Air Guitar Worlds, Finland
Rock and Roll Fantasy
The Annual Air Guitar World Championship Contest, held at the Oulu Music Video Festival in Finland, invites the most animated and talented air strumming, finger tapping, pelvis thrusting air guitarists from around the world to show off their skills.
It's 4 a.m. You've been to five cool clubs, seen ten great bands, made fifteen new friends and fallen in love twenty times. You're tired. You're wired. You're ready to find a bed. You're ready to find the after-party. This is Airwaves.
Party in a Volcano!
We have personally visited this rip roaring festival located inside a volcano at the ends of the earth. All we can say is despite the “warnings” of our Icelandic friends of excessive country music and Viking like behavior, we had a great time. Come prepared for the weather, it can get really wet. Unfortunately the festival has a bad reputation of sexual assault, so best to not drink too much.
Bastille Day, France
Oooh La La
Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on the 14th of July each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) and commonly Le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July). It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution.
Battle of the Oranges, Italy
Off with His Head!
Beginning Sunday, and for the days leading up to Fat Tuesday in March, an epic battle takes place over the streets of Ivrea in Northern Italy; an event steeped in history, The Battle of Oranges is the largest food fight in the country.
Beltane Fire Festival, Scotland
The May Queen, Green Man, Red Chaos and White Order welcome spring in this pagan ritual held in Edinburgh's Calton Hill. It's a modern reincarnation of the ancient Gaelic celebration of Beltane. "Beltane" means bright sacred fire in the ancient language.
Berlinale Film Fest, Germany
The Golden Bear
The World's largest international film festival is held in undoubtedly one of the coolest cities: Berlin. With over 400 screenings around the city there are many options for the film crazed public from big blockbusters to art house classics.
Fancy Dress Fest
This boutique festival is bit more trendy and indie than the Isle of Wright festival. The Bestival won the UK festival awards for “best major festival” of 2010, so they must be on to something.
Bog Snorkeling Championships
Up a Bog
Bog snorkelling is a sporting event that consists of competitors completing two consecutive lengths of a water filled trench cut through a peat bog, in the shortest time possible. Competitors must wear snorkels and flippers, and complete the course without using conventional swimming strokes, relying on flipper power alone. Wet suits are not compulsory, but are usually worn.
Boom Festival, Portugal
Things That Go Boom in the Night
The Boom Festival in Portugal blends music and other arts into one great festival. The Boom Festival only takes place every two years; so keep checking the website for details on the 2012 festival.
Brighton Festival, UK
The Brighton Festival is an annual arts festival which takes place in the city of Brighton and Hove in England each May. It was founded in 1966, and was, until its demerger with Brighton Festival Fringe in 2006, the largest multi-art form festival in England. The 2006 festival organised over 200 events during 23 days which were attended by over 500,000 people.
Burning the Clocks, UK
Burn back the clock!
Some people turn back their clocks for winter, in the town of Brighton they burn them! Burning the Clocks has been a Brighton tradition for almost two decades. The free celebration sees local residents parading the paper and willow lanterns they've made through the city, before passing them into a huge bonfire on the beach. The coming year is then ushered in with a dazzling fire show during which a massive fire sculpture is ignited, live music plays, and fireworks light up the sky.
Camino de Santiago, Spain
The Way of Saint James
For more than a thousand years pilgrims have been walking on a religious quest across Europe. The traditional and most popular version of the walk is called the “Camino Frances” which starts in St Jean Pied de Por and winds around Northern Spain ending in Santiago de Compostela almost 800 kilometers later.
Cannabis Cup, Amsterdam
Puff Puff, Give Give
Each November, marijuana enthusiasts from worldwide gather in Amsterdam to vote on the best strain of grass at the High Times Cannabis Cup. Started in 1987, the competition has grown beyond the primary event to include music, entertainment, and categories including best new product, best glass, and best hash. The consumption of marijuana, be it smoked, eaten, or vaporized, is legal in Amsterdam and allows the Cup to exist.
Cannes Film Festival, France
The World's Most Prestigious Film Festival
For nearly two weeks every Summer, the town of Cannes on the French Riviera invites film professionals from around the world to take part in the Cannes Film Festival. Cannes has a tradition dating back to the 1930’s and prides itself on valuing the artistic quality of films vying for the Palme d’Or, or Golden Palm, which is awarded to the best film at the festival. Short and feature length films compete in official festival competitions and for industry exposure.
