Monday, 27 August 2012

Festival Travel: The Top Festival Destinations around the World!

Holi Festival IndiaEver wanted to travel from party to party? Living life to the extremes? Beating boredom with one non-stop, fun-filled fiesta? Getting the most out of every destination you stumble upon?

Me too.
…and now we can!
Festivals make the perfect travel destination. Never is a place’s culture better showcased! Never is there a better time to meet and interact with the locals! Never is there so much to DO!
Festivals are, by definition, the best of the best – the biggest events on the calendar.
Here’s one of my favourite festival scenes from one of my favourite travel movies, Transylvania by Tony Gatlif:

 
What’s New in Travel? - The Birth of Festival Travel!
Now, don’t get me wrong, people have always travelled across the world for festivals, religious or otherwise, but never on the global scale that we are beginning to see today.
So how did it happen?
Here’s a (very) brief history of festival travel:
1)      Ancient times: At some point, people started celebrating stuff.
2)      582 BC: Delphi, Greece: Music became an integral part of the festival concept.
3)      1969: Woodstock drew over 500,000 people!
4)      Since 1969: The “music festival” has been growing in popularity…
5)      …as has global travel.
6)      1996: Alex Garland published The Beach, documenting the state of backpacker travel, with the “beaten-track” discussion already in full swing.
7)      Modern Day: The travel industry is always looking for new, niche, “off-the-beaten-track” destinations and, as all the places get used, it’s only natural that people start looking to particular dates and times. After all, what’s more of a rarity than a little-known local festival that only occurs once a year?
8)      At the same time, with the rise in prices of UK festivals, and the relative cheapness of international travel, people are starting to look ever further afield for their festival kicks!
9)      Right now: Pioneers such as Holiday-n-Adventure and First Festival Travel are already taking people to some of the most sought-out festivals around the world!

Where to Go? – Where are the Best Festivals in the World?

Here are the 15 best world festivals (the classics, plus a few personal favourites):
 
How to Make it Happen?
Here are 4 different approaches:
  1. Plan your trip then check if it coincides with any festivals.
  2. Check for cool festivals then planyour trip around them.
  3. Join a Festival Tour with Holiday n Adventure or First Festival Travel, depending on where you want to go!
  4. Set off without an itinerary, take locals' recommendations and see where you end up!
 
More on Festival Travel
Here are some other useful and inspirational festival travel resources:
The Guardian's Best Local Festivals of 2010 (I'm sure they're still pretty good in 2012/3)
A Guide to the Best Brazilian Carnivals
The 5 Best Weird Festivals by The Guardian

Got a favourite festival?

Have I missed it?

Let me know in the comments and I’ll amend the list. After all, I’m just one guy…and there’s a lot of amazing festivals all over the world!

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