“Gathering your friends, making bookings, etc are all obstacles for those looking to attend events outside of their home country. We wanted to bridge that by creating these packages and making it easier and quicker for our customers to access these events.”
The festival market in Asia has recently seen growth and gradually becoming holiday destinations and weekend affairs to many music lovers. With festival organisers going all out to impress festival-goers; from serving Michelin-star meals, organic and sustainable products, art installations, outlandish stage set ups to day-time programmes for children and adults on the festival grounds, it is obvious that there’s also a huge need in providing customised logistics esspecially to these festivals. Even more so, if it is organised in remote and obscure destinations.
In celebration of Gig Life Asia’s very first festival package at Wonderfruit, we spoke to Priya Dewan, founder of Gig Life Asia and Feedback Asia, on her journey through setting up her own festival-focus travel company; the trends and challenges in the festival market; why Gig Life Asia’s service is providing the ultimate travel convenience; and who to look out for at Wonderfruit.
What started as a hobby is now being transformed into a business. It was clear from the beginning that Dewan’s experience and passion in attending music festivals has surpassed many of us who’d choose [occasionally on a whim] to flee to a foreign country either on our own or with friends for a festival and line-up that are completely foreign to us. Gig Life Asia fills two important ‘needs’: to provide information about parties, restaurants and hotels surrounding the event; and secondly, to provide booking services that directly transforms an interest into a reality especially when it involves travelling to a different country.
Why did you choose to launch Gig Life Asia at Wonderfruit?
I had the idea of packages in the middle of last year, looked at the calendar of events for the rest of the year and Wonderfruit immediately jumped out at me. It’s culture of sustainability that resonates through the activations and the site design, as well as it’s location in Pattaya meant that people should be aware of this festival and want to go and that it’s not the most straightforward place to go. We worked with the promoters of Wonderfruit to create these all-inclusive packages from Singapore as that is where they were getting the most attendees and interest.
The Festival Market: Asia vs USA/Europe
The Asian festival market appears to be growing at a rapid rate with more festivals, more A-list artists coming through and more unique and exotic locations. USA and Europe have the advantage of the head start, with a lot of those festivals established over a decade old and providing a reliably good line-up and experience. Europe summer festivals have expanded into exotic locations like Serbia and Croatia and offer attendees great holidays that surround the event experience. Asia is primed to provide a similar event holiday atmosphere. There are also fewer events across the region, though some still getting their bearings and building their way to offering a world class festival experience. I definitely think that there is still a lot of room to grow and a lot more exciting offerings due to come out of the region.
Name a festival in Asia that you’ve been to recently that have stood the test of time and curate an amazing and all-rounded experience.
I visited Fuji Rock Festival in Japan last year for their 20th anniversary festival and was beyond impressed. As they were celebrating a momentous anniversary, the line-up was particularly impressive, bringing back a range of incredible artists who have appeared at previous events from The Red Hot Chili Peppers and James Blake. The landscape was stunning and pristine offering beautifully scenic connections between stages, such as the Dragonzolla gondola that flies you over the entire site to reach one of the stages.
Clockenflap Festival in Hong Kong is another relatively long-standing festival at the moment. Set in the heart of Hong Kong it offers a different, but equally stunning, backdrop of the downtown Hong Kong skyline. The festival varies it’s offerings, being child friendly, catering for music lovers interested in a variety of genres, and inviting chefs and artists to showcase their work on site.
What is trending in the Asian festival market right now?
I think sustainability is going to be a big trend in the festival market all over Asia. I think we’ll also see more diversity in the genres of artists performing to meet market needs and more regional acts on bills as we become more interested in the music from across the region.
Does performing live at a festival launches an artist’s career?
Watching a good live performance makes a strong impact on people, far more than hearing some tracks at your friend’s house or at a club. Festivals like Laneway Festival in Singapore provide a great platform for artists who are rising in popularity in the West to perform to an Asian audience who may not be familiar and allow them to organically grow their fanbase here.
Who are you looking forward to performing at Wonderfruit?
I’m especially looking forward to checking out Lianne La Havas and JUNUN feat. Shye Ben Tzur and The Rajasthan Express.
About Priya Dewan
Dewan, born in the Philippines and raised in Singapore, has served as North American Label Manager for UK-based label Warp Records, working with artists Grizzly Bear, Broadcast, Battles, Flying Lotus, !!!, Aphex Twin and many others. She has also been featured as Billboard Magazine’s, “Top 30 Movers and Shakers Under 30” and quoted in The New York Times, Billboard, The Boston Globe, et al.
She has since moved back to Asia to produce more proactive approach to how artists of all genres from all over the world can promote their music and find live opportunities within the Asian markets. Please click here for more info on GigLifeAsia and Feedback Asia.