Castells de Tarragona, Spain
Each September, men and women climb on top of each other’s shoulders and reach for the sky as part of the “Concurs de Castells,” human towers competition, in Tarragona, Spain during the Santa Tecla Festival.
Cheese Rolling Festival, UK
The Cheesiest Festival in the World
The premise is quite simple: climb Cooper’s Hill, the steepest in town. Take a delicious local “Double Gloucestershire” giant cheese wheel and roll it down the hill. Add drunken participants and roll them down the hill after the cheese►. The person to catch the cheese wins (the cheese) and hilarity ensues. The cheese is fast, weighs about 8 pounds and has been known to roll at speeds of over 70 mph!
Cinetrip Sparty, Budapest
Rock the Sparty
Budapest is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and lies on the banks of the great Danube River. It is blessed with abundant geothermic activity and mineral rich waters. Some the resulting hot springs have existed since the fall of the Roman Empire and have a rich history and important role in this medieval city.
Creators Project, Worldwide
Art and Technology Unite
The organizers of "The Creators Project" which include an unlikely union of VICE magazine and computer giants INTEL value both art and technology. It's a touring festival that brings technological art pieces and cutting edge music to the masses.
Download Festival, UK
For Those About to Rock!
The Download Festival started in 2003 as a successor to the Monsters of Rock Festival and may take the crown as England’s best hard rock festival. This festival brings over 100,000 rockers to the town of Leicestershire. Like its predecessor, music industry giant Live Nation organizes the festival and holds it at Donington Park, a former Formula One race site and steeped in WWII history.
Edinburgh Fringe, Scotland
The Fringe Festival Goes Mainstream
El Colacho - Baby Jumping Festival
Leaping Lucifers the Spanish Baby Jumping Festival
One of the weirdest festivals in the world dates back to 1620 in Castrolillo de Murica, Spain. In this traditional celebration costumed devils jump over infant babies who are lined up on mattresses in the middle of the street. Patrons gather round to cheer, cringe and breathe collective sighs of relief as the babies are cleared from harm’s way. This bizarre event is the culmination of the annual El Colacho festival, which takes place over several days in late May/ early June and is thought to be a mixture of Spanish folklore and religion, though its exact origin is unknown.
Good Times in the Old Country
Europe has a lot of experience with partying. From age old traditions to giant music festival blowouts you really can't go wrong with this combination of culture and the sheer variety of festivals, races, carnivals, fairs and national celebrations. If you want to see how it's done head to Europe!
Exit Festival, Serbia
Enter the Petrovaradin Fortress and Exit into a Dream
The Exit Festival of Novi Sad, Serbia has grown from tumultuous beginnings to being recognized as the “Best Festival in Europe” by the UK Festival Awards in 2007. It is one of the best 4-day parties you can find anywhere in the world.
Fallas de Valencia, Spain
Fire in the Streets
Every March 15th-19th, the streets of Valencia, Spain erupt with fire as part of the Fallas celebration. The festival dates back to the Middle Ages when excess goods were burned in the equivalent to a Spring cleaning. Today’s rendition takes a more grandiose approach paying homage to Spain’s history and culture with spectacular displays of pyrotechnics.
Festival Filmmaking, Budapest
Make a movie at Sziget
Sziget, considered Europe's best festival is celebrating it's 20th anniversary and has teamed up with the Budapest Film Academy.
Festival of Near Death, Spain
Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme
Fusion Festival, Germany
An Abandoned Airfield Comes to Life with Art for All
In the northeast of Germany, the Fusion Festival brings the former Russian military airfield of Rechlin-Lärz back to life with a celebration of art and music.
Glastonbury Festival, England
Rich in Music, Art, and History
The 4-day Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is one of the largest music and art festivals in the world drawing tens of thousands of festival-goers to the Vale of Avalon outside of Glastonbury, England. The sleepy area is rich in English history and mythology. The town transforms into a vibrant community filled with friendly individuals, music, and mind-blowing art.
Global Gatherings, UK
Grape Throwing Festival, Mallorca
Stomp and Throw
In the quaint village of Binissalem, Mallorca the end of the grape harvest season brings with it a wild food fight of epic proportions. While this festival was once only open to locals, it’s growing in size as the world has spread about the all out grape throwing extravaganza.
Trick or Treat
Halloween is a world-famous holiday celebrating the macabre and the supernatural, most vigorously observed in the United States. It happens every year on October 31st. The are many customs and traditions associated with this old holiday including carving pumpkins, trick or treating and costume parties. Halloween’s roots have been traced to an old Irish Celtic holiday and to the Roman Empire.
