The 8 Biggest Music Festivals in Asia

Article by: Brandon Presser|@bpnomad

Wed June 25, 2014 | 00:00 AM

The continent that champions J-Pop and K-Pop is also a serious force when it comes to other letters in the alphabet too, like E, D and M. Massive music fests have cropped up over the last decade, earning Asia a serious reputation when it comes to nabbing both the biggest headliners in the world and crowd sizes soaring into the six-digit realm. From dance and trance to aboriginal beats, this hit list features only the cream of the crop in eight essential destinations.

Sunburn – India 

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Slap on the day glow and join the ultimate EDM gathering for locals in-the-know and beat-seeking backpackers. Sunburn is held at the end of December on Candolim beach in Goa, and encompasses a variety of live acts and quirky shopping outlets that lure over 50,000 people who to "live, love, dance" as the motto goes. The festival has become so popular in recent years, that other cities around India are replicating the magic in attempts to lure its laid-back jet set.

Java Jazz Festival – Indonesia 

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Considered to be the largest jazz festival in the Southern Hemisphere, Jakarta's biggest music gathering attracts some of the biggest acts in the world -- even pop stars like Toni Braxton and Jason Mraz have made cameo appearances. The three-day festival usually attracts around 50,000 over three days of live acts at the beginning of March.

Rainforest World Music Festival – Malaysia 

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Although it doesn't garner the massive numbers of some of the other major music festivals in Asia, Sarawak’s premiere concert gathering is sold out every year as world music fans unite to hear aboriginal beats from around the globe. Sarawak is Malaysia's indigenous heart of Borneo, so it’s fitting that the three days of song exchange are held at a designated cultural village near Mount Santubong.

Baybeats – Singapore 

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The aural equivalent to Singapore's mixed-bag culture, Baybeats welcomes all types of rhythms from folk and emo to post-rock and trance. Held along the city's Esplanade during the sweaty month of June, the festival is completely free to attendees, and fosters new talent by holding open auditions and mentorship programs for promising acts.

Big Mountain Music Festival – Thailand 

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Two hours outside of Bangkok at the Bonanza Khao Yai racetrack, Big Mountain is like a religious gathering for young Thais who come to check out over 400 acts hosted by Mr. Steak, the bovine mascot. With over 150,000 attendees the festival has quickly become one of the biggest music events in Southeast Asia.

Fuji Rock Festival – Japan 

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Held at the Naeba ski resort north of Tokyo, Japan’s headliner magnet attracts over 100,000 people each summer with acts like 2014's Arcade Fire and The Flaming Lips. Once feted at the base of Mount Fuji, the party's gotten so large that the hills are now alive in a sweeping area that accommodates both campers and more traditional ryokan-goers.

Ansan Valley Rock Festival – South Korea 

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Thrown in promotional conjunction with the Fuji Rock Festival, Ansan (originally called Jisan Rock) is located just outside of the capital of Seoul and competes with several other big-name music gatherings in Korea by offering up international stars like Vampire Weekend, Muse, Massive Attack, and Radiohead.

Midi Music Festival – China 

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Celebrated over China's Labor Day at the beginning of May, Midi has ballooned to such great heights that it's now being thrown at a large resort outside the capital. The event is named after the Beijing Midi School of Music, which opened in 1993 as the nation's first music school that focuses on rock, jazz, country and other modern themes.