Festivals are a great way to experience a destination in a unique and different way. And with several hundred festivals all over the world every month - there are plenty to chose from! This post pulls together a collection of the Best Festivals Around The World in 2017 and showcases 3 festivals for each month of the year. Whether you’re looking for the ultimate cultural experience, the glamour of a film festival or the sheer joy of a music festival - there is something here for everyone.
Warning. This post will fuel your wanderlust - and make your Festival Bucket list super super long!
JULY FESTIVALS & CULTURAL EVENTS
I have always wanted to visit Tomorrowland and its high on my bucket list. I recommend making it for this ultimate EDM festival held every year in Brelgium as it is definitely one of the the best for music lovers.
Started in 2004 by a few renowned DJ’s, the festival these days attracts thousands if not millions of EDM lovers from across the globe. Held on a lovely summery weekend this place turns into pure megalomania. The extravagance of this festival with its psychedelic motifs and stages gets everyone going right from the start and it never stops. DJs like - Tiesto, David Guetta, Hard well, Afrojack are just some of the big names who perform every year to the sheer delight of the crowds in attendance.
An open field with tents and camps all around for people to rest and sleep while enjoying the music. Meeting new people around the world who enjoy the same kind of music just pulsates the nerves and induces that feeling of belonging and that’s enough to get anyone hooked to this festival.
A wide variety of different genre in the fantasy world are all over the place during the whole event. Some famous movie and TV personalities can also be seen in this big event. In 2015, there were a lot of personalities that showed up in the event such as the all beautiful Gal Gadot (Wonderwoman), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Jennifer Lawrence (“The Mockingjay”/ Mystique), and even the all popular and talkative Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds.
The cool part here is not just meeting your idols but also by partaking in the hype of the fantasy world by cosplaying your favorite characters, talking with strangers and making friends with the same enthusiasm with you. It’s a four-day event where you can act like a child and have fun like you don’t care about the whole world.
For comedy lovers there is no other festival in the world better than Montreal’s Just for Laughs. The event takes place at the end of July and if you visit you get to split your sides laughing, see some celebrity comics and tour one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Comics who have played Just for Laughs include: Jerry Seinfeld, John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson and Canadian homeboy favourite Russell Peters.
The Festival concentrates most of its show in the Latin Quarter. During the day street performers delight the crowds and at night the city comes alive with comedy happenings scattered throughout the City.
AUGUST FESTIVALS & CULTURAL EVENTS
Theater, music, film, comedy, dance, musicals, spoken word, street performances, and exhibitions - Edinburgh Festival Fringe has it all. Known as the world’s largest arts festival, each August the Fringe takes over Scotland’s capital, drawing artists, performers, and attendees from around the world. Fringe developed 70 years ago (as an alternative to the selective Edinburgh International Festival) and is an open-access festival, meaning that anyone can participate or perform. You can either buy tickets in advance or just walk down the bustling Royal Mile and let the many promoters guide you to a cheap or free show. The festive atmosphere of the entire city is truly contagious and something to experience at least once!
La Tomatina Festival takes place in a Spanish town in Valencia (Buñol). I went there in 2008 and it was a crazy fun festival. At around 10 am, the tomato war is starting. A few small trucks go inside the town, bringing with them kilos and kilos of tomatoes. They let the tomatoes drop to the ground, and that signals the beginning of the party. If you´ve ever wondered if this is painful, then you shouldn´t worry. Most of time, the tomatoes you will get are the mashed or crushed tomatoes that you can use to throw to your friends and even to strangers also partaking in the party. You´ll definitely get dirty. There will always be nice locals who will take out their hose and will splash the people with water so they can get cleaned. Bringing goggles are highly recommended. The event is definitely so much fun!
Notting Hill Carnival is one of the highlight’s of London’s summer calendar. Every August bank holiday weekend, the normally sedate Notting Hill explodes into a riot of steel drums, exuberantly decorated floats and those dancers.
Those taking part in the carnival have put in months and months of preparation - but the joy for spectators is turning up, and embracing whatever comes your way. Everyone dances, even people who never dance - the music is just too infectious not to. You might not quite reach the standard of the carnivalistas on the float (I certainly don’t anyway) but dance your feet off anyway. You’ll have to wait another 364 days for the opportunity to come round again.
