Our Top 20 Summer Festivals For Your Bucket List

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Festivals can be transformative when you choose the right ones and are in the right mindset. Let’s start with a top 10 List for the rest of the summer around the world. Let’s take a look at some of our top picks this summer!

The International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol England

This is Europe’s largest ballooning event, Bristol’s International Balloon Fiesta. More than 150 balloons take off from Ashton Court Estate at dawn, and linger in the air until evening, when they illuminate the skies. he Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is held annually England. Teams from the UK and other parts of the world bring their hot air balloons to the site and participate in mass ascents where as many as 100 balloons may launch at a time. For more information, visit www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk.

Photo credit: Heart.co.uk.

The Helsinki Festival

The Helsinki Festival is all about film, music, dance, and circus acts, as well as a series of hildren’s eventsFor more information, visit www.helsinginjuhlaviikot.fi.

Summer Sonic in Japan 

One of Japan’s leading music festival takes place in both Tokyo and Osaka. Each city has its own amped-up selection of performers playing, with last year’s line-up including Arctic Monkeys, Pixies, Metronomy, The 1975, Azealia Banks, Ellie Goulding and Little Mix. Other attractions are yet to be announced, but in previous years have included a silent disco and dedicated art and kids’ areas. For more information, visit www.summersonic.com.

The Horseracing Festival in Lithang and in Nagchu/Nakchu

This is a fun Tibetan event with large numbers of locals displaying extreme horsemanship, that has some fun folk songs and and plenty of dance.

 Burning Man in Nevada

Burning Man conjures up all kinds of outrageous images for the uninitiated. Yes, the Playa (the desert stage location where the Man, the temple and much of the art is) is a culturally curious place, one part hedonistic, one part idealistic. But, amidst the hippies and Silicon Valley CEOs that populate this pop-up town, the common thread is an appreciation of the life-affirming nature of the artistic spirit.

At its heart, Burning Man is a celebration of artistic self-expression for those who have a utopian vision of the world. For some it’s about creating a spiritual sense of oneness in an intentional community based upon 10 principles . For others, it’s about all-night parties and dancing, riding around naked on bikes and participating in the Slut Olympics (yes, this is one of hundreds of events). But no matter what archetype defines you and your experience, anyone who has done the pilgrimage to the desert is known as a Burner, and this may truly alter the course of your life.

Rainforest World Music Festival

This is an annual music festival in early August every year in Kuching Sarawak Malaysia. It spans for three days in the Borneo jungle, and features both international and local artists. Think fabulous tribal music and dancing in the mud and tropical rain.

The Havana Carnival

This fabulous festival in Cuba may not be as big as of Santiago de Cuba, but it’s a great festival that shines of Cuban culture with music, dance, costumes, parades, fireworks and party scene

The Wilderness Festival

Ahhh yes, the Cotswolds in England, one of my favorite places. Think barefoot, flower-garland-toting bohemians prance about the woods and skinny-dipping in the lake at Cornbury Park while live music from up-and-coming artists plays. Metronomy and London Grammar took the stage last year, whilst this year’s line-up includes Björk and Ben Howard. There are also massive banquets and menus by chefs Nuno Mendes, Raymond Blanc and Angela Hartnett. There’s also thought-provoking talks and symposiums by professors, philanthropists and The School of Life. visit wildernessfestival.com.

Þjóðhátíð in Iceland (The People’s Feast)

Located in Heimaey, Westmann Islands, Iceland, in early August, bonfires are lit and vodka is shared to celebrate the ratification of the country’s constitution in 1874, but Heimaey hosts the mother of all parties. Some 10,000 people make like the local puffins and flock to the only inhabited Westmann island for a music festival on the edge of the world.

Heimaey, Westmann Islands, Iceland

Heimaey ‘by quinet. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike

The Soundwave Festival

This festival is held Ibiza where there’s plenty of music, beaches, sun and the great dance music. Imagine three stages just round the bay from the pretty fishing village of Tisno. The daily boat parties, where DJs and record labels put on a show to a sunset backdrop with an after party at the open-air club Barbarella’s.  For more information, visit www.soundwavecroatia.com.

