If you are one of those fortunate people who is studying abroad during the summer, one of the best ways to spend your free time is by attending a festival. Not only is it way more fun than taking a selfie in front of the Mona Lisa (though that’s pretty awesome too), it is also a great way to become immersed in the local culture. While the US might have some killer summer festivals, nothing compares to beach raves in Spain or eating exotic food in New Zealand. The following list of summer festivals range anywhere from two days to three months and all are in local summer time (keep in mind that the Southern Hemisphere has opposite seasons as the US!)
Occurring every June in Barcelona, Spain, Sónar is one of the best dance festivals in the world. This year, the festival celebrates its 20th anniversary and headliners include Skrillex, Kraftwerk, and Pet Shop Boys. Even though in recent years its lineup has gravitated more towards mainstream dance music, its underground scene is still very much intact. In typical Barcelona fashion, the whole city celebrates this music festival with rooftop parties, beach fiestas, and all-night shenanigans.
Every August, over 500,000 people flood to Boom, Belgium for one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world– Tomorrowland. To celebrate its 10th anniversary (and to meet the high ticket demands), this year’s celebration will be held over two weekends. Headliners for this year include Bassnectar, Tiesto, Carl Cox, and Armin van Buuren. Other highlights of the festival include “Cloud Rider”, the highest mobile Ferris wheel in Europe.
3. Summer Sonic Festival
Held simultaneously in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan every August, Summer Sonic Festival is one of the biggest musical events in Asia. There are no limits to this festival; guests will hear rock, punk, pop, hip-hop, and more. From American chart-toppers such as Ke$ha or Death Cab for Cutie to Japan’s own rock bands, Summer Sonic will definitely not disappoint.
4. Melbourne International Comedy Festival
March in Melbourne, Australia is known for one thing: comedy. Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the three largest comedy fests in the world and it is Australia’s largest cultural event. Including stand-up, theatre, street performances, film, television, radio, and visual arts, this celebration of laughter is sure to have you crying tears of joy.
Rocking Europe since 1971, Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark is now the largest northern European music and culture festival. Every June/July, music lovers of all kinds flock to Denmark to be a part of this enormous celebration, which lasts for a week. The lineup includes everything from Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar to Slipknot and Animal Collective.
Every August in Montreal, Canada, one of the most diverse festivals in the north takes over. Punk, indie, rock, and electronic music are all featured in this festival, held in the idyllic Parc Jean-Drapeau. Headliners for this year include Beck, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Ellie Goulding, Tegan & Sara, and The Lumineers. A city already oozing with artistic ambiance, Montreal really comes alive during Osheaga.
7. Salzburg Festival
Remember that festival the von Trapps competed in at the end of The Sound of Music before fleeing Austria? While much of this movie is embellished, that festival is anything but Hollywood-made. Every July, the Salzburg Festival takes over the music and art scene. One of the largest art and culture festivals on the globe, this festival offers world-renowned orchestra, drama, dance, and vocal performances. Mozart’s city takes on an air of sophistication and class during the festival, and it is perfect if you want an excuse to wear that long black dress or suit coat you packed just in case.
I’m heading to the Isle of Wight Festival in June where the Red Hot Chili Peppers are headlining!