Haro Wine Festival, Spain
Each year on June 29th the small town of Haro, Spain hosts the Haro Wine Festival and wine battle.
High Voltage Festival, UK
High Voltage Rock n Beer
Where else can you find electrified rock, metal, beer gardens and a Evel Knievel museum in downtown London?
Scotland’s Party of the Year
After Christmas was banned in 16th century Scotland during the Protestant Reformation (a ban not lifted until the 1950s), Hogmanay became its most celebrated holiday. If you find yourself in Scotland for the four days around New Year’s, you are in for a very good time. Anywhere from 80,000 to 200,000 people make it out to Princes Street on New Year’s Eve for an epic party that culminates at midnight with a dramatic fireworks show above the picturesque Edinburgh Castle.
Icarus Cup Free-Flying Festival
The Sky is Falling!
Il Palio Race, Italy
If the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports, this bareback horse race might be the most exciting 90 seconds.
Isle of Wight Festival, England
The English Channel Classic
The Isle of Wight Festival, named for the southern England island it takes place on, is a legendary international music festival. This year, it will take place from June 10th-12th and features headliners, Kings of Leon.
Welcome to the Party Republic
This is the biggest electronic music festival in Eastern Europe. This festival started as a big air competition and party for kitesurfers who enjoy the good wind and long, sandy beaches of the Black Sea.
Kiruna Snow Fest, Sweden
Ice and Night
Underneath the glow of the northern lights and over 100 miles north of the Arctic circle lies the town of Kiruna, Sweden which hosts Europe's largest snow festival. These are training grounds for space and home to one of the premier "Ice Hotels". Landing here feels more like arriving on "Planet Hoth" than Earth.
La Tomatina, Spain
Flying Tomatoes in this Wild Food Fight
A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise
How could we do it? Impossible to miss Lowlands some readers asked. Well here it is...
Masquerade Carnival, Venice
Venice, Italy celebrates the Carnival season leading up to Ash Wednesday with a historic and elegant masquerade for the ages. Expect to be entertained by music, theater, and a water parade among other cultural events. Traditional masks play a central role► in this ancient celebration. There are three types of masks typified in the Italian masquerade.
Monaco Grand Prix, Europe
The Greatest Road Race on Earth
Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland
Smooth Jazz Fest
The Montreux Jazz Festival was founded in 1967 by Claude Nobs, Géo Voumard and René Langel with considerable help from Ahmet Ertegün and Nesuhi Ertegün of Atlantic Records. The festival was first held at Montreux Casino. It lasted for three days and featured almost exclusively jazz artists. The highlights of this era were Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Evans, Soft Machine, Weather Report, The Fourth Way, Nina Simone, Jan Garbarek, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Moscow High Heel Race
100 meters and dashing!
Nature One, Germany
Go Wild – Freak Out
Germany’s Nature One festival is an epic open-aired electronic music festival where you can dance from sundown to sunrise the first weekend of August. The festival grounds are located at a decommissioned US missile base and have party areas such as the Century Circus, Open Air Floor and the Groovalistic Garden. A secondary “festival” takes place at the campgrounds where everyone seems to be a DJ.
Night of the Witches, Germany
Dance Until Dawn on Witch Mountain
Walpurgis Night or Walpurgisnacht is a festival to experience yourself and a springtime tradition in Northern and Central Europe. Finland, Estonia, Sweden and Germany all have their own variations of this mysterious holiday. Much folklore lies around the date of May 1st as a known time for witches and wizards to convene with the devil in dance around the fire know as the Hexentanzplatz or “witches’ dance”.
Notting Hill Carnival, UK
London Gone Wild
The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event that since 1965 has taken place on the streets of Notting Hill, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, UK each August, over three days (the August bank holiday Monday and the two days beforehand). It is led by members of the West Indian community. The carnival has attracted around one million people in the past years, making it one of the largest street festivals in the world
Find Yourself in the Middle of Nowhere
Each summer since 2004, the small Nowhere Festival has brought the principles of Burning Man to Northeastern Spain. The location is kept a secret until just before the event, so keep checking the website www.goingnowhere.org to see where in the Spanish desert it will be this year.
Oil Wrestling Festival, Turkey
Turkish Delights: Oil Wrestling
The Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling festival near Edirne, Turkey delights onlookers with a sporting event that dates back to 1346. Participants cover themselves in olive oil and wrestle as part of what is said to be the longest running sports competition in the world.
Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
For over 200 years, Munich, Germany has hosted Oktoberfest, a legendary modern-day bacchanal.
Open`er Festival, Poland
Opening it up!
The Heineken Open'er Festival is a music festival which takes place on the North coast of Poland, in Gdynia. The first edition of the festival was organized in Warsaw in 2002 as Open Air Festival. The main organizer of the festival is the concert agency Alter Art, but the performance took its name from its principal sponsor, Heineken International. 2011 edition of Open'er will be held from 30 June to 3 July. Open’er Festival was given the Best Major Festival prize on European Festival Awards awards ceremony in 2009 and 2010.
Paleo Festival Nyon, Switzerland
Since 1976 – and the "First Folk Festival" that drew an audience of some 1,800 people in the town assembly rooms in Nyon –, Paléo Festival is today one of Europe’s most important musical events. Since its creation, the Festival has been growing in a regular and managed way, gaining steadily in professionalism during this period of development.
Paris Techno Parade
Techno Tour de Force
The first Techno Parade originated in 1998 as a visual street demonstration of the power of electronic music. French DJ superstar Bob Sinclair has played an integral role in the parade since the beginning.
Pinkpop Festival, Netherlands
Over 40 Years of Rocking the Netherlands
Every year since 1970, the Pop at Pinksteren or Pinkpop Festival, has brought world-famous musical act to the Netherlands. The official website for this crown jewel of Dutch festivals claims that it’s Europe’s “longest-running uninterrupted outdoor pop festival.” Get one of 60,000 tickets for this festival and go pink this June.
Pitchfork Music Festival, (USA)
Why are Hipsters like Farmers?
Prague Spring Music Festival
Springtime in Prague
Every May 12th, the Prague Spring International Music Festival kicks off a music festival featuring up-and-coming and established classical musicians ►in this beautiful Czech town. Concerts take place in spectacular venues including the Rudolfinum Concert Hall, Municipal House, and the Church of St. Lawrence.
Primavera Sound, Spain
An Indy Spring
This spring music festival draws an eclectic mix of tunes in an absolutely stunning setting directly on the warm Mediterranean coast. It’s grown in popularity, now attracting in excess of 100,000 attendees over the 3 day festival.
An International Mix of Talent
The Provinssirock brings together local and international musical talents at the biggest rock festival in Finland attracting tens of thousands enthusiastic fans!
Pop Until You Drop
Pukklepop is quickly becoming one of Europe's largest open air alternative music festivals. 2011 sold out quickly, so don't get caught on the waiting list!
Queen's Day, Netherlands
A Very Happy Birthday!
Each April 30th, throughout the Netherlands and around the world, the Dutch show their national pride and celebrate the birthday of their former Queen!
RIFF Film Fest, Iceland
Chilled out Film Festival
Looking for an intimate film festival in a cool northern capital? Check out the Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF) during late September every year. It's held in one of the world's smallest capitals so everything is within walking distance.
Rock am Ring (im Park), Germany
Two Festivals, One Weekend
The Rock am Ring (Rock at the Ring) and Rock im Park (Rock in the Park) music festivals will give two German cities the chance to host the world’s top rock, metal, punk, and indie music artists. These legendary festivals share musical acts and attract upwards of 150,000 music lovers combined.
Rock Werchter, Belgium
Rock out with your Chocolate out!
This Rock Fest has been going on in different forms since 1974. Things really blew up in 1982 and have been going strong ever since. It used to be a mostly local festival but now draws an international crowd and lineup.
40 Years of Rock and Going Strong!
Easter Mass Rocket War
Looking for a way to break tradition this Easter? Consider venturing to the town of Vrontados in Chios, Greece for the spectacular Rocket Festival. The parishes of Panagia Erythiani and Agios Markos fill the skies of this Northern Greek island with tens of thousands of handmade rockets in an unique Easter celebration.
Running of the Bulls, Spain
San Fermin, Run for your LIfe
Santacon - Santanarchy
Ho Ho Hos
The legend of Santa Claus comes from the mythology of the nordic Northern Europe. Today cultures all over the world celebrate the legend of a jolly old fat man with a flying sleigh and reigndeer who travels the world on Christmas Eve to bring presents to all good boys and girls.
Solstice at Stonehenge, UK
Begin the longest day of the year at Stonehenge
Thousands worship the Summer Solstice on June 21st at the ancient historical and mythological stone sculptures of Wiltshire County, England to watch sunrise at Stonehenge.
