Istanbul in May 2018


With may come the beautiful days and the inhabitants of Istanbul begin to enjoy their free time to go to festivals, activities and concerts in the open air. This year the second part of May is a little quieter than usual because of the Ramadan that starts on May 16th, but you will still find plenty to do. Here is the program :


Sarah Blasko

May 4 – Oscar And The Wolf: the Belgian DJ known worldwide thanks to his single “You’re Mine” will mix on the stage of the University of Özyeğin. 

May 5 – Zorlu’s Jazz Festival: the Zorlu Center organizes a jazz festival in May 2018, in the program: many Turkish and international artists. This evening, May 5th, two Turkish star jazz musicians in concert, Kerem Görsev followed by İlhan Erşahin.

May 5 – Minor Empire: the Turkish jazz group based in Canada and having met some success there will be in concert at the If Beşiktaş.

May 5 – Burn Hip Hop is Back 3: the energy drink brand Burn organizes for the third time a hip-hop festival at Dorock XL, on the menu you will find Ceza, the veteran of Turkish rap and the new stars of the genre the rapper Ayben and the rapper Ezhel.

May 5 – Y2K Millennium Party: the Babylon concert hall is hosting a party with DJs mixing the music of the 2000s.

Tribute to Cesaria Evora

May 6 – Sarah Blasko: the indie-pop Australian singer who won the best singer of the year award in 2009 in Australia will be at the Zorlu Center.

May 7 – Tribute to Cesaria Evora: many Turkish and international artists have come together at the Zorlu Center to pay tribute to Cape Verde’s “barefoot diva”, Cesaria Evora.

May 8 – The Austra: the Canadian music group whose musical style is a mix of electropop and psychic music will be at the  Zorlu Center as part of the jazz festival.

May 8 – Cigarettes After Sex: the ambient Texan pop group with millions of views on Youtube and whose music has been used in TV series like The Handmaid’s Tale, The Sinner or Shameless will be at the Salon IKSV.

May 9 – The Australian Pink Floyd Show: The Australian Pink Floyd Show, or more commonly known as Australian Pink Floyd Show, Aussie Floyd or TAPFS, is an Australian cover band formed in 1988 paying tribute to British progressive and psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd. Their shows attempt to recreate the appearance, feel and sound of Pink Floyd’s shows, using visual aids such as lasers, inflatables and a large billboard. At the Zorlu Center.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show

May 9 & 10 – Rock & Tech Festival: the concert hall Glass Room of Uniq Istanbul organizes a festival of rock music and technology presenting the best in both fields in Turkey and internationally. On the program artists like Max The Sax, Nikki Wild or Jakuzi.

May 10 – Polo & Pan:  the French musical duo of electronic music will be at the Zorlu Center as part of the jazz festival.

From May 10 to May 13 – Istanbul Universiterler Festivalı: more than 42 schools or universities of Istanbul have joined the Sanat Performance Sahnesi for a festival mixing music, gastronomy and alcohol. Not to miss!

May 10 – Evrencan Gündüz: the new “prince” of Turkish indie-rock is on the stage of the Moda Kayıkhane. 

May 11 – Dardust: Italian DJ Dardust is at the  Zorlu Center as part of the jazz festival, followed by Patrick Wolf, the British violinist, composer and singer with a “dark” style of music.

Evrencan Gündüz

May 11, 12 & 13 – Cityfest: this weekend in May you will find the festival Cityfest, on the program the Turkish rocker Teoman, the star of the 2000s electro-pop Inna and the legendary rock band Duman. At Uniq open air.

May 11 mai – The Big Burn: it is one of the most anticipated electronic music festivals of the year, it takes place every summer at Suma Beach, this year Big Burn has decided to make an appetizer before the big festival by inviting DJ Bedouin and Christian Löffler to Klein, one of the best electro club in Istanbul.

May 11 – Ezhel: the new prodigy of Turkish rap music that is barely 24 years old will be on the stage of Beyrut Performance!

