The Top 36 Global Festivals We’re Most Excited For In 2017

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Festivals have become the lifeblood of the modern age — and they’re certainly not going anywhere. Why? For one thing, festivals represent the ultimate departure from our humdrum lives. They’re the only places where you can find music, food, art, film, and performance united under one roof, while slowly feeling yourself transform into the ultimate free spirit.

Pangea Festival - Johannes_Kollender

Of course, this brings us to right now. From post-apocalyptic gatherings in Poland to Irish matchmaking ceremonies, beer fests, and hot air balloon extravaganzas, it’s clear that 2017 isn’t holding back when it comes to providing us with festivals of a lifetime.

And it’s precisely for that reason Flight Network has decided to intervene. With so many diverse, thrilling, and far away options at your disposal, it can be daunting to know where to start. Should you salsa your way over to Austria for the ImPulsTanz international dance festival? Jive with Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica? Down pints of booze in Germany?

How about all of the above. After months of research, countless interviews, and supreme vetting, Flight Network is pleased to present our list of the top 36 global festivals destined to rock 2017. Yes, they get our utmost stamp of approval, and we couldn’t be more excited to share the results.

Credit: ImPulsTanz
Credit: ImPulsTanz

Ready to dive into the unknown?

Don’t forget your passport! But first — take notes on this list of the world’s most original, action-packed, food-filled, and unbelievable festivals of 2017.

Credit: Jocelyn Riendeau (Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke)
Credit: Jocelyn Riendeau (Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke)

 

Check out the list here:

 

1. Erlanger Bergkirchweih     |     2. Cork Harbour Festival    |     3. Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival

4. Budapest Pride Festival & March  |   5. Rebild Festival    |     6. Festival d’Avignon

7. Great South Bay Music Festival  |   8. ImPulsTanz |     9.  Reggae Sumfest

10. OldTown Festival  |    11.  FloydFest  |     12. Farmfest | 13.  Hinterland Music Festival

14.  Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival  |    15.  Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke

16.  Riga Salsa Festival |    17.  Rose of Tralee International Festival  |    18.  Journeys Festival International

19.   Bloop Festival |  20. Pangea Festival |  21. Aarhus Festival | 22. Nuart Festival

23. Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | 24. Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival | 25. Visa pour l’Image

26. Peperoncino Festival | 27. Arnold Classic Europe | 28. Steirischer Herbst | 29. Startup Fest Europe

30. MIMO Festival | 31. Herbst & Winefest | 32. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

33. SIGNAL Festival | 34. Vegfest London | 35. Prague Writers’ Festival | 36. Orlando Beer Festival

1. Erlanger Bergkirchweih – GERMANY (June 1-12)

Bergkirchweih Pressematerial

The Festival

Every year on the Thursday before Pentecost, the Bavarian city of Erlangen comes alive to usher in “Erlanger Bergkirchweih,” a twelve-day folk festival that’s survived for over 262 years. The elder brother to Oktoberfest, in Munich, Bergkirchweih prides itself on being the largest European beer garden around. And naturally, bratwurst is in high supply.

 

Erlanger_Bergkirchweih_3

What To Expect

Put simply, come ready to drink. Then drink some more. As of 10 a.m., you’ll have access to over 100 stalls and rides — the vast majority of which are stocked full of beer, which are served out of stone mugs. The festival’s beer garden can comfortably sit up to 11,000 people at one time, and it’s located atop historic caves and age-old beer cellars. It’s little wonder why over 1 million people visit Bergkirchweih per year. They just can’t get enough of that German hospitality (and sizable steins).

To learn more, visit the Erlanger Bergkirchweih website.

2. Cork Harbour Festival – IRELAND (June 3-11)

Credit: Cork Harbour Festival
Credit: Cork Harbour Festival

The Festival

Taking place in the second largest natural harbor in the world, the Cork Harbour Festival is an active, exhilarating display of Ireland’s own maritime roots. Here, families gather to partake in everything from urban kayaking and mobile saunas, to yacht sailing along the crystalline waters of Cork Harbour. Oh, and did we mention seaweed foraging? Yes, that’s a thing.

 

Credit: Cork Harbour Festival
Credit: Cork Harbour Festival

What To Expect

Flip-flop wearers beware: the Cork Harbour Festival offers a wide range of outdoor activities, and you’ll want to dress appropriately. Walking enthusiasts can join any of the free guided walking tours, spooky ghost tours, or day excursions over to nearby Spike Island. Spectators, on the other hand, might find themselves drawn to the true Cork spectacle — “The Rebel Plunge” — a 3.8km downstream swim en route to Blackrock Village.

