This weekend was the first ever pan-Asian festival in London: FestivalAsia. In the huge former warehouse Tobacco Docks, the festival included live performances, martial arts, music, cookery, art and even spirituality.Indian Duo Sitar & Tabla
Organiser Li Li’s vision of the event was bringing the massive Asian diversity to the London scene under a single roof. The result was an incredible mix of cultures and a brand new experience for Europeans and Asians alike.
The festival included 4 different stages (Main Stage, Martial Arts Stage, Cultural Stage, Spiritual Stage) and over 100 exhibitors. The event’s programme included different shows or activities all day long, so you were sure to keep busy or find something you’d be interested in.
Indeed, there was something for everyone at FestivalAsia: Yoga and meditation sessions in the spiritual room, or demonstrations of various martial arts such as Karate or Krav Maga on the Martial Arts Stage. The cultural room was reserved for more educational purposes, such as Filipino ambassadors presenting the Philippines, or a presentation on Asia’s incredible archaeology.
With performances varying from Indonesian Fruit Carving to Balinese Belly Dancing, and activities such as beginners Mandarin or traditional Japanese Drums, the event is definitely London’s largest indoor Asian festival. Open over the weekend, the event hosted over 20,000 visitors.
I attended the event on its opening day and was not disappointed. The Tobacco Docks are huge and there were so many different exhibitors I didn’t manage to see all of them in one day. They all offered unique “local” products that I had never seen before but was happy to discover.
My favourite part of the event was – and usually is – the food. There were food stands inside the warehouse for those who wanted to stay in that atmosphere, or you could step outside to get some food in that famous East London fresh air. The selection of food was massive with stands coming from China, Japan, Thailand, India, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, Laos, Indonesia and Cambodia – one of everything please!
FestivalAsia 2015 was a success! It was an entertaining new experience that I definitely want to try again. The people, the food and the atmosphere were great but my 1-day ticket was unfortunately too short to enjoy all of it. So go explore the Asian in you and keep on spreading the love. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for FestivalAsia 2016!