May 11 – Jake Bugg: the English musician, singer and songwriter of folk / indie rock music will be at Babylon.

May 12 – Holifest: Holifest, the largest festival of traditional Indian culture where participants spray paint is celebrated each year in more than 50 countries around the world. The first edition in Turkey was in Istanbul with the participation of 5000 people in April 2016. Holifest Istanbul will be back with you this year at the Milyon Beach Kilyos with a program that is worth the trip!

Holifest Istanbul

May 12 – Markus Schulz: the German-American is one of the world’s best known DJs in the trance style. He will be at the Zorlu PSM Studio for a performance not to be missed!

May 12 – Tarkan: the big star of Turkish pop, known in the late 90s around the world, and still being an idol in Turkey, will be in concert at the Vadistanbul.

May 12 – Imany: the world-famous French singer of soul, folk and blues will be at the Volkswagen Arena for a colorful representation!

May 13 – Offtown Festival: Sabanci University, one of Turkey’s largest universities, organizes the Offtown Festival on its campus. This year many local and international artists will be present. For more info: 

May 15- Martin Barre: the English rock musician is known for his work with progressive rock band Jethro Tull, with whom he has recorded and shot since their second album in 1969 until the band’s initial dissolution in 2012. In the early 1990s, he started a solo career, he also played flute and other instruments such as mandolin, both on stage for Jethro Tull and in his own solo work. He will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his career at the Zorlu Center.

Markus Schulz

May 17 – Graffiti Party: the Kadikoy rock club on the Asian side, the Dorock XL, organize a local rock music festival with graffiti workshops to teach you this art that covers the walls of major world’s capitals.

May 18- IDSO: the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra is in concert at the Fulya Sanat.

May 20 – Raul Midon: the singer, songwriter and American guitarist and blind native of New Mexico to the unique musical style influenced by the soul, the jazz, the folk, blues, R & B or Latin music (flamenco and bossa nova in particular) and whose songs are based on extraordinary vocal prowess (sometimes reproducing the sounds of instruments with his mouth) will be at the Aya Irini Church of the Topkapı palace. He has also collaborated with musicians from a variety of backgrounds, from Herbie Hancock to Snoop Dogg.

May 22 – Zuill Bailey & Natasha Paremski: cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Natasha Paremski, both world-renowned for their work, will perform in concert at The Seed the magnificent concert hall of the Sakip Sabancı museum on the banks of the Bosphorus.

May 22 & 23 – Camel: the British progressive rock group mixing elements of jazz, classical music, baroque, blues and electronic music will be in concert two consecutive nights at the Zorlu Center.


May 22 – Jose Antonio Ruiz: he is one of the most famous contemporary Spanish choreographers, who has devoted his entire life to the development of Spanish dance. He will present his dance and flamenco show at the İş Sanat Cultural Center.

May 24 – Faces On TV: the Belgian trip-hop group Faces on TV will be present on May 24 at the Zorlu PSM Studio as part of the Garanti Jazz Green Concerts!

May 25 – BIFO: the best symphony orchestra of Istanbul, the BİFO, will be on the stage of the Borusan Müzik Evi.

May 25 – Tekfen philharmonic & Charlie Siem: the Tekfen Philharmonic, also known as “The Sound of Three Seas” will be joined by Charlie Siem who is one of today’s great violinists. At the Aya Irini Church of Topkapı Museum.

May 25- Kompakt Night: the Zorlu PSM organizes a big electronic music party and invite German DJs Michael Mayer and Weva to come and mix for the occasion.


May 26 – Imamyar Hasanov & Mercan Dede: the musician Imamyar Hasanov is accompanied by Sufism-inspired Turkish DJs Mercan Dede. Not to be missed! At the Aya Irini Church of the Topkapı Palace.