To learn more, visit the Cork Harbour Festival website.

3. Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival – UNITED KINGDOM (June 26-July 2)

Credit: Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival Instagram
Credit: Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival Instagram

The Festival

Located in the heart of Salisbury, the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is your nostalgic ticket into the past. The far past, that is. We’re talking tractors, encampments, soldiers, jousting duels, and so much more. It’s one of the largest festivals in the world solely devoted to the subject of history, but trust us — it’s anything but a bore. 

 

Credit: Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival Instagram
Credit: Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival Instagram

What To Expect

Imagine yourself in the middle of the swooping Chalke Valley. On your right, there is a stocky group of vikings debating the merits of a turkey leg. On your left, there is a decommissioned line of tanks, seemingly ready to be hijacked for your next joy ride. Suddenly, an old-school World War II aircraft flies overhead. What kind of world are you living in?

That’s precisely the question the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival seeks to answer. Through a series of lectures, walks, shows and readings, the festival strives to take visitors back to the beginning. There’s also an iconic airshow, which is worth buying earplugs for. To learn more, click here.

4. Budapest Pride Festival & March – HUNGARY (June 30-July 9)

Credit: Fűrjes Viki
Credit: Fűrjes Viki

The Festival

Every year, Hungary’s largest annual LGBTQ festival transforms into a cultural and entertainment spectacle of sorts. Of the week-long event, packed with over 50 programs, the Budapest Pride march is the most coveted to attend. Complete with flashy banners, costumes, live performances, and dancing, the march marks a stroll of solidarity, and helps brings greater visibility to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer movement in Eastern Europe.

 

Credit: Fűrjes Viki
Credit: Fűrjes Viki

What To Expect

Budapest Pride is full of inspiring, socially-conscious participants who seek to celebrate the LGBTQ community on a massive scale. Unfortunately, in the past, that purpose has been met with discrimination: in 2008, for example, counter-protesters threw Molotov-cocktails into gay clubs, and the pride march faced a series of organized attacks. This aggression further signaled the vital importance of the Budapest Pride festival, which continues to persist today.

Attendees should come ready to walk proudly, dance boldly, and dive into the legendary Hungarian baths. For a list of queer-friendly Budapest establishments, be sure to visit the official festival website here.

5. Rebild Festival – DENMARK (July 2-5) 

Rebild2016-TwoFlags

The Festival

When Americans think of July 4th, they envision barbecues, fireworks, and patriotic colors worn in honor of their Independence Day. Then there are the Danish, tucked away in the town of Rebild, which come to celebrate all the same. Enter Rebild Festival, a fascinating, star-spangled celebration of America’s Independence, which unfolds over the course of four days in the hills of Northern Denmark

Rebild2016-NationalDanishPerformanceTeam

What To Expect

Lots of cultural mash-ups. Think Danish tunes and American folk songs, schnapps, hot dogs, pickled herring and burgers and beer. That’s what the Rebild Festival has come to represent in 2017, as it reportedly holds down the title for the largest Fourth of July celebration abroad. So, what should we make of this fusion? Apparently it’s a relic left over from the early 1900s — when thousands of Danes immigrated to America in search of job prospects, and flourished.

There’s a longer history here, but we’ll leave that for you to discover firsthand. For now, just know this fascinating celebration has already hosted the likes of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney, and Walter Cronkite. Who knows what American celebrity might pop up this year. To learn more, visit here.

6. Festival d’Avignon – FRANCE (July 6-26)

LesBarbares avec public ©-CRDL_FA

The Festival

It’s been said that the French provincial city of Avignon is a state of mind: an open-air opportunity for visitors to embrace artistic adventure and architectural heritage. If that is so, the Festival d’Avignon is undoubtedly a testament to those origins. Here, tens of thousands of theater-lovers get to experience the various gateways into an artists’ world — readings, exhibitions, films, and debates — all the while watching Avignon transform into real-life amphitheater.

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What To Expect

This is a festival for dreamers, actors, artists, poets, and thinkers. Held every July in the picturesque courtyard of the Palais des Papes, Festival d’Avignon resides as one of the most prominent contemporary performing arts events in the world. From dance shows and theater performances, to “workshops of thought” and day walks, it’s just the kind of place you want to be when exploring your inner self.

Come for the performances. Stay for the epiphanies. To learn more, visit the Festival d’Avignon website for a full programming schedule.