The Boardmasters Festival 

The UK’s surf capital of Newquay, in Cornwall, does beachside, sea-and-salt fuelled fun with the annual Broadmasters Festival, a five-day celebration of music and surf. There are surf competitions at Fistral Beach, skate and BMX ramps for the less aqua-inclined. For more information, visit www.boardmasters.co.uk.

Sziget Festival in Budapest

This monster of a music festival spans seven days and the full 266 acres of the River Danube’s Obuda Island. Spend your days on the beach and party by night to the 1,000+ acts – from heavy-metal rockers to boy bands – performing over the course of the week. For more information, visit www.szigetfestival.com.

Credit: allnightcrash.com.

South West Four in London

Clapham Common annually hosts the South West Four, one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the UK. The visual effects are just as impressive as the world class DJs spinning the decks with past acts including Deadmau5 and Alesso. For more information, visit www.southwestfour.com.

Victorius Festival in Portsmouth

This festival brings in 40,000 people to the same sound on one tiny island off the south coast.. Victorius takes place over the weekend; there’s no camping but the party continues down Albert Road in bars and pubs with live music and special events. Past headliners have included Dizzee Rascal, Seasick Steve and Tom Odell. This year will be the biggest yet, with The Flaming Lips, Tinie Tempah, Primal Scream, Ella Eyre and Basement Jaxx confirmed. For more information, visit www.victoriousfestival.co.uk.

Qi Xi (Seven Sisters Festival)

Qi Xi is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Night. In a tradition that pre-dates Christ (not to mention speed dating), single girls carry out tasks to impress potential lovers. Also called Night of the Skills, the event sees girls showing off their talents at domestic duties such as embroidery and melon carving. They throw a sewing needle into a bowl of water and, if it floats, that indicates the girl is an accomplished knitter. Read more.

Nathan road, Kowloon. Hong Kong. China. Neon. Street. Evening.

Nathan road, Kowloon’ by JoopDorresteijn. Creative Commons Attribution.

Il Campo Festival in Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Il Palio is a bareback horse race that lasts for about a minute and a half. During the short dash around central piazza Il Campo, which is covered in packed dirt for the occasion, jockeys are allowed to do anything to their opponents other than tug their reins. The winning steed is often riderless.  A great and fun-filled event in the heart of Tuscany that must not be missed.

Il Campo, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Piazza del Campo’ by razvan.orendovici. Creative Commons Attribution

Mezinárodní Dudácký Festivalu (International Bagpipe Festival)

In Strakonice, Písecko, South Bohemia, Czech Republic, there’s an event dedicated to bagpipes and bagpipe blowing. You can get a sense of this variety at the stop-start opening procession, in which the enthusiastic players regularly pause for a toot, and take hours to cover the 1km to the castle.

South Bohemia, Czech Republic. River. Town.

Rožmberk ‘by dorena-wm. Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs

La Tomatina (Tomato-throwing Festival)

Located in Plaza del Pueblo, Buñol, Valencia, Spain, this annual event is a vibrant and interesting cultural event that involves tomato throwing – yes, really. Not only are the streets full of red, but so are people in this tomato-throwing craziness.

Buñol, Valencia, Spain. La Tomatina (Tomato-throwing Festival)

La Tomatina: In Uniform’ by dahon. Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs

Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts

In Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montréal, CA, you’ll hear the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey, Radiohead, Disclosure, The Lumineers, M83, Haim, Future, Grimes, Flume, Bastille, Passenger, Walk the Moon, Leon Bridges, Daughter, Elle King, Years & Years, Half Moon Run, Beirut, Mac Miller, St. Lucia, MØ, The Last Shadow Puppets, Bloc Party and more.

Hinterland Music Festival

In early August in St. Charles Iowa, you’ll hear Willie Nelson, Ray LaMontagne, Grace Potter, Cold War Kids, Lake Street Dive, Shovels and Rope, Houndmouth, and more.

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