So much more than just a music festival, Wonderfruit combines seductive beats, surreal art, sustainable architecture, organic food, and innovative ideas to catalyse positive change. This year the eco-friendly festival will be held at The Fields at Siam Country Club, so expect coconut groves, tropical forests, pristine lakes and stunning mountain vistas. There will also be immersive experiences for all ages, gourmet bites by award-winning chefs, inspiring talks with progressive thought leaders, and a stellar lineup of artists including Stars and Rabbit, Bobby Pleasure, and Felix Dickinson. The festival kicks off on December 13th and runs until December 17th.
CHINESE LUNAR NEW YEAR
February 5th marks the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year and a time for huge celebrations across Asia. Chinese astrologers predict that the Year of the Pig will bring positive energy, stability, and abundance. And because the pig is the last zodiac animal in the 12-year cycle, this relatively carefree time is a good chance to reflect on previous years and prepare for the next cycle starting in 2020. For two weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, you can expect mad festivities like parades, parties, dragon dances, and fireworks displays in almost every major Asian city including Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok.
JAKARTA INTERNATIONAL JAVA JAZZ FESTIVAL
Now in its 15th edition, the Java Jazz Festival is all set to welcome thousands of jazz, soul, R&B, and funk musicians and fans at the Jakarta International Expo from March 1st to March 3rd. The first JFF took place in 2005 with 1,227 artists performing for more than 47,000 guests, and since then it has only gotten bigger and better each year. Today it is one of the largest jazz festivals in the world and arguably the biggest in the southern hemisphere. This year the lineup includes celebrated artists like the Cyrus Chestnut Trio, James Vickery, Moonchild, and The Suffers. And in true JFF fashion, there will be plenty of surprise performances in store.
Nyepi is the Balinese New Year and a unique experience unlike any other. On the eve before Nyepi, Balinese villagers around the island parade huge monstrous figures called ogoh-ogoh through the streets and make as much noise as possible in an effort to scare away evil spirits. Starting at 6am the following day, everyone must stay inside and refrain from making noise, working, cooking, and using lights for a full 24 hours so that the evil spirits will think the island is abandoned. No vehicles are allowed on the roads, and even the airport shuts down. Many use this time as an opportunity to meditate and reflect on the past year. The ‘Silent Day’ falls on March 7th this year.
IF YOU’RE IN COLOMBIA…
December 25 to December 30 — Feria de Cali: End 2018 with a bang at the Cali Fair, one of Colombia’s biggest and most vibrant celebrations. Starting on Christmas Day, the streets of Cali come to life with an explosion of colourful parades, mesmerising salsa performances, Afro-Caribbean concerts, street food smorgasbords and more. Each day there are different events and activities planned that celebrate Caleño history and culture. If you can only make it to one, aim for the closing day concert when some of Latin America’s best bands and professional dancers come out to play and get the crowds moving and grooving.
January 2 to January 7 — The Blacks and Whites’ Carnival (Pasto): It may sound politically incorrect to foreigners, but the Blacks and Whites’ Carnival in the south Colombian city of Pasto is actually a spectacular display of cultural diversity. In fact, UNESCO has designated it one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The spirited six-day carnival brings together thousands of people who don vibrant costumes and hit the streets to dance, sing, and throw water, foam and talcum powder on each other. On designated days, partygoers also slather themselves in black and white paint to signify equality regardless of skin colour.
IF YOU’RE IN VIETNAM…
December 28 to January 8 — Epizode (Phu Quoc Island): If big bass lines and funky beats are your jam, then Epizode is where you need to be to ring in the New Year. Set on the sugary white sands of Long Beach on Phu Quoc Island, this epic EDM festival runs for 11 days straight with non-stop drum n’ bass, hip hop, house, techno, trance and breakbeat rhythms on three oceanside stages. The lineup includes regional superstars as well as renowned international DJs including Goldie, MIIA, Mutantbreakz, and Black Sun Empire. You can also expect light and laser installations, fabulous food courts, and fun recreation zones.
February 19 — Perfume Pagoda Festival (Hanoi): Every year on the 15th day of the first lunar month, millions of pilgrims from all corners of Vietnam converge on the famous Perfume Pagoda to pay their respects to the Buddha and make wishes for the year ahead. The journey begins with a boat trip along the Yen River, passing mountains, rice paddies, and limestone caves along the way. The final destination is Huong Mountain, which is home to the Perfume Pagoda and the famous Huong Tich cave. Inside the cave pilgrims make offerings of food and incense to statues of deities, as well as various stalactites and stalagmites that are believe to have special powers.
IF YOU’RE IN GERMANY…
February 7 to February 17 — Berlin International Film Festival: Come February, Berlin will be rolling out the red carpet for over 20,000 film professionals, journalists, and movie buffs hailing from 130 countries. The Berlin International Film Festival, also known as Berlinale, is one of the largest film festivals in the world and it features over 400 films ranging in genres from arthouse productions to independent docs, children’s films, experimental shorts and classics. Unlike many other international film festivals, Berlinale is not strictly invite-only, so tickets for screenings are open to the general public at very reasonable prices.
February 28 to March 5 — Karneval (Cologne): The Germans sure know how to throw a good party, especially during Karneval, a countrywide celebration that marks the countdown to Lent. The biggest Karneval parties take place in Cologne where millions of people converge on the town squares and streets to drink, dance, and feast. Throughout the ‘crazy days’ festival, lively events take place all over the city and pubs and bars stay open around the clock. The climax of the festival is the Rose Monday parade, which features nearly 100 floats, plus bands and dance troupes who promenade down a seven-kilometre stretch and shower spectators with flowers and candy.