others. That year, the festival co-founder, Danny Rogers said “When the idea of taking the festival to Singapore was first floated, I thought, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But Singapore is now our biggest show.” And it really is, the lineups are carefully curated and bring the best musicians bands from around the world. Such a special gem from Australia.
Good Vibes Festival
Imagine a festival at a ranch on the Malaysian highlands. Good Vibes Festival is definitely true to its name. The event summons A-list artists from all the corners of the planet and it’s a perfect nature gateway when in Kuala Lumpur. So, if you are backpacking or traveling around Southeast Asia around the month of July, make sure you check it out.
Big Mountain Music Festival
With the lead of Mr. Steak, their singular cow mascotte, BMMF in Thailand has now become one of the largest festivals in Southeast Asia. Also, thanks to the cool vibes and the lineup. The location, the “Big Mountain” (Khao Yai in Thai) is only a couple of hours from Bangkok. Another epic music gateway.
For those up for a two-day rave on an island, ZoukOut is the place to be. It happens every year on Santosa, in Singapore. Music, food, drinks, people (30,000!) and vibes are on point, ideal for an all-in legendary experience. ZoukOut is more than a festival, it’s a tribe. Previous lineups included DJ Afrojack, Ferry Corsten, Paul van Dyk, Masters at Work, Sven Väth, David Guetta and Carl Cox. Boom.
Another unmissable gem happening on a tropical island. If you are around Vietnam in late December/January, be sure to bring your happy feet to Phu Quoc Island and attend Epizode Festival over the New Year celebrations. Magical sunsets, pristine beaches and sick performances – check out what Ricardo Villalobos did at Epizode 2018.
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