May 27 – Filarmonica della Scala & Daniil T: Daniil Trifonov, winner of a Grammy Award, returns to the festival for an evening of pure musical joy, with the impeccable Filarmonica della Scala and Daniel Harding. At the Lütfi Kırdar Anadolu Auditorium.

may 29 – Renaud Capuçon & Khatia Buniatishvili: the French violinist Renaud Capuçon met the pianist Khatia Buniatishvili during an exceptional performance by César Franck, the two then decided to take a break with their usual partners (Martha Argerich and Gidon Kremer, respectively) and to play together, they will be at the İş Sanat Cultural Center.

May 29 – Kalben: the new diva of the Turkish indie-rock scene is at the Zorlu Center.

May 31 -Isaac Gracie: the English singer whose broken voice has become a trademark will be at the Zorlu Center.


May 19 & 20 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:

The Harry Potter concert series returns to the Zorlu Performing Arts Center with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in concert, the second film in the Harry Potter series. On May 19 and 20, the Istanbul Orkestra will perform John Williams’ unforgettable score from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, while the film will be broadcast in high definition on a 40-foot screen. At the Zorlu Center PSM.


May 5 & 6 – Big Boyz Festival:

The Kemer Country Club organizes a festival for “big boys” based on two days, in the program you can find lots of kinds of nice workshops like graffiti, quad, Mercedes tests drives, DJs, barbecues but also full of other activities. For more information visit:

May 12 & 13 – Istanbul Cocktail Festival:

The Cocktail Festival presents the favorite cocktails of the Istanbul inhabitants with tastings and workshops and concerts, it will gather all the amateurs with the participation of the best mixologists of the cocktail bars of the city from May 12 to 13 at the Life Park Istanbul.

The festival will answer all questions about cocktails and even teach you how to make a good cocktail from A to Z.Guests will appreciate both how to use the perfect ingredients in specific portions to make their own cocktails and taste samples prepared by the city’s trendy bars throughout the day. For more info on programming click here.

May 12 & 13- Urban Picnic:

The concept of this festival is a night picnic, the first in Istanbul, from 6 am until 1 am. Picnic baskets will be provided by the organization. In parallel to the picnic you can find many relaxation areas with hammocks, music concerts, games and even a raffle. The festival is organized by Hybrid and in partnership with the sites and At Kemer Country, for more info click here!


Until May 13 – A Corner In the World: 

Corner in the World is an art festival that brings together artists from Turkey, the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans who work in the same region without having to share a scene or to experience the work of some and others and to dialogue. The first edition of the festival took place in October 2015 and has been repeated every year since its success. On the agenda are photo exhibitions, paintings, workshops of all kinds but also conferences. More information on:

Until August 26th 2018 – Istanbul’s Seaside Leisure:

The First World War has critically shaped and transformed the relations of Ottoman’s society with the sea. Swimming in the sea was before considered private and even illegal for a long time, despite the progressive influence of the West.During the second half of the 19th century, residents of a waterfront city like Istanbul had to settle for “sea bathing” surrounded by wooden panels. While secularism has been embraced with the foundation of the Turkish Republic; a sense of individuality has become socially visible and free, leading to a more intimate relationship with the sea.

Istanbul’s Seaside Leisure tells a nostalgic story; while addressing the radical changes in the social norms of the city and the use of their free time by Istanbulers. Istanbul’s Seaside Leisure is a documentary and a testament to the radical transformations that have taken place in the lifestyles of the Turkish Republic. At the Pera Muzesi.


LWatch a football match in Istanbul is an experience not to be missed, the atmosphere of the stadiums is often explosive while remaining friendly. This year the Turkish league has seen the arrival of many players of quality. At the time of writing these lines Galatsaray leads the championship followed by neck and neck by 3 other Istanbul clubs: Başakşehir, Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe. Despite the 2 games remaining the suspense is total; here are the matches played in Istanbul this month:

  • May 11: Galatasaray VS Yeni Malatyaspor at the Türk Telekom Stadium
  • May 20: Fenerbahçe VS Konyaspor at the Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium
  • May 20: Beşiktaş VS Sivasspor at the Vodafone Park

To buy tickets go on Passolig, for more information contact us

For other activities we can propose you to do in May 2018 click here!

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