Festivals Around Asia

Varekai by Cirque du Soleil
As the world’s most-celebrated circus and acrobat troupe, Cirque du Soleil’s productions are nothing if not extravagant. Touring Asia now is their show Varekai, which means “wherever” in Romany. First premiered in 2002, Varekai portrays the adventure of a fallen angel in a lush jungle. May is the last chance to catch the show in Seoul, South Korea, before it premieres in Manila in June.
Through May 29. Seoul, South Korea. Jun 22-Jul 10. Manila, Philippines.

Melbourne International Jazz Festival
A baby at just five years old, the Melbourne Jazz Festival nevertheless pulls in music lovers with its list of visiting jazz talents. This year you’ll get to experience shows by the Ron Carter Trio, Chris Botti, Sonny Rollins and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, among others.
Jun 4-13. Melbourne, Australia. www.melbournejazz.com
Bali Arts Festival
This month-long arts festival is the largest cultural event in Denpasar. Now in its 33rd year, the Bali Arts Festival is bringing together local art forms and artists from several villages on the island to showcase their folk performances, dances and music, as well as handicraft products and textiles. Showcases change daily so check the schedule prior to your visit.
Jun 12-Jul 10. Bali, Indonesia. www.baliartsfestival.com
Shanghai International Film Festival
Started in 1993, the Shanghai International Film Festival is China’s premier movie event. Apart from the line up of international flicks competing for the Golden Goblet Award, the event will feature six classic films by Polish master director Krzystof Kieslowski (The Decalogue, Three Colours Trilogy) to commemorate his 100th anniversary, 15 years after his death.
Jun 11-19. Shanghai, China. www.siff.com
Gion Matsuri
According to legend, it all started around 869 CE when there was an epidemic in Tokyo and people had festive ceremonies in the streets to appease the gods. The celebration is now Kyoto’s largest festival. Though it lasts the whole month of July, the grandest highlight is on Jul 17 when there’s the Yamaboko Parade in which thousands of people parade through the streets playing traditional music and carrying offerings for the gods. One of the most popular tourist activities is dressing up in traditional kimonos and, well, just going with the flow.
Jul 1-31. Kyoto, Japan. www.yokosojapan.org
Rainforest World Music Festival
Now in its 14th year, the Rainforest World Music Festival is ranked one of the top 25 international festivals by UKbased world music magazine Songlines. Set at the base of Gunung Santubong in the Sarawak Cultural Village, this year’s festival features performers from nearly two dozen countries, from Algeria to Vanuatu.
Jul 8-10. Sarawak, Malaysia. www.rainforestmusic-borneo.com
Melbourne International Film Festival
Founded in 1951, MIFF is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The largest film festival in Australia, the MIFF showcases more than 400 films from international directors—everything from large-scale productions to short films and documentaries.
Jul 21-Aug 7. Melbourne, Australia. www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au