7. Great South Bay Music Festival – USA  (July 13-16)

Credit: Great South Bay Music Festival Facebook
Credit: Great South Bay Music Festival Facebook

The Festival

‘Non-corporate’ is the token word to describe the Great South Bay Music Festival. After all, it’s the largest and longest-running family-themed music event on Long Island, NY, which gives it a down-to-earth vibe from Day One. Located in the bayside village of Patchogue, Great South Bay is where you come to find some old-fashioned G-rated relaxation. 

 

Credit: Great South Bay Music Festival Facebook
Credit: Great South Bay Music Festival Facebook

What To Expect

Over 65 artists. Four stages. Countless art stalls and food. At the on-site Craft Village, you’ll get the chance to make your own tie-dye t-shirt, or sit down for some exotic Henna designs. So load up your car, and travel over to the Great South Bay Music Festival alongside friends and family. It’s the kind of place with something for everyone, and plenty of 90s throwback tunes to go around.

P.S. Nostalgic Millennials will be happy to discover Taking Back Sunday and New Found Glory are headlining this year. For more information, head to the festival’s official website.

8. ImPulsTanz – AUSTRIA (July 13 – August 13)

16_Peaches_Hennessy_CriticalJoy_05(c)EmiliaMilewska

The Festival

Tie up those shoes. Now, tie them tighter. ImPulsTanz doesn’t hold back when it comes to embracing the world of dance — and neither should you. Also known as the Vienna International Dance Festival, ImPulsTanz represents a global gathering of dancers, choreographers, and artists alike. It’s all about rhythm, rocking out, and descending upon the Central European gem of Austria in stride. 

  14_ImPulsTanzWorkshop_SalimGauwloos_31(c)NinaSaurugg

What To Expect

The unspoken formula to ImPulsTanz is simple: sweat, and more sweat. Every summer, dance aficionados come to Vienna to collaborate on never-before-seen dance routines for five weeks. This festival is a culmination of those weeks; a thrilling testament to hard work, contemporary dance, and trendsetting performances.

That said, if you’re a fellow dancer, it’s worth checking out one of the various open workshops and honing your skills alongside global greats. You can also watch one of the 60+ performances slated for this year. Additional information is available on the ImPulsTanz website

9. Reggae Sumfest – JAMAICA (July 16-22)

Credit: Reggae Sumfest Facebook
Credit: Reggae Sumfest Facebook

The Festival

If there’s one person who understood the restorative effects of reggae, it was unquestionably Bob Marley. The Rastafari legend once said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain,” which has long been the essence of Reggae Sumfest, a week-long music festival taking place in the luxurious quarters of Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Credit: Reggae Sumfest Facebook
Credit: Reggae Sumfest Facebook

What To Expect

2017 will mark the 25th anniversary of Reggae Sumfest. That means a few things for visitors: 1) more crowds, 2) more unforgettable music, and 3) more opportunities to make history. The festival will kick off with a “Wild Beach Party” on the 16th, a yacht cruise on the 17th, and the ultimate retro “block party” devoted to 90s dancehall shortly thereafter.

Reggae lovers will also find themselves in paradise. Artists like Bounty Killer and Jah Cure are headliners, alongside countless others. Check out the line-up here.

10. OldTown Festival – POLAND (July 17-23)

OTF_800x600_fota2

The Festival

Don’t let the name “OldTown Festival” deceive you. This week-long Polish gathering isn’t devoted to the past, but instead, the post-apocalypse. Unfolding over an abandoned airfield in the northwestern city of Stargard, OldTown offers a scintillating peek into what the world might look like shortly after its end. Think Mad Max meets Waterworld.

 

OTF_800x600_fota3

What To Expect

Hordes of participants are invited to build their own mutant-proof encampments, drive around customized vehicles, and dress in end-of-the-world-style clothing. At the focal point of the festival is a 72-hour role-playing game, which combines the forces of improv, airsoft guns, and a “simulation” of OldTown’s emerging politics and economy.

This is where you come to experience action-packed fun beyond the end of the world, but at a hefty price. At roughly 80 euros a ticket, OldTown is an investment you’ll surely never forget. To learn more, visit the website here, and buy your tickets early, because sales end on June 30.

11. FloydFest – USA (July 26-30)

Credit: FloydFest Facebook
Credit: FloydFest Facebook

The Festival

Welcome to the Land of Music, Magic, and Mountains. Set across the sprawling slopes of Floyd, Virginia, FloydFest is a funky, five-day celebration of everything that makes life worthwhile. It’s little wonder that, every year, visitors come to the festival from all over the United States, looking to delight in the mountainous views, outdoor life, and the 100+ artists who make up this high-altitude arena. 

