The world at large is a rich tapestry of cultures, foods, people, and activities. Nothing quite represents an area like its local festivals. When thousands upon thousands of tourists stream in to mingle with locals and enjoy the delicious, the “wow”, and the just plain wacky – it makes festival travel something to be experienced. Some festivals are brand new, some have been going on for decades – but regardless of age, the entries on our list have proven to be the festivals worth traveling for around the globe. So do some research, book your plane ticket, grab your lanyard or colored wrist band, and enjoy! You’ll see the award-winners listed below by month for your convenience, as well as information from their website.
Harbin Ice Festival – Snow and ice sculptures come to life at this amazing international festival in China. Over the months of January & February, Harbin welcomes thousands of locals and tourists to experience a winter wonderful unlike any other. The more traditional snowy activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and sleigh riding are available – but the real excitement happens when you see something completely unique. Through special tours, visitors can experience Ice and Snow World, the International Snow Sculpture Art Expo, Ice Lantern Art Fair, dog sledding or safari-style viewing of Siberian tigers (among many other activities!) Visit their website and see the pictures of all the icy entertainment – you won’t regret it!
London International Mime Festival – The longest-running festival of its kind, this celebration of the silent art form offers theatre-goers the chance to experience a highly diverse range of shows.
Bali Spirit Festival – An international energy-charged event showcasing the world’s best in health, yoga, lifestyle, wellbeing, world music, community and social change.
Keukenhof – Keukenhof is the international and independent showcase for the Dutch floricultural sector, with a special emphasis on flower bulbs. Gorgeous flowers are in bloom over an eight week period.
AfrikaBurn – AfrikaBurn is a community of participants who come together to create art, burning structures, costume, performance, theme camps, music, mutant vehicles and much, much more. All of this is created through the volunteer culture of the citizens of Tankwa Town in the Karoo once a year.
Beltane Fire Festival – The modern Beltane Fire Festival is inspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane which began on the evening before 1 May and marked the beginning of summer. The festival takes place on Calton Hill. It is a procession, which starts at the National Monument (know to Beltaners as the Acropolis) and proceeds anti-clockwise around the path meeting various groups along the way.
Bulbflower Parade – Thousands of visitors dot the parade route as more than thirty floats richly decorated with flowers float down Klinkenberghal river accompanied by live music. It’s also the only parade that is built up with bulb flowers such as hyacinths, tulips and daffodils.
Sunburn – Inaugurated in 2007, Sunburn is a synergy of music, entertainment, food, shopping and lifestyle that attracts music tourism in India.
Gnaoua World Music Festival – This music festival celebrates all cultures coming together to broker peace, happiness, and prosperity among all nations.
Bunbury Festival – Taking place along the picturesque Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, the Bunbury Festival is a three day celebration of music, food, and fun. Headliners have included MGMT, Fall Out Boy and FUN. The 2015 lineup features Snoop Dogg and The Black Keys among many others.
Contour Music Festival – Jackson Hole, Wyoming serves as the scenic backdrop of the Contour Music Festival which offers four nights and three days of music, arts, and culture.
Festival Internacional de Musica y Danza de Granada – Emotion and satisfaction are the two cornerstones of the Festival Internacional de Musica y Danza de Granada. Music, dancing, theater, art and more activities are enjoyed throughout the city and province of Granada.
Montreal International Jazz Festival – Ranked as the world’s largest jazz festival by Guinness World Records, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal has been synonymous with a passion for music for over three decades. Every year, North America’s French-speaking metropolis welcomes global music fans to 10 days of jazzcentric celebration. The Festival hosts some 30 countries, 3,000 musicians and public entertainers, 1,000 concerts and activities – two-thirds of them free – in 15 concert halls and on 8 outdoor stages.
Northside Festival – Where Brooklyn at? 400 bands, 150 speakers and 50 films spread over seven days, each custom curated for the music, innovation and film enthusiast. If you’re the type of person who enjoys saying, “I liked it before it was cool”, then you should not miss out on the Northside Festival.
Queenstown Winter Festival – The people of beautiful Queenstown believe that the start of winter is an event to be celebrated. With skiing, snowboarding, concerts, street fairs, massive buffets, comedy shows, and plenty of beer – this winter festival will have you feeling refreshed and ready for snow.
