The Coachellas of Asia . . .
Today marks the summer solstice and for many people, the beginning of the summer festival season. Not to leave all the fun in the West, Asia is seeing its own music festival scene surge as countries across the region host festivals likened to Coachella (U.S.) or Glastonbury (U.K.). Boasting lineups featuring established regional artists like Bottlesmoker (an indie band from Indonesia) to Western pop favourites like The Chainsmokers, Sia, The Cure, and Janelle Monáe, these festivals are attracting thousands of local and foreign participants, as well as businesses looking to grab a slice of the festival pie.
Governments not feeling the beat . . .
Government officials in parts of Asia are not taking much of a shine to these events. While many have been excited for boosts in tourism and investment dollars, others have become concerned about allegations of increased drug usage and other illicit behaviour. There are reports of festivals having their licences revoked at the last minute and of negative characterizations of music festival-goers and festival promotion companies. Certain Asian governments are also concerned by the congregation of large groups of people and by the development of youth subcultures, particularly the threat of these becoming ground zero for popular uprisings.
Let the music play . . .
Adding to the woes of the Asia music festival scene is the recently-flopped ‘Full Moon Party’ on Hong Kong’s Shek O beach. Originally marketed as a luxury beach festival, participants paid a generous fee for what turned out to be a small barbecue with small portable speakers on a plastic table, reminiscent of the now Netflix-documented Fyre Festival fiasco in the U.S. in 2017. Still, the number of Asian music festivals continues to grow, a clear response to rising demand by music lovers across the region.
- Japan Times: Japan's summer festivals plan for a final party before Olympic fever hits
- South China Morning Post: Music festivals Asia 2019
- South China Morning Post: Second Hong Kong full-moon party apparently cancelled