 

Credit: FloydFest Facebook
Credit: FloydFest Facebook

What To Expect

FloydFest is the modern epitome of Southern Comfort. It’s every bit your ticket to eclectic music, like Thievery Corporation, as it is your opportunity for relaxation in the sleepy Blue Ridge Mountains. Here, you’ll delight in quality brews, tons of food, healing activities, and a slew of vibrant vendors ready to make your Paul Bunyan dreams come true. With tickets ranging from $95 to $255 USD, find the price that’s right for you, and don’t miss out. Learn more at the FloydFest website.

12. Farmfest – UNITED KINGDOM (July 28-29)

Credit: Farmfest
Credit: Farmfest

The Festival

Farm life just got a whole lot more interesting. Set amidst a pocket-sized field in Somerset, the United Kingdom’s own Farmfest represents a blend of unique, crafty entertainment, designed with total curiosity in mind. That said, attendees don’t come with many preconceived notions, but instead, they sport an open mind in order to enjoy the electronic, indie, folk and world music that unfold across Farmfest stages.

 

Credit: Farmfest
Credit: Farmfest

What To Expect

Farmfest bills itself as a “mischievous melting pot” of a festival — one full of music, arts, people, freedom, and naturally, partying. Over the course of two days, visitors dance around their makeshift campsites. While some may choose to bring tents, the festival also offers what are known as “luxury bell tents,” or #glamping opportunities, where couples and friends can rent pimped out camping accommodations starting at 250 euros.

But there won’t be much sleeping. Between live DJs, performances, carnival rides, meditation centers, and stand-up comedy acts, you’ll be busy laboring over what to attend first. Here’s the Farmfest website to help you decide.

13. Hinterland Music Festival – USA (August 4-5)

Hinterland_byLucasMoser_OldCrowMedicineShow

The Festival

Iowa might be know for little more than rolling plains and cornfields, but when it comes to festivals, that is prime territory for an all-out ball. Enter Hinterland Music Festival, an event curated for people who love music and outdoor life. Held in the rural wonderland of St. Charles, Hinterland is designed for the indie-namaste-earthy-anti-GMO types, which are welcomed to camp anywhere in the Iowa countryside.

 

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What To Expect

To camp at Hinterland is to truly become one with the outdoors. Expect to wake up at sunrise, chow down breakfast with some your fellow campers, walk to the first musical act of the day, and stick around until the final headliner. When you want a break, head over to one of the native Midwestern food or alcohol stalls, or pick up your favorite vinyl from the merchandise tent. This relaxed, upbeat and eclectic festival asks only that you be yourself.

To learn more, head over to the Hinterland website.

14. Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival – IRELAND (August 5-9)

Tubbercurry Old Fair Day2

The Festival

There’s nothing quite like experiencing Ireland in all of its cozy, limerick-filled glory. And at the Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival, that’s precisely what’s in store. Situated in the market town of Tubbercurry, the five-day event is your introduction into Irish craftsmanship, artisan fare, and family-friendly fun. Cheers to experiencing the open-air freedom of St. Patrick’s homeland.
Tubbercurry Old Fair Day 3

What To Expect

If the name “Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival” strikes you as adorable, and invokes that fuzzy feeling of being at grandma’s house, then you’re right on track with the mission of the festival itself. Watch as the town of Tubbercurry transforms into a crafts and heritage village devoted to the sights and sounds of Ireland. Or maybe take a gander at the glassblowing, spinning, weaving, and basket-making stands.

Either way, you’ll find yourself in the midst of artisanal bliss, and we encourage you to soak up every bit of it. Learn more information about the Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival here

15. Festival des Traditions du Monde de Sherbrooke – CANADA (August 9-13)

Credit: Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke Facebook
Credit: Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke Facebook

The Festival 

The Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke might strike you as a mouthful, but that’s a good thing. Every year, this festival transcends into a quintessential global village, where the wonders of the world are unveiled across a series of thematic tents. Here, you’ll take a plunge into the heart of culture, exotic customs, and gastronomic discoveries.  

Credit: Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke Facebook
Credit: Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke Facebook

What To Expect 

What do you expect to see when you look out your window to the world? This five-day festival might give you a solid preview. Packed with over 17 international restaurants, and 200 shows, workshops and activities, Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke promises to take you around the globe in a span of a few blocks.

