Why participate in over-crowded, deafening, uncomfortable festivals?!
Festivals and indigenous culture events are a superb time to visit interesting destinations as the extra colour added by historic or peculiar costumes, portable shrines, fireworks, angry bulls, local music, excitable locals and more can’t fail to add a new dimension to an already fascinating location.
Think Italy’s Venice Carnival, Japan’s Takayama Spring Festival, America’s Burning Man and consider basing your next vacation on not just a place, but a place blazing with kaleidoscopic colour, traditional activities and marginal insanity.
What to do
These are the busiest times of the year for these locations unless it happens to be the monsoon season, so book accommodation well in advance of dates.
Ask permission before taking pictures or videos if possible, festival participants are human too, well, most of them. That being said it’s easier to take photos of locals going loco at these times than normally.
Festivals tend to be crowded and pickpockets may well be lurking, so keep valuables to a minimum and money in a zipped or buttoned pocket. Read the Travel Safety section.
Best Festivals and Events in the World
Glastonbury Music Festival, Somerset, England, a massive, multiple music event, with different stages featuring different music, but heavy on rock variations.
Perhaps the world’s best, longest running music festival but always booked up early so if you’re interested plan/buy a ticket a year ahead or if you have a fat wallet comfortable yurts/Camper vans etc can be found a bit nearer to the time.
This is the closest to Woodstock most of us will ever get. Camping is fine. . . but why does it always rain?
Nice Carnival in the south of France is one of our favourites – massive, varied, creative and inexpensive. Also, if you’re lucky, it’ll be blue skies, flowers and monsters during the two weeks around February/March.
Happenings in Europe that tend to be of the Art and Music Festival variety, though exotic flourishes of colourful expression still exist, especially around Carnival time February/March.
Apart from Nice Carnival other colourful European carnivals worth making an effort to see are: Carnival of Venice, Italy; Ivrea Carnival, (and battle of oranges!) Turin; Cologne Carnival, Germany’s answer to Mardi Gras; Binche Carnival, – one of Belgium‘s wildest parties and a UNESCO Heritage event. And many more…
April music festival at Coachella, California, US. Photo by Alan Paone.
These may be art-oriented, colourfully odd happenings or extraordinary sporting occasions. Or motorcycles! Yes, my bucket list of best festivals definitely includes a visit to Sturgis Rally or Florida‘s Daytona Bike Week. But enough about me.