TOP 10
festival experiences

The Best Of The Best
 

HARO WINE FIGHT
– LA RIOJA, SPAIN

Haro wine fight

Photograph: Rafael López-Monné lopezmonne@gmail.com

Everyone knows about Spain’s famous tomato-throwing festival, but have you heard about “La Batalla del Vino” – the Haro Wine Fight? Locals and tipsy travellers dressed in white start the day with a procession through the town of Haro in the Rioja region towards the Cliffs of Bilibio where a Bacchanalian free-for-all begins. It’s messy, merry and you’re sure to acquire some new wine-soaked friends to party with.

LOPBURI MONKEY BANQUET
– LOPBURI, THAILAND

Lopburi monkey banquet

 

Sorry humans, this food festival isn’t for you, it’s for the prized Lopburi monkeys of Thailand. Every last Sunday of November, locals honour the monkeys that freely roam in their city with a bountiful buffet of fruit, jelly and sweet drinks, as well as traditional dancing and processions. In Buddhism, the monkey is a hero and a symbol of good luck, and in this festival thanks are given to these primate VIPs. They greedily indulge and make mischief leaping on the tourists who come to see them at this special time of year.

LE GUESS WHO? FESTIVAL
– UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS

Le guess who? Festival

 

A great music festival, that’s a cut above the rest. Le Guess Who? Festival is an urban festival set across the charming Dutch city of Utrecht that promotes experimental, independent music and arts. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the programme is curated by artists such as Wilco and Savages and you’re sure to discover new and obscure bands from all over the world.

SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL
– SAPPORO, JAPAN

Sapporo snow festival

Photograph: Sapporo Snow Festival http://www.snowfes.com

Snow bunnies will be awe-struck by the Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan’s largest winter event. Over 400 magnificent snow statues and ice sculptures are on display across seven days in the city’s Odori Park, Susukino red-light district and Tsudome multiple-purpose hall. Expect to see ice dinosaurs, illuminated palaces and a dedicated snow museum. Since Hokkaido is known as a real foodie island, its famous seafood is not to be missed!

SECRET SOLSTICE
– REYKJAVIK, ICELAND

Secret solstice

 

Secret Solstice brings a whole new meaning to the song ‘All Night Disco Party’. Imagine dancing to some of the coolest bands and DJs under the midnight sun with 72 hours of non-stop sunlight! This fun outdoor festival will definitely test your raving endurance, however a dip in one of Iceland’s many natural geothermal springs is guaranteed to make you feel brand new – they’re even known locally to help refresh after a long night partying.

BOSTON SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
– BOSTON, USA

Secret solstice

 

Every August, the Massachusetts state celebrates its famed crustaceans. You can learn all about the sea with a blessing of the fleet, shanty singing, shucking battles and chef demonstrations. Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without gorging on New England’s finest lobster rolls, clam chowder and fresh oysters offered by Boston’s top chefs.

COACHELLA
– INDIO CALIFORNIA, USA

Secret solstice

Photograph: COACHELLA https://www.coachella.com/

Coachella is a unique festival where people of all ages and backgrounds gather to celebrate music and art. Each year, in April, over 99,000 people head over to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, to enjoy the beautiful mountain surroundings, mouth-watering food stands, large-scale art installations and spot the fashionable celebrities partying amongst the festivalgoers. Coachella is all about diversity: from the different types of music to the crowd, it offers the best of California.

LAKE OF STARS
– LAKE MALAWI, MALAWI

Lake of stars

Photograph: Lake of Stars Malawi Arts Festival http://lakeofstars.org/

Discover the best African and international music acts at the three-day Lake of Stars arts festival. Set on the picturesque shore of Lake Malawi, Lake of Stars has been named one of the most beautiful festival locations in the world. In between live sets, festivalgoers can experience theatre and dance performances, mixed martial arts and Zumba, all against a sunny beach backdrop.

Heiva I Tahiti
– Papeete, Tahiti

Heiva i tahiti

Photograph: Tahiti Tourism www.tahiti-tourisme.co.uk

Discover the beauty and spirit of French Polynesia at Heiva I Tahiti, a joyful festival that celebrates life on the island of Tahiti. Dancers wear traditional grass skirts and headdresses and perform to the sounds of a live orchestra playing typical instruments like the nasal flute and ukulele. Heiva I Tahiti is also associated with ancient athletic sports and competitions, so it’s the perfect festival for those who love the great outdoors.

ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA
– ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO

Albuquerque international balloon fiesta

 

Watch over 750 hot-air balloons fill the sky at this colourful nine-day festival in New Mexico. It began in 1972 with just 13 balloons and has since become the largest hot-air balloon event in the world. You can spot balloons with intricate patterns or a cute animal shape and some even glow during the evening display. With a floating technicolour scene and clear blue sky, the fiesta is full of great photo opportunities.

• Experiences by Nina Marshall. European based blogger who travels the world finding the best festivals to share with you.

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