Considering 2017 marks the festival’s 20th anniversary, you’d be smart to expect some notable upgrades. Learn more about the festival here.

16. Riga Salsa Festival – LATVIA (August 11-13)

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The Festival in Singapore

It’s time to feel the rhythm of the night. As one of the most important dance events across the Baltic States, the Riga Salsa Festival invites global visitors to shimmy their way over to Latvia for a full-fledge cocktail of passion and precision. No, this isn’t Cuba, but that’s certainly hard to tell at the first sight of a Riga-approved spin. 

 

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What to Expect 

Be ready for four days of workshops, dancing, breathtaking shows and live DJs. For the first time this year, Singapore salsa sensation Brenda Liew will also host a bootcamp for female attendees, teaching true bachata routines for everyone but the faint of heart. Whether you dance until sunrise or jive until dawn, just don’t come without proper attire. To learn more, visit the Riga Salsa Festival website.

17. Rose of Tralee International Festival – IRELAND (August 16-22)

Credit: Domnick Walsh Photography (Rose of Tralee)
Credit: Domnick Walsh Photography (Rose of Tralee)

The Festival 

Miss Congeniality just went global. Every year, at the Rose of Tralee International Festival, young women from all over Ireland — or of Irish descent — gather in an attempt to be crowned the coveted “Rose of Tralee.” The title signifies their place as an “ambassador” around the world, and it’s one that brings scores of visitors to the quaint town of Tralee, where the festival is held.

 

Credit: Rose of Tralee
Credit: Rose of Tralee

What To Expect 

At the core of the Rose of Tralee International Festival is a true tribute to the global Irish diaspora. That’s why, for the Rose of Tralee competition, women from 32 Irish counties and Irish communities overseas gather for their chance to represent Tralee on a global stage. As for the visitors, they come to indulge in three on-site parades, fireworks displays, a fashion show and street entertainment.

Credit the luck of the Irish? We think so. Learn more at the festival’s official website here

18. Journeys Festival International – UNITED KINGDOM (August 21 – October 29)

Credit: Journeys Festival International Facebook
Credit: Journeys Festival International Facebook

The Festival 

In what has to be one of the most enlightening events of our time, Journeys Festival International presents the artistic works of refugees and asylum seekers to the general public. Through showcasing a number of art forms, such as music, performance, and visual arts, this festival bridges creative talent, expression, and culture across a number of cities in the United Kingdom.

Credit: Journeys Festival International Facebook
Credit: Journeys Festival International Facebook

What To Expect 

For two months, Journeys Festival International will travel through Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth, portraying incredible stories of refugees and asylum seekers in the modern age. Although the programming is still being developed, one thing is for certain: this is a festival with a mission unlike any other. To keep an eye on upcoming events and dates, check out the official website.

 

 

Jump To Any Global Festival By Clicking Here:

 

1. Erlanger Bergkirchweih     |     2. Cork Harbour Festival    |     3. Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival

4. Budapest Pride Festival & March  |   5. Rebild Festival    |     6. Festival d’Avignon

7. Great South Bay Music Festival  |   8. ImPulsTanz |     9.  Reggae Sumfest

10. OldTown Festival  |    11.  FloydFest  |     12. Farmfest | 13.  Hinterland Music Festival

14.  Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival  |    15.  Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke

16.  Riga Salsa Festival |    17.  Rose of Tralee International Festival  |    18.  Journeys Festival International

19.   Bloop Festival |  20. Pangea Festival |  21. Aarhus Festival | 22. Nuart Festival

23. Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | 24. Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival | 25. Visa pour l’Image

26. Peperoncino Festival | 27. Arnold Classic Europe | 28. Steirischer Herbst | 29. Startup Fest Europe

30. MIMO Festival | 31. Herbst & Winefest | 32. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

33. SIGNAL Festival | 34. Vegfest London | 35. Prague Writers’ Festival | 36. Orlando Beer Festival

 

19. Bloop Festival – SPAIN (August 23 – September 9)

BLOOP Festival Phlegm & AEC Interesni Kazki Photo by Marc Colomines copy
Photo credit: Marc Colomines

The Festival

Some festivals are devoted to music, while others pay tribute to the outdoors, art or culture. Then there’s the Bloop Festival, which despite its funky, childish name, invokes a high-minded concept for visitors to “think proactively.” What exactly does that mean? Well, every year, a theme is selected for the festival, and visitors get the chance to embrace fine arts from within the party haven of Ibiza.

