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Arrested Development, Gilles Peterson, Pillowtalk & more to play Koh Tao's first music festival

The 3-day house, hip-hop, reggae and Thai music festival takes place next week

  • Mixmag Asia Staff
  • 22 March 2017
Arrested Development, Gilles Peterson, Pillowtalk & more to play Koh Tao's first music festival

Yesterday we randomly stumbled upon Tao International Music & Underwater Festival and we’re not quite sure how we missed it. It’s a massive 3-day 3-night festival on the tropical island of Koh Tao that combines house, hip-hop reggae and traditional Thai music with diving and environmental endeavors.

The festival will run midweek from March 28th to March 30th and has an incredible line-up featuring international names like Arrested Development, Gilles Peterson, Kevin Yost, Pillowtalk and Trus’me as well as local names like Paradise Bangkok T-Bone, and Rasmee Isan Soul. Artists like Alex Face, Bordalo II, Cart 1, Monsieur Lupin and Yukijung are also billed. Away from the stages there is plenty more performances including sword fighting, exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, visual art, mapping and graffiti with the environment the center of all the elements. See the teaser below and the full line-up at the bottom of the page.

The festival is executed by two architects from Thailand and an expatriate event planner who shared a deep love for the island as well as passions in the fields of art, nature, environment, music and culture and with the support of the government, the project came to life. TAO Music & Underwater Festival is the nice story of encounters and of shared passions in the fields of art, nature, environment, music and culture.

The festival will take place in various locations around the island including Saideng Beach, Freedom Beach and Aowleuk Beach with the beach parties free. Koh Samui is an island the covers about 21 km2 in the Gulf of Thailand that is part of the Chumphon Archipelago. It’s considered a diver’s paradise for its abundance of corals attracting all kinds of marine life however the ecosystem is fragile and therefore preservation efforts are paramount. “It was obvious the festival had to enroll in this context to take the measure of the impact of such an event in this idyllic setting,” the organizers have said.

As such several steps have been taken to minimize the carbon footprint of the event such as optimizing air travel for artists, turning waste into art, “ecofooding”, recycling, island cleanup operations, compost toilets and sustainable construction.

“This is the commitment made by the festival to inform and educate publics on this essential issue for us and future generations," they continued. "In this objective, TAO Music & Underwater Festival will give a share of its benefits to structures linked to environmental protection of the island.”

In addition to the environmental efforts, the second night of the festival will be dedicated to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej who passed away in October with the artistic dimension this day especially developed to honor of the late king and to support the people of the Kingdom of Thailand who are currently mourning. The festival’s focus on renewable energy and environmental protection is also in part an extension of the late king’s efforts.

Tickets for the festival start at 1,500b for a single day tickets and 3,000 for all three days. Find more information on the website here or on Facebook here. Koh Tao is accessible by ferry from Ko Pha Ngan, Koh Samui and Surat Thani with flights from Bangkok going to both Koh Samui and Surat Thani.