The indelible high that is the music festival season has most definitely begun, and we are sitting at the apex of it all. First came Glastonbury 2023 where many first-rumoured-turned-surprise turnouts became celebratory moments for enthusiasts from every corner of culture; see Tilda Swinton’s poetic spoken word readings for Max Richter’s The Blue Notebooks or Cate Blanchett’s elusive dance routine to Sparks’s ‘The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte’. Whilst some other festivals—such as the contentious affairs of a certain Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur—may have also seen it emblazoned all over the headlines, for better or for worse.
In the weeks ahead, there is much to anticipate, especially when many of these festivals abroad have begun to showcase a bevy of artists from all over the world. One only needs to look towards one of August’s most hotly-awaited highlights: Lollapalooza 2023. Beyond the sheer pull of Grammy-winners Billie Eilish and Kendrick Lamar, its headliners package includes Columbian superstar Karol G as well as K-pop quintet Tomorrow x Together. On the Asian front alone, the Chicago music fest has broadened its horizons—calling the likes of NewJeans, Rina Sawayama, and NIKI into the mix.
In the case of those happening closer to home, think swiftly-approaching Summer Sonic in Japan—coming in hot on the heels of Fuji Rock 2023—where Fall Out Boy, Two Door Cinema Club and Lauv will be joining the country’s popular Japanese acts in claiming the heated stage. Or the Head In The Clouds spin-off bash in Jakarta: 88 Degrees & Rising that welcomes XG, Milli and Rich Brian all for the same sweltering crowd.
As the latter half of 2023 sets in motion a stirring mix of festivals across the globe, it seems the melomaniac in town will have their work cut out for them in securing tickets to see their favourite performers in action. But be it a must-watch moment or a potential trip for the casual weekender in you, we hope this judicious list of destination music festivals to look forward to might just come in handy to the festival-goer within. May there only be good vibes and solid tunes all around.
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In just under a day, one of the biggest summer festivals will kick off: Lollapalooza 2023. Over the four-day course, Grant Park in Chicago will see the crowds swarm in to witness some of our decade’s best: with headliners Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, Karol G, electronic duo Odesza, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Lana Del Ray and Tomorrow x Together leading the charge. Since the fiery events of j-hope’s festival takedown last year, it seems the Lollapalooza stage is welcoming even more Asian acts to their stage, with the likes of new generation K-pop group NewJeans making their first live US appearance amidst Rina Sawayama, South Korean band The Rose, NIKI, DPR Ian and DPR Live who have all been added into the mix.
Lollapalooza 2023 will take over Grant Park in Chicago from 3 to 6 August.
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Head in the Clouds Music & Arts Festival
88rising has been changing the game for Asian acts around the world and its now-signature Head in the Clouds Music & Arts Festival has run the gamut from all the way in New York and Los Angeles to popular Southeast Asian festival hotspots Jakarta and Manila. Whilst its biggest bang is expected to hit The Rose Bowl in Los Angeles towards the tail end of this week, it seems a good part of the fun is set to unravel in Guangzhou, China this September. Whilst the line-up for Guangzhou’s fest has yet to be announced, it seems one can expect a chime in of 88rising’s best acts—who are all also slated for the LA stage this week: from Jackson Wang and the DPR duo to NIKI, the girls of XG and Rich Brian.
Head in the Clouds Los Angeles will play out at The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California from 4 to 5 August. Its Guangzhou edition will be held from 23 to 24 September.
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Summer Sonic 2023
The temperatures are rising in these parts of town and that only means time for one thing: Japan’s cosmic summer blowout aka Summer Sonic. Held over two days in two of its most recognisable cities—Tokyo and Osaka—Summer Sonic has long held its status for bringing in a myriad of diverse acts and this year’s proves to be no different. Amidst top local acts such as Yoasobi, Sewai No Owari, imase and Zutomayo, the sonic fest will also see South Korean acts such as Enhypen, Taeyang, NewJeans, Treasure and Loren all fill the timeslots. Amidst the populated line-up, one can also expect rock legends Evanescence, indie duo Wet Leg, Two Door Cinema Club and jazz pop quintet Sunset Rollercoaster to turn up the heat.
Summer Sonic 2023 will be held at Maishima Sonic Park in Osaka and Zozomarine Stadium & Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on 19 and 20 August.
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88 Degrees & Rising
Poised like a spin-off from its iconic Head In The Clouds, 88rising now presents 88 Degrees & Rising in Jakarta—a single day festival experience for a joyous mix of regional and international talent. Jakarta’s very own homegrown standouts such as NIKI and Rich Brian will be joined by other recognisable local names such as Stephanie Poetri and Warren Hue. Thai rapper Milli, XG and Japanese girl group Atarashii Gakko! can also be expected to make an appearance at the September bash.
88 Degrees & Rising will be held at JIEXPO in Jakarta on 9 September.
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Riot Fest 2023
For a bonafide rock-out, head back to Chicago come September. The full-weekend affair of Riot Fest 2023 will welcome Foo Fighters, The Cure, Death Cab For Cutie, Queens of the Stone Age, The Postal Service, Turnstile and The Mars Volta as its stage headliners—which essentially make for the ultimate clash of the titans in the rock and punk universe. Marking the 20th anniversary of The Postal Service’s only album, frontman Ben Gibbard will simply play on into the night as Death Cab for Cutie is all set to bang it out on their ‘03 wonder: Transatlanticism.
Riot Fest will play out at Douglass Park in Chicago from 15 to 17 September.
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Life is Beautiful Las Vegas
If you’re already taking a trip to the US, why not hit Vegas too? For when the line-up is as good as it looks at the Life Is Beautiful festival, then surely the added flight down will be well worth the time. And its headliners—The Killers, Odesza and Kendrick Lamar—are but the tip of the iceberg. On its first day, expect to be met with the sunshine pop sound of Dayglow, Grammy-nominated Raye and The Wombats. Whilst Saturday welcomes the everlasting package of The 1975, Cigarettes After Sex and Purple Disco Machine, you can rely on Sunday to take it all away with the likes of Khalid, Kim Petras, Rina Sawayama and Claptone all on the roster.
Life is Beautiful is set to play at Downtown Las Vegas, NV from 22 to 24 September.