BLOOP FESTIVAL DGP at Space Ibiza

 

What To Expect 

Perhaps fittingly, the Bloop Festival theme for 2017 is “CHANGES.” It would seem as global governments undergo a series of transformations, so too does Bloop encourage festival-goers to contemplate what those could look like in their own artistic lives. From bold murals and lurid paintings, to the latest parties and workshops for children, this nearly month long event represents the world’s first, free “proactive arts” festival.

Sidenote: Bloop takes place over the course of September in Ibiza. That means you won’t have to combat summer crowds or heat, but instead, surrender to the unparalleled nightlife of the boho-chic Spanish isle. Plan your trip here.

20. Pangea Festival – GERMANY (August 24-27)

Pangea Festival - Sport - Dan Petermann (2)

The Festival 

In paying homage to the earth’s origins as a supercontinent, Pangea Festival revolves around the idea that “home is where the heart is.” And in the case of this four-day, adrenaline-laden event, home springs out of the largely forgotten, northern German district of Pütnitz, a remote hideaway that’s served as the picturesque backdrop for this spontaneous celebration since 2013.

Pangea Festival - Kindsein - PJ Valentine

What To Expect 

Any self-respecting child envisions a world in which they can dive onto a gigantic inflatable raft, and fly into the sunset before crash-landing in a lake. Or, at least, that’s the dream of young adults wanting to live out their former summer camp days at Pangea Festival.

Jump around in a bouncy castle. Dive into a ball pit. Wakeboard. Skateboard. And kiss all night. These are just a few of the activities available on the self-proclaimed island of Pangea – one you’ll never want to depart. Learn more here.

21. Aarhus Festival – DENMARK (August 25 – September 3)

Credit: Martin Dam Kristensen (Aarhus Festival)
Credit: Martin Dam Kristensen (Aarhus Festival)

The Festival 

It’s not everyday one gets the chance to witness grown Scandinavian men in Superman costumes. Or bask in the world of virtual reality. Or experience everything a gastronomic capital has in store. But at Denmark’s own Aarhus Festival, a ten-day arts and cultural celebration, no stretch of the imagination is off limits.

Credit: Martin Dam Kristensen (Aarhus Festival)
Credit: Martin Dam Kristensen (Aarhus Festival)

What To Expect 

Jutting somewhere off Denmark’s eastern coast, Aarhus resides as a centuries-old city that’s anything but stuck in the past. In fact, it’s avidly devoted to modernizing by the day, and the Aarhus Festival is merely one reflection of how to do so. Between street fairs and progressive galleries, exhibitions, and entertainment, the festival sits at the forefront of “what’s in” both in Denmark and beyond.

To note: This year’s festival theme is “Bridging,” and the city of Aarhus has pledged to “build bridges” across art forms, neighborhoods, knowledge, interests and experiences. Come see what that promise entails, and check out the Aarhus Festival website for more information.

22. Nuart Festival – NORWAY (August 31 – September 3)

NUART FESTIVAL, STAVANGER NORWAY

The Festival 

Banksy would be so proud. Since 2001, Norway’s own Nuart Festival has overtaken sidewalks, buildings, and city blocks, all in the name of street art. Hosted by the enchanting coastal town of Stavanger, this festival serves as one of the most dynamic outdoor art museums in the world. No canvas required. 

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What To Expect 

Every September, a world-renowned team of artists flock to Stavanger in anticipation of adding to Norway’s most enticing art exhibit. The idea being: while hundreds of public art works have already graced this cityscape, there’s always room for more.

Come for the unbelievable murals or aerial exhibitions, which can be seen from miles away. Stay for the film screenings, panels, debates and workshops, which accompany the festival fare. To learn more, visit the Nuart Festival website.

23. Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival – GERMANY (September 1 – November 5)

Credit: Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival
Credit: Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

The Festival 

No city knows how to kick off the fall season quite like Ludwigsburg. This Germanic metropolis is proudly home to the world’s largest pumpkin festival, offering a range of sculptures, fields, and food, which are entirely devoted to those bulbous, orange beings. Ludwigsburg is also a place where history’s been made: the festival has held the world record for the heaviest pumpkin — twice. 

Credit: Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival
Credit: Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

What To Expect 

From mermaids and dinosaurs, to livestock in the Alps, the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival has sampled a number of creative themes over the years. But in 2017, visitors should expect to see a colosseum made out of minute gourds, or perhaps a Trevi Fountain that’s far too orange, seeing as this year’s theme is “Rome.” 

