Calendar: Ubud Food Festival & More

Fridge magnet fodder for the peripatetic.

Southeast Asia’s biggest celebration of world music, wellness and global community will kick off on April 2 with thousands of free-spirited folk converging in Ubud to take part in inspiring yoga and meditation classes, community marketplaces, kids activity zones and nightly live concerts under the stars. This year, the festival will feature over 200 workshops and seminars on everything from acro yoga to capoeira, crystal sound healing, clarity breathwork and activism. Tickets are available for the whole week, the weekend or just one day with special passes on offer for the Spirit Shuttle Bus and Breath of Bliss micro-festival. Be sure not to miss the high-vibe music and dance extravaganza at the closing ceremony on April 8.

Back for its fourth edition, the Ubud Food Festival will be cooking up fresh tastes and fresh ideas for culinary connoisseurs and curious eaters alike from April 13 to April 15 in various venues across Ubud. The theme this year is ‘Generasi Inovasi’, and it celebrates innovation across the entire spectrum of Indonesia’s food industry. Guests will include trailblazers and trendsetters who are finding new ways to protect food biodiversity, elevate Indonesian ingredients and recipes, and shine the spotlight on traditional and contemporary Indonesian dishes. The three-day festival program will include all sorts of gustatory events including cooking demos, panel discussions, hands-on workshops, a night market, film screenings and more.

About this time last year, Tom Hickman went from smoking about 20 cigarettes a day and drinking far too many gin and tonics to preparing to run Bali’s first ultramarathon. The Ubud-based expat wanted to clean up his act and do something more fulfilling with his life, so he teamed up with Classroom of Hope to create Bali Hope Ultra, an 84-kilometre ultramarathon starting in Tedjakula, North Bali and finishing in Canggu. Tom completed the journey on August 27, raising $10,000 to put seven Balinese children through primary school. Starting on May 24, Tom and a team of seasoned runners from around the globe will run the second Bali Hope Ultra in an effort to raise enough money to put 100 Balinese children through school.

For Buddhists in Indonesia, May 29 is a day to celebrate the life, death and enlightenment of the Buddha. Although there will be celebrations taking place all over the country, the best place to join in the festivities is at Borobudur in Java. On the morning of Waisak, thousands of monks and laypeople will gather at this ancient temple to honour the Buddha and his teachings with offerings of flowers, mantras and meditation sessions. Come nightfall, the monks will lead a candlelit walk under the full moon to a designated spot where pilgrims will release 1,000 paper lanterns as a symbol of enlightenment.


March 22 to March 30 – SA Eco Film Festival (Cape Town): The SA Eco Film Festival returns to Cape Town for its fifth year with a solid line-up of captivating, challenging and creative documentary films that encourage viewers to think about how we are connected not just to each other, but also to every level within the ecosystem. Past films in the Eco Film Festival have explored topics such as population growth and control, preservation of heritage seeds, climate change and mass migration. The selection for 2018 is set to be just as thought provoking with world-class films covering crucial contemporary issues that affect us all.

March 23 to March 24 – Cape Town International Jazz Festival: Now in its 19th year, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is the biggest music event in sub-Saharan Africa, and renowned for hosting a slew of stars from around the globe. The line-up this year includes over 40 musicians playing on five stages including crooners, wailers and strummers such as Louis Moholo, Incognito, Manny Walters, Amanda Black and Miles Mosley to name just a few. There will also be unique festival events including the Golf with a Cause day, the Fashion and All That Jazz Gala Dinner, and the Duotone Photographic Exhibition with the theme of ‘Jazz in Motion’.


April 30 to May 6 – International Viking Market (Ribe): History buffs and fans of the wildly popular Vikings TV series won’t want to miss the annual International Viking Market in Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town. Here over 500 warriors, craftspeople and townsfolk will gather along the banks of the Ribe River just like they did over 1,300 years ago. Breathe in the scent of wood smoke and horses as you peruse the stalls where artisans craft helmets and drinking horns, cooks concoct hearty stews, musicians play medieval tunes, and warriors battle in the fields and compete in Icelandic horse races.

May 30 to June 3 – Distortion (Copenhagen): For five days every spring, Distortion transforms the streets of Copenhagen into one of the biggest parties on the continent with over 100,000 revellers celebrating music, art and club culture. The atmosphere has been described as ‘organized chaos’ with open-air stages for all genres of music, pop-up restaurants and bars, and eye-popping art installations. The parties continue well after dark with underground club events, and the whole thing culminates with a massive two-day rave at the Copenhagen Harbour. This will be Distortion’s 20th anniversary, so expect things to be even more lit than usual.


March 1 to March 31 – Hong Kong Arts Month: It’s pretty rare to find a city that devotes an entire month to the arts, but that’s just how Hong Kong rolls. Throughout March there will be hundreds of artistic happenings taking place at venues across the city including operas, ballets, plays, film screenings, art installations and exhibitions. Art festivals and fairs not to miss include the prestigious Art Basel Hong Kong, the Asia Contemporary Art Show, and the HKwalls Street Art Festival. One thing is for sure—no matter where you turn in the city this March, there will be something to pique the senses and sensibilities.

April 6 to April 8 – Hong Kong Rugby Sevens: The first Hong Kong Sevens took place in 1976 with just 12 rugby teams and 3,000 people in attendance. Since then, it has grown into one of most anticipated sporting events in Asia with 28 elite rugby teams battling it out in front of 120,000 spectators in an effort to win the world’s biggest rugby purse. Held over three days in April, this all-out rugby extravaganza is an event not to be missed with fast and furious games taking place on the Hong Kong Stadium paddock and fans reaching a fever pitch amid the carnival-like atmosphere in the stands.