Asia rocks! The best live music and festivals of 2012
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Asia rocks! The best live music and festivals of 2012

THE rise in disposable income across Asia in recent years has been attracting more and more Western acts to these shores. And this year Asia’s ecstatic fans are looking forward to everything from Elton John to Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry and the Backstreet Boys, plus an incredible line up of multi-day and multi-act events.


British band Radiohead will play Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand from July. Pic: AP.

An article in April on Travel Wire Asia outlined the reasons Western pop stars are criss-crossing the region. Most of it is down to supply and demand with economic troubles in the West leading to artists seeking other markets. That along with the increased demand and ease of access into Asia have prompted numerous shows.

From the Associated Press:

“We’re getting so many concerts nowadays, it’s hard to decide which ones to go for!” said Mindy Chew, an information technology consultant in Malaysia who snapped up $ 120 seats to watch Lady Gaga’s show in neighboring Singapore within 30 minutes after tickets went on sale.

“Some of these shows are like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m expecting lots of drama at Lady Gaga’s show, lots of costume changes,” said Chew, who has caught performances by Gwen Stefani and Michael Buble in recent years in Malaysia’s biggest city, Kuala Lumpur.

Here are some of the acts set to rock Asia this summer.


Lady Gaga. Pic: AP.

Lady Gaga, Born This Way Ball, May-June, across Asia

Lady Gaga will perform across Asia in May and June at concerts in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, Singapore, Manila, Bangkok, Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. For Gaga’s Little Monsters it’s a fantastic chance to see the incredible sets, costumes and show she puts on. However the raunchy singer hasn’t been so welcome in Indonesia. In latest news the Indonesian police have said they will not issue her a permit for her show in Jakarta and it will have to be cancelled.

Baybeats Music Festival, 29 June – 1 July, Singapore

Not only is Baybeats free and non-ticketed but it features a broad range of music and both local and international acts, guaranteeing there’s something for everyone. The 2012 theme for the event is Celebrating Life – The Best of the Human Spirit through the Arts.

Radiohead, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, July

English rock band Radiohead, now with almost legendary status having been around so long, will hit Taiwan (25), South Korea (27-29) and Japan (29) in late July for some of the most anticipated shows in Asia this year. The band then returns to Australasia in November to play in Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne – all these shows are already sold out.

Jisan Valley Rock Festival, Jisan, South Korea, 27-29 July

This annual event is one of the big ones in South Korea this year. It is held at the Jisan Valley Ski Resort and has a featured lineup this year of Radiohead, The Stone Roses, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, James Blake and many more.



Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, Australia, 27-29 July

The tickets might already be sold out but there’s good reason for this. Not only is Splendour the biggest Australian winter music event in the country but the location at Byron Bay is superb and the crowds while big at 30,000 are not overpowering. It makes for a superb three days of music and this year the lineup includes the Smashing Pumpkins, Spiderbait, Wolfmother and Missy Higgins.


Fuji Rock Festival. Pic: AP.

Fuji Rock Festival, Niigata, Japan, 29 July

Another huge event taking place in Japan this summer is the three day annual rock festival at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata. Organized by Smash Japan this is expected to draw 200 plus Japanese and international acts across numerous stages and 100,000 people. This year it will feature Elvis Costello, Django Django, Eddie Mac, The Stone Roses and Radiohead.

Summer Sonic Festival, Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, 18-19 August

It’s definitely all happening in Japan this year. Yet another multi-day event taking place this year is the Summer Sonic Festival. This two-day festival in August features Japanese rock musicians and a number of international acts with a stellar lineup this year including Rihanna, Green Day, Ke$ ha, Adam Lambert, Pitbull, Calvin Harris, Gym Class Heroes and Jamiroquai.

Katy Perry Teenage Dream tour, Singapore, 23 September

American songstress Katy Perry has been wowing audiences across Asia already this year with performances in Indonesia, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. Her next return to Asia will be Singapore on September 23.

Coldplay, Australia and New Zealand, November

Fans in Australia and New Zealand went wild this week when Cold Play announced they would be touring later this year in the downunder summer. Tickets will go on sale on May 25.


Elton John
, 17 November, Jakarta

Asian fans that have been patiently waiting for the famed British crooner since 2011 for his Greatest Hits tour, and will finally get to see the big man when he comes to Jakarta in November. John cancelled his show last year due to a hectic schedule.

Travel Wire Asia