Pumpkins partly aside, the festival also features a number of autumn activities designed for the entire family. To learn more about what’s in store, visit the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival website today.

24. Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival – IRELAND (September 1 – October 8)

Credit: Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival
Credit: Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival

The Festival 

If there’s a Prince Charming out there for everyone, chances are he’s tucked away in the pint-sized town of Lisdoonvarna. But ladies, worry not — there’s plenty of suitors to go around this Irish isle. In fact, at the annual Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, you’ll be given the pick of the litter. Considered the world’s biggest matchmaking festival to date, Lisdoonvarna is Europe’s only singles festival, which makes for a Cupid-approved time. 

 

Credit: Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival
Credit: Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival

What To Expect 

Every year, roughly 60,000 singles converge on the stunning west coast of Ireland for the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. While there, participants dance the day and night away around local venues, or defer their love searches to Willie Day, a third-generation matchmaker with over 50 years in the business of romance. Legend has it that Daly has facilitated around 3,000 marriages within that time.

So whether you come for the live concerts, dancing, or to take your shot at love, Lisdoonvarna is waiting with open arms. Find out more here.

 

 

25. Visa pour l’Image – FRANCE (September 2-17)

Credit: Visa pour l'Image Facebook
Credit: Visa pour l’Image Facebook

The Festival 

Cloistered away in the south of France, Perpignan lies close to the border of Spain and the Mediterranean Sea. Such geography has long made the city a place of wonder, with a Catalan medieval influence hidden somewhere at its core. Yet underneath the tree-lined squares and tangerine-pained tenements, another event unfolds to add to the Perpignan way of life: Visa Pour l’Image, an international photojournalism festival currently in its 26th year. 

Credit: Visa pour l'Image Facebook
Credit: Visa pour l’Image Facebook

What To Expect 

As one might expect, Visa Pour l’Image offers 25 exhibitions and six screenings within some of Perpignan’s most stunning venues. This is where kindred photography spirits come to bask in everything the visual art form has to offer, while enjoying a lazy day along nearby Canet beach or Café de La Poste

Be sure to stick around for the dramatic open-air screenings at the medieval enclosure of Campo Santo. And don’t forget your camera. Discover more about Visa Pour l’Image here.

 

 

26. Peperoncino Festival – ITALY (September 6-10)

Credit: Peperoncino Festival
Credit: Peperoncino Festival

The Festival 

Fire in the hole! Well, kind of. At the Peperoncino Festival — also known as the “Chili Pepper Festival” — attendees gather to embark upon the ultimate test of competitive eating. If you can win the eye-watering marathon, centered around the hottest peppers found in Italy, you’ll be awarded a week’s free hotel stay for in a local resort, and a personal driver to pick you up at the airport. 

 

Credit: Peperoncino Festival
Credit: Peperoncino Festival

What To Expect 

The marvelous coastal town of Diamante is where the Peperoncino Festival calls home. But this chili-guzzling contest isn’t made any easier by the area’s surrounding beauty. In fact, as contestants shovel down nearly 50-gram dishes of peppers, no water is allowed to be consumed. Though, in true Italian fashion, olive oil and bread are the only reprieves. 

If you’re not one for unreasonably hot feats of endurance, you can instead soak up a series of cooking shows, street jazz, and food fairs. There’s even a “Miss Chili” contest, which is devoted to christening the hottest woman in town. More information is available here.

27. Arnold Classic Europe – SPAIN (September 22-24)

Credit: Arnold Class Europe Facebook
Credit: Arnold Class Europe Facebook

The Festival 

The unofficial motto of this festival is, “Hasta la vista, baby!” Considered to be the biggest multi-sport event in Europe, the Arnold Classic pays homage to the Governator himself — Arnold Schwarzenegger. In other words, it’s safe to expect bulging muscles, tons of spray tans, and superhuman tone you can’t quite believe is real.

 

Credit: Arnold Classic Europe Facebook
Credit: Arnold Classic Europe Facebook

What To Expect 

Over 120 companies are represented at Arnold Classic Europe, which boasts around 40 sport competitions for participants from all over the world. Taking place in the Spanish cosmopolitan capital of Barcelona, the event is sure to be a testosterone-filled show of human strength. Come gander at some real-life gladiators in your spare time. 

To learn more, visit the Arnold Classic Europe website.