Sonar Electronic Festival, Spain
Cutting Edge Music By Day and Night
Barcelona, Spain will host the Sonar International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art featuring cutting edge music and a conference showcasing the newest breakthroughs in the industry. You may need a siesta to keep up with Barcelona’s party pace. Whether you are a party thrower or a party goer you will find some ear candy and inspiration.
Spain's Crazy Festivals
Spain is a vibrant European nation that runs on a leisurely clock; afternoon siestas encourage late night dinners and even later nights of carousing until the sun comes up. A temperate climate and an extensive coastline is more than a little responsible for Spain’s laidback, jovial vibe. It’s also home to the surreal buildings of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, whose designs continue to fascinate and perplex.
Street Parade, Switzerland
Uber Street Dance Party!
Zurich’s Street Parade will attract over a million people to dance in the streets at Europe’s largest techno-parade.
Summer in Ibiza
Looking for a good time? Well hop on a flight to the Mediterranean Spanish Island of Ibiza.
Get Sziggy with it
The Sziget Music Festival has become one of the premiere summer music festivals in Europe. Sziget means “island” in Hungarian and over 100,000 eager festival-goers travel to Óbudai-sziget in the Danube to rock out and dance to some great music. Sziget has been described as "an electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality" or Europe’s answer to Burning Man.
Taormina Film Festival
Mediterranean Film Festival
This Italian film festival held in Taormina, Sicily is consider to be Italy's premiere film event of the summer. It was first established in 1955 as the "Rassegna Cinematografica Internazionale di Messina e Taormina".
Dance Party of Tomorrow
"Yesterday is History, Today is a Gift, Tomorrow is a Mystery"
Up Hella Aa, Scotland
Fire them Up
Up Helly Aa refers to any of a variety of fire festivals held in Shetland, in Scotland, annually in the middle of winter to mark the end of the yule season. The festival involves a procession of up to a thousand guizers in Lerwick and considerably lower numbers in the more rural festivals, formed into squads who march through the town or village in a variety of themed costumes.
Venice Film Festival, Italy
The Golden Lion
The Venice International Film Festival (Italian Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia) is the oldest international film festival in the world and considered one of the most prestigious. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi in 1932 as the "Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica", the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the Lido, Venice, Italy.
Viareggio Carnival, Italy
The Best Carnival in Europe
The Viareggio Carnival attracts international attention to the small Italian city for the largest Carnival celebration in Europe!
Victory Day, Russia
Celebrate the End of WWII with Russian Might
Every year in May, all of Europe celebrates Victory Day (or V-Day), the day in 1945 that World War II ended in Europe. Russia has made the day of remembrance a national holiday, and holds nothing back to remind the world the major role it played in the victory.
Vienna Recordia, Austria
A World Record Festival
The annual Guinness Book of World Records competition takes places in Vienna, Austria each Fall inside the oldest amusement park in the world. Prater Park has hosted the event since 2004. The organizers welcome all as either a witness or participant. You must register in advance if you wish to make or break a world record of your own.
Wacken Open Air, Germany
Pedal to the Metal
Quite simply, WOA is the largest open air metal festival in the world. It's been going for 23 years strong in the small town of Wacken, which is only 50 kilometers from Hamburg. It sells out very early so plan ahead.
White Nights, Russia
Three Months of Sunlight and Fine Arts
Visit beautiful St. Petersburg, Russia between May and July and you can witness some of the finest classical art performances the world has to offer as part of the White Nights Festival. Russian and international stars perform great works of opera, ballet, and music in this cultural event.
Wickerman Festival, UK
It's better than it needs to be!
The Wickerman Festival is an annual music festival held near to Dundrennan in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Dubbed 'Scotland's Alternative Music festival', the festival celebrated its 10th Birthday in 2011.
Carrying your Spouse's Weight
The ancient tradition of wife carrying has many different names and appears to have originated in Sonkajärvi, Finland.
Wimbledon, London, UK
The Ultimate Grand Slam
Starting June 20th, the All England Club in London will play host to The Championships, popularly known as Wimbledon. This highly prestigious tennis tournament dates back to 1877 and is still steeped in tradition.
World Bodypainting Festival, Austria
Body of Art
Since 1998, the world’s most colourful event has taken place every year in Austria. The “World Bodypainting Festival” is the biggest art event in the bodypainting theme and tens of thousands of visitors admire the wonderful work of the participants.