Festivals around the world

Whenever I think of festivals, the first one that springs to mind is Glastonbury. It’s unfortunately in its fallow year though for 2018, so off the cards this year. However, there are plenty of other festivals across the world to choose from!

One of the most famous music festivals is Burning Man, in the desert wastes of Nevada. Every year there’s a different pyre topped with a man that goes up in flames, with previous examples of a UFO and a pyramid, which have been at heights of up to 105 feet tall! Apparently it’s an indescribable event, not done justice unless you’re actually there. From the photos the festival is a desert adventure with weird and wonderful sights everywhere you turn. The theme for the approaching 2018 festival is ‘I, Robot’ and will take place at the end August.

Closer to home, Tomorrowland festival (in the aptly named town of Boom, Belgium) is home to the very best EDM music. Running since 2005, Tomorrowland takes place over two weekends and unfortunately sells out in record time every year, so it might be one to look out for next year if you’ve not bagged yourself a ticket already.

If you’re looking for a little bit of culture, Vienna, Austria, hosts the Vienna International film festival outside the Rathaus every year. This free festival celebrates ballet, film and opera every year, showing shows on a huge open-air screen every night as the sun sets. Food is a big part of this event, with delicious offerings and tons of choice of great Austrian beers to enjoy in the sunshine. Last year we caught a screening of Swan Lake, heading home under a starry sky when it finished around 11pm. Smaller, but in a similar vein, is the Salzburg film festival, on from 20th July to 30th August this year.

Famed for its extravagant costumes and masks, the Carnivale in Venice has already passed but of course requires a quick mention. It’s popular to be sure, but perhaps not the best time of year if you want to experience Venice without the crush of people. If you’re looking to experience a more authentic Venice, try winter or late autumn instead- I’ve heard it’s just as beautiful and much quieter than the main season.

Food festivals are also hugely popular in Europe. In Spain, the famous tomato festival La Tomatina occurs on the last day of August and involves painting the town red (with tomatoes). Sounds like great fun. Less famous but just as messy, the ‘battle of the oranges’ takes place in Ivrea, Italy. The Boryeong mud festival isn’t an edible festival, but just as messy- and good for the skin, too!

If you love food, but don’t love it enough to be covered in it, Oktoberfest might be a better bet. Okay, so this might be mostly a drinking festival, but appetites can still be satiated over bratwurst, pretzels and apfelstrudel. Found in Munich, it’s the largest public festival in the world, and many get decked out in lederhosen (for men) and dirndl dresses (for women).

If that’s too much, Finland hosts the ‘Wife Carrying World Championships’. Husbands must carry their wife (upside-down, of course) along a 253.5metre course, including icy water obstacles. There are actually wife carrying competitions all over the world, so plenty of opportunities to get practicing. Once you’ve found someone to carry (or carry you).

Something completely different is the buffalo racing festival, Chonburi, Thailand. This festival has took place for over 140 years and includes farmers riding buffalo. Really fast, apparently. Mexico brings another peculiar one- the ‘Night of the Radishes’, in December. This radish-carving event became an official event in 1897, with artists and amateurs having a go at carving oversized radishes into people, wildlife and architecture. If radishes don’t float your boat, the Räbechilbi Turnip festival takes place in Switzerland. Turnips are carved and then paraded around the Canton of Zurich with candles inside. Taking place during November, the event has been described as a relaxed, family friendly event suitable for people of all ages.

The UK takes the medal for some of the weirdest festivals though. For example, the world toe wrestling championships kick off in June in Derbyshire. Of course we can’t forget the world bog snorkelling championships in Wales that takes place during August. A little more extreme is the Cooper’s Hill cheese rolling festival in Gloucestershire. Secretly as a kid, I always wanted to have a go at throwing myself down the famous hill after an 8lb Double Gloucester. These days, you wouldn’t catch me dead even thinking about it, but it makes for some interesting viewing. 28th May 2018, if you’re intrigued. Hopefully something will take your fancy!

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