Everyone knows that Asia's big cities are home to some of the best party spots in the world, and it's not just the clubs that are booming: Asia is becoming increasingly notorious for its incredible music festivals, too. The spread of EDM parties like ZoukOut and Ultra is a testament to the growing appeal, and the skyrocketing attendance numbers have encouraged more organisers to get on the bandwagon.
From cultural festivals to arts celebrations to wellness-focused weekends, the variety and innovation of these events has created an incredible calendar of year-round festivities. When you're planning your 2017 travel adventures, don't forget to include at least a couple of these unique festivals.
Thailand: Wonderfruit (16-19 February)
This eco-conscious music festival might be a hippie-haven, but it still features big international names like Rudimental. In between listening to your favourite bands, enjoy yoga and meditation, free running and cycling, or take part in their arts initiatives. Focusing more on sustainable practices and supporting the local community, Wonderfruit feeds festival goers with homegrown farm foods and local businesses and promotes environmental awareness in all its activities. Plus, with boutique camping, this can be a luxurious festival experience with a lot of heart.
Hong Kong: Dragonland (24-26 February)
A new festival for 2017, Dragonland is bursting into Hong Kong's Central Harbourfront to bring Hong Kong its first pop and EDM festival. Friday night will feature a full-length concert from Leon Lai, one of the 'Heavenly Four' of Cantopop and Hong Kong celebrity. Saturday will host an evening of dance music, from artists like DJ Steve Aoki and Red Foo, while Sunday will host pop legends like the Black Eyed Peas, Iggy Azalea and Carly Rae Jepsen. It's an exciting turn for Hong Kong's music scene and promises to be a spectacular event.
India: Holi Moo (13 March)
The Hindu spring Holi festival is maybe the world biggest paint fight. Celebrated around the world, the festival of colour involves a lot of paint, a lot of laughter - and a lot of music if you choose to spend it at the Holi Moo Festival in New Delhi. The festival embraces the colourful tradition with food and arts, as well as showcasing some of India's biggest performers. With the promise of 40 acts over eight hours, there should be something for everyone - the lineup is still being announced, so watch this space.
Indonesia: Bali Spirit Fest (19-26 March)
Unlike other music festivals, this event won’t leave you feeling hungover or worn out. The Bali Spirit Festival is a wellness wonderland combining music and yoga for a relaxing and restorative experience, focusing on the Tri Hita Karan, a Balinese Hindu concept based around restoring balance. Harnessing Bali’s natural energy to promote good health and a sustainable lifestyle, the festival incorporates wellness activities, local craft fairs and cultural events into a week of musical performance.
Singapore: Sing Jazz (31 March - 2 April)
Music festivals don't always mean camping in mud, moshing to earsplitting music or dancing to electro until sunrise. Sing Jazz is a great opportunity for jazz fans and those who like a little more soul in their music to enjoy an eclectic mix of international acts from live performances to DJ sets. With tickets already on sale, and sensational artists like Corinne Bailey Rae and Basement Jaxx on the headliners list, you'll have to be quick to get into this one.
South Korea: Road to Ultra (June)
Ultra is taking over the world, one music festival at a time. Now with eight locations in South East Asia, including Hong Kong in 2016, you could spend the year following Ultra country to country. However, if you're going to choose just one, make it South Korea. First appearing in 2012, the festival has grown to a three-day event, and has had previous lineups including international artists like Avicii, Deadmaus, Nicky Romero, David Guetta, Snoop Dog and M.I.A. Already a renowned party city, Seoul has incredible energy that draws in the biggest names in music - we can't wait to see this year's lineup.
Malaysia: Rainforest World Music Festival (14-16 July)
Set in Borneo's jungle paradise, party beneath a canopy of nature in this unique music festival experience. Celebrating its' 20th anniversary this year, the festival has grown from 300 attendees to more than 20,000. With an interesting variety of day workshops including tree-planting, the festival tries to minimise its impact on the natural environment that hosts it. An eclectic mix of artists from around the globe - including South Africa, Cape Verde and Palestine - promises diverse entertainment in a unique setting.
Japan: FujiRock (28-30 July)
Set in the stunning mountainscape of Naeba Ski Resort, this rock festival has featured legendary headline acts from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sigur Ros to Stereophonics and Tom Odell. It's not just about the rock, though - the scenic campsites, ski chalet resort and the eco-friendly endeavours of this Japanese festival all add to a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Early bird tickets have just gone on sale, so start planning now.
China: YinYang Music Festival (TBC/September)
If you’ve had the Great Wall of China on your bucket list for a while, this is the event for you. The world wonder will host a three-day music festival, complete with camping and staying up 'til sunrise. Last year's headliners included Austrian techno duo HVOB and DJ Citizen Kain, along with plenty of local and Asian artists, providing a variety of the latest in EDM. Just north of Beijing, it’s easily accessible and an original way to experience this ancient landmark.
Vietnam: Quest Festival (TBC/November)
Think glittering body paint, crochet bikinis and pastel rainbows. This small arts and culture festival in the rural outskirts of Hanoi truly embraces the laidback hippie vibes that most larger festivals simply cannot achieve. A multi-genre lineup of smaller local and international artists stops big names drawing in overwhelming crowds, and lets you experience new music and fresh sounds. Based in So Tinh Camp, on the fringes of Vietnam's National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism and surrounded by stunning lakes, the camp avoids being part of the major tourist scene around Dong Mo while still having access to stunning historical and cultural sites.
Hong Kong: Clockenflap (TBC/November)
Since it's inception in 2008, Hong Kong's biggest music event has gone from strength to strength. From an audience of 1500 in Cyberport to an international crowd of 60,000 at Central Harbourfront, the evolution of Clockenflap has seen it become one of the most renowned in Asia. With more of a focus on indie pop and rock, last year saw a collection of alternate music heroes take to the stage, including The Chemical Brothers, Sigur Ros, The Sugar Hill Gang and controversial rapper M.I.A - we already can't wait to see what the lineup will be this year.
Singapore: ZoukOut (TBC/December)
No other music festival quite captures the same glamour as ZoukOut. Hosted on Sentosa Beach, this event has attracted an international audience since its inception in 2009, and has even expanded to different editions in Boracay and Hong Kong - however, nothing quite beats the party vibe of the original. We've barely said goodbye to the last edition, but we're already chomping at the bit for the beach party of the year. Watch out for more details throughout the year.
This article first appeared on hk.asiatatler.com