Summer is the time for festivals, whether its music, dancing or yes, stones. Food, races, music, concerts or plays and dancing, it’s all there. Take a look at some of the top festivals in Europe during the month of June.
Isle of Wight Festival
Location: Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, England
Dates: 21-24 June
The music event on one of Britain’s best-known satellites has had a patchy history. In 1968, the only major act on the first bill was Jefferson Airplane (of ‘White Rabbit’ fame), who played to a crowd of 10,000 on a stage made of two trailers. There was a large open sewer. In 1969 the audience swelled to 150,000, drawn by one Bob Dylan.
Location: Rynek Glówny, Krakow, Poland
Date: Thursday after Corpus Christi
According to Polish legend, when the head of Krakow’s defensive raftsmen defeated a Tatar marauder in the 13th century, he slipped into the Mongolian’s robes and triumphantly rode into the city.
Feast of St Anthony
Location: Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal
Dates: 13-15 June
On the feast day of St Anthony, patron saint of Lisbon, the Portugese capital goes sardine crazy. The winding streets and steep staircases in Alfama, the city’s oldest quarter, fill with the smell of sardines being grilled outside little houses and restaurants.
Location: Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain
Dates: for 2013, 13-15 June
Billing itself as a festival of progressive music and multimedia arts, Sónar began in 1993 as a hobnobbing opportunity for the music industry and now attracts 80,000 electronica lovers. The cutting-edge festival is an appropriate excuse to visit Barcelona, where Gaudí built psychedelic buildings in the early 1900s and the Spanish Civil War inspired great literary accounts.
Riding of the Marches
Location: Scottish Borders, Scotland
Dates: from early June
The Riding of the Marches, or Common Riding, takes place throughout the summer in major Scottish Borders towns. Like many Scottish festivals, it has ancient traditions, dating back to the Middle Ages, when riders would be sent to the town boundary to check on the common lands. In those dark days of brigands, rogues and highwaymen, the young riders faced many perils including clashes with incursive neighbouring settlements.
Location: Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
Date: for 2013, 21 June
Summer solstice is a subject of much controversy. Having inspired ancient druids to perform rituals at stone circles and Burning Man founder Larry Harvey to incinerate an effigy, its very name causes discord. The solar event, when the sun is directly above the northern hemisphere, indicates that hemisphere’s midsummer. However, because the same moment is midwinter in the southern hemisphere, it could more neutrally be called the northern solstice.
Regatta of St Ranieri
Location: Palazzo Medici, Pisa, Italy
Date: 17 June
Venice may be famous for its gondolas, but across the country, Pisa stages this 1,500m dash up the River Arno, a tradition dating to the 1290s. The four narrow rowboats, differently coloured to represent the city’s four districts, each contain a steersman, a climber, and eight oarsmen struggling against the current.
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Date: 16 June
In order to create the critical distance required to write about Dublin, the great Irish scribe James Joyce went into self-imposed exile. In contrast, the biggest decision Bloomsday’s Joyce-loving participants face is which pub to visit next.
Battala dos Vinos (Battle of the Wines)
Location: Biliblio, Haro, La Rioja, Spain
Date: 29 June
On St Pedro’s Day in Haro, capital of northern Spain’s Rioja producing region, thousands of people take to the streets toting water pistols loaded with wine. If they’re ambitious, the vino guerrillas might use a pump-action supersoaker or spray can, while traditionalists and masochists opt for gourds, buckets, bottles and old boots.
Location: Worthy Farm, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England
Dates: for 2013, 26-30 June.
The colossal summer knees-up in King Arthur country is the world’s biggest and best music festival. It’s like Woodstock, except it takes place pretty much every year. The list of performers who have rocked the venue’s muddy fields reads like a who’s who of popular music: Dylan, Bowie, Oasis, Blur, Massive Attack, Orbital, Björk, Radiohead, The Cure.
Photo credits: Ireland Bloomsday by Stéphane Moussie, Creative Commons, Pisa, by baswallet: Creative Commons Attribution, Stonehedge by dannysullivan: Creative Commons Attribution, Barcelona Sona Vodafone tent by Matt Biddulph: Creative Commons, Portugal Alfama – Lisbon ‘s oldest district ‘by detengase: Creative Commons Attribution, View from the Virgin Radio area‘ by David Jones: Creative Commons Attribution
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