Camel Cup – Nine unique races over one insane day. With camels supplied by Camels Australia and Dennis Orr Camels – the Lasseters Camel Cup attracts around 5,000 people from all over the world. The camels have personalities as large as their humps and there are sure to be unexpected thrills throughout. There will be lots of action between races, too. Belly dancers, rickshaw races, ‘Kids Camel Capers’ hobby camel races, rides, Mr and Miss Camel Cup challenges, food stalls and bars will add to the carnival atmosphere.
Deutschtown Music Festival – The Deutschtown Music Festival is unique in that it is a free, non-profit event run by volunteers with the goal of promoting the Northside as well as local musicians and artists. Months of planning go into this event to provide a full day of music and art, for free, all within the confines of the East Ohio Street business district.
Elvis Festival – Dozens of Europe’s top Elvis tribute artists and thousands of spectators converge on Blackpool to compete in a preliminary event to win a spot in the finals in Memphis. Three days of swingin’ hips, jailhouse rocking, and blue Hawaii crooning prove to be a fun-filled and respectful event in honor of The King.
Fuji Rock Festival – High up in the mountains, far away from city life and daily grind, you’ll love this festival and it’s unique atmosphere. All the artists, audience and staff together make Fuji Rock Festival the perfect place to enjoy music, meet new people and open your mind.
Great South Bay Music Festival – The Great South Bay Music Festival is the largest four day, “American Themed” music, art & cultural family event on Long Island. Featuring over 55 musical artists on 4 stages, and presenting top name, as well as local emerging artists in contemporary & classic rock, jazz, jam-band, country, folk, zydeco, funk and all types of American music.
Open’er Festival – As The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach quipped from stage during their first Polish set, “a quarter of the size of Glastonbury, but ten times the energy.” The festival’s trademark blend of music and arts brings joy and a massive crowd to Poland every year. Major bands headline every year, which shows the popularity of the Open’er Festival is no surprise.
Robin Rotterdam Unlimited – Robin Rotterdam Unlimited is one of the biggest annual events in the Netherlands. The festival originated from Dunya Festival and Summer Carnival, both with a record of more than three decades. In 2013, these two festivals were combined to form Rotterdam Unlimited. The festival attracts more than 900,000 visitors from home and abroad to the center of Rotterdam for a five-day experience in the field of arts and culture, live performances by major international artists and all that the city of Rotterdam has to offer.
World Bodypainting Festival – Since 1998 the most colourful event in the world has taken place in Carinthia, the wonderful south of Austria. The festival has a very long tradition and founded the modern bodypainting art movement. Artists from more than 45 different nations will do their best to stun and entertain visitors at the 18th edition of the World Bodypainting Festival, the world championships for Bodypainters. High quality Art creates a special experience for all visitors of the Open Air art park “Bodypaint City”. The venue is situated on a peninsula in the middle of Pörtschach and framed picturesquely by the turquoise lake Wörthersee. Additionally this charming place offers a varied range of bars, cafés and restaurants, ideal possibilities for the WB Academy program and the side events.
Air Guitar World Championships – Air guitar professionals travel from all over the world to Finland to rock out (metaphorically) in front of thousands of spectators and a champion is crowned. It is as awesome and ridiculous as you’re picturing in your head right now – and it is a ton of fun.
Boom Festival – Arts and culture mix with sustainability at the Boom Festival in Portugal. Five separate dance and music tents create a euphoric and psychedelic atmosphere.
Crop Over Festival – Originally a celebratory harvest festival in Barbados, the Crop Over Festival is a meeting and merging of the British and native West African heritage with food, music, dancing, crafts, and more.
Festa Major de Gràcia – This week long fiesta in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona where each street competes for the “best decorated”. Walk the streets and you’ll be amazed by the canopies and colors. Alongside the competition there are street vendors and parties galore.
Rainforest World Music Festival -The Rainforest World Music Festival is a unique festival that brings together renowned musicians from all continents and indigenous musicians from the mythical island of Borneo. Its formula of afternoon informative workshops, ethno-musical lectures, jamming sessions and mini concerts, followed by evening performances on the main stage has proven to be a hit with the audience, who come from near and far.
Honkfest Festival of Activist Street Bands – The streets light up with music during this event where activist street bands play their favorite tunes while looking for ways to improve our world.
International White Truffle Fair – Celebrate all things truffle including delicious foods, wines, and medieval reenactments as the history of the truffle is explored.