SEPTEMBER FESTIVALS & CULTURAL EVENTS 2017
Every beer lover simply must attend the Oktoberfest once in their life! I recently checked it off my bucket list with great glee. I was sure there was no way I was going to drink TWO of those huge steins you see in pictures, but two were included with admission so two it was. No problem! Tent hopping is part of the fun and that means drinking even MORE beer. No problem! But thankfully there is a cafe tent where you can sober up with coffee and Black Forest cake, and then either dive in again or go back to your room in Munich to recover.
As with the sawm (fasting), exceptions are made for those who are physically or financially unable to fulfill this obligation, and one is actually commanded not to make the hajj if to do so would cause hardship for his or her family. However, those unable to go themselves may fulfill their obligation by sending someone in their stead.
Other Awesome Festivals in September: Burning Man
OCTOBER FESTIVALS & CULTURAL EVENTS 2017
Austin City Limits can be described in one word, DYNAMIC. This amazing city boasts culture from all walks of life, contrary to most people’s beliefs that Austin, Texas is home to guys dressed in cowboy boots and hats riding horses. ACL Festival is no different, the social scene is mixed with all genres of music and art installations in a live music setting. One minute you can be head bobbing to 21 Pilots, lip syncing to Drake, being serenaded by the Weeknd, to watching a theatrical performance by Florence and the Machine. Did I mention some big name Electronic Music Dj’s make appearances here too? If diversity and overall different experience in an awesome town is what you look for in a festival, Austin City Limits is the place to be!
As a Pastry Chef, self proclaimed ‘foodie,’ and lover of all things Disney there is nothing I look forward to more than The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Although the dates vary slightly each year the festival typically runs from September to mid-November, which prompts my singing of ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ a little earlier than most because, well, it is the most wonderful time of the year at Disney!
On top of the 11 countries permanently represented in EPCOT’s World Showcase, the festival highlights food and beverage offerings from 19 other nations at themed stalls. In addition, they offer seminars and demonstrations from famous chefs, wine tastings, and even film ABC’s The CHEW on site.
My tips? Go during lunch on weekdays to avoid massive crowds and don’t miss the incredible chocolate centrepieces in the Festival Centre.
I happened to visit India during the Diwali celebrations. Known as the “Festival of Lights”, the Diwali is supposed to last for about five days and consists in exchanging gifts, burning butter and oil lanterns, and in fireworks. In fact, it actually lasts more than the official five days, and it is incredibly noisy, with fireworks exploding literally anywhere - so much so that the already dramatic pollution levels of India increase further.
Most Indians take their holidays during Diwali, or right after. Cities can get incredibly crowded with internal tourists - but the atmosphere is incredible!
NOVEMBER FESTIVALS & CULTURAL EVENTS 2017
Loi Krathong is one of the most picturesque and most romantic festivals of Thailand, falling on the night of full moon of the 12th lunar month. The moon appears exceptionally bright, beautiful and full. Young couples draped in traditional finery, gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respects to the goddess of water by launching of the Krathong into the water. Krathong is a lotus shaped container made of banana leaves, containing a candle, incense sticks, flower and coins.
People also make their way to these water bodies where they can float Krathongs and make their wishes. It is said that people congregate for floating away their sins and miseries and hope for a better future for their families. Click to Read More.
At the same people light lanterns which rise into the night sky (Yi Peng) which makes for one of the most amazing sights you will ever see.
DECEMBER FESTIVALS & CULTURAL EVENTS
Bearing horns, long dark hair (fur), and fangs, the anti-St. Nicholas comes with a chain and bells that he lashes about, along with a bundle of birch sticks meant to swat naughty children. He then hauls the bad kids down to the underworld. Or so the story goes. In the Austrian Alps, a parade of Krampus take over the streets, their chains rattling as they walk through the snow covered streets, carrying torches of fire and whipping unsuspecting passersby. Go prepared.. I didn’t sleep so well after attending this festival!
Picture the core of the city bustling with people partying, jumping from one stage to the other as 5 bands are usually playing at the same time all over the place, staring at fireworks as midnight approaches, having a blast even when the weather doesn’t help and you will start understanding how much fun it is. And then add popular dances, an ice rink, Christmas markets, a ferris wheel, a torchlight procession on the 30th, a proper music festival on the 31st, the nuts Loony Dook race that ends up swimming in the not so warm waters by the Forth bridge on the outskirts of the city as weel as an art explosion taking over 9 bizarre venues called Scot:Lands.
I doubt there is another place on earth rocking NYE as much as Edinburgh!
And there you have it! The Best Festivals and Cultural Experiences in the World in 2017. Have you added any of these incredible events to your bucket list? Let us know which one’s you’ll be attending - and give us your reviews when you get back!