28. Steirischer Herbst – AUSTRIA (September 22 – October 15)

steirischer herbst_by Jens Sethzman

The Festival 

There are few contemporary art festivals in the world which are truly multidisciplinary, but steirischer herbst is undoubtedly one of them. Unfolding from within the charming city of Graz, and its surrounding Styria province, this unforgettable three-week event is a testament to what makes art worthwhile. 

steirischer herbst_by wolf silveri

What To Expect 

Theater. Performance. Music. Film. Literature. Theory. Architecture. It’s difficult to find one facet of art that steirischer herbst doesn’t cover, and considering this year marks its 50th anniversary, re-invention is inevitable. 

Art experts, don’t miss out on the chance to discuss aesthetic positions, large-scale exhibitions and theoretical discourse. This could be your dream event, so keep an eye out for updates here.

 

29. Startup Fest Europe – THE NETHERLANDS (September 25-29)

Credit: Startup Fest Europe Facebook
Credit: Startup Fest Europe Facebook

The Festival 

In the modern age, startups represent the epitome of what so many people want out of their work lives. So it’s understandable that in 2017, there’s an entire festival devoted to startup culture, and it’s increasing presence throughout the business world and beyond. 

 

Credit: Startup Fest Europe Facebook
Credit: Startup Fest Europe Facebook

What To Expect 

For five days in September, Startup Fest Europe will take over the Netherlands, bringing together founders, investors, developers, and business leaders to embrace one central theme. In the case of 2017, “Global Challenges, Startup Solutions,” which means you’ll want to get thinking on how you can solve some of the world’s problems from within your cozy, co-working space. 

The festival will also feature meet-ups, deep dives, and deal-making opportunities, so come with business cards in hand. More information is available here.

30. MIMO Festival – BRAZIL (September 28 – November 19)

Credit: Beto Figueiroa (MIMO Festival Flickr)
Credit: Beto Figueiroa (MIMO Festival Flickr)

The Festival 

This year, MIMO Festival will overtake Brazil across some of its major party cities: Tiradentes (September 28-29), Ouro Preto (September 29-30), Paraty (October 6-8), Rio de Janeiro (November 10-12), and Olinda (November 17-19). What does that mean for our Southern friends? They’ll have more chances to live up one of the greatest music and cultural festivals of our time. 

 

Credit: Gustavo Otero (MIMO Festival Flickr)
Credit: Gustavo Otero (MIMO Festival Flickr)

What To Expect 

MIMO Festival was first conceived inside of a church back in 2004, and since that time, it has become a household name around Brazil. Featuring an insane line-up of well-known artists and film presentations, MIMO is where Brazilians and foreign visitors come to find out what’s percolating on the local scene. 

Aside from the entertainment, visitors also get to delight in some of Brazil’s most historic cities, all the while jamming to sidewalk samba — caipirinhas in hand. Find out more here.

31. Herbst & Winefest – GERMANY (September 29 – October 1)

Credit: André Wirsig
Credit: André Wirsig

The Festival 

Wine lovers, welcome to your new home. Nestled away in the secluded town of Radebeul, Germany, Herbst & Weinfest is your ticket to homegrown wine, international theater, and a three-day reprieve away from the outside world. Here, you’ll have to resist continually refilling your glass, as you learn about the splendid vines from the state of Saxony. 

Credit: André Wirsig
Credit: André Wirsig

What To Expect 

If you thought even for a second that Germany is all about beer, Herbst & Weinfest will help you reconsider. This autumnal extravaganza brings together winegrowers from Saxony, and wine drinkers from all over the world, uniting the local vines with an international audience.

When you come, don’t be surprised if you see classic festival fare (food, live performances, etc.), as well as something truly unforgettable. Every year, on the final eve of Herbst & Weinfest, a wooden labyrinth designed by the artist Richard von Gigantikow burns down in a fiery spectacle. But don’t worry, it will be rebuilt next year, just as the festival is reborn. More information is available here.

 

32. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – USA (October 7-15)

Credit: Raymond Watt (Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Facebook)
Credit: Raymond Watt (Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Facebook)

The Festival 

Talk about a high-flying spectacle. Every year, at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, countless hot air balloons jut off into the sky, with passengers in open-air flight. But if the idea scares you, just know: the festival sports a 45-year safety record today, and all hot air balloons come equipped with professional pilots and crews. 

Credit: Victor Banta (Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Facebook)
Credit: Victor Banta (Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Facebook)

What To Expect 

As the largest hot air balloon event in the world, this Albuquerque fiesta is the ‘go to’ festival for altitude junkies and world-renowned pilots alike. Every day, visitors are welcome to ascend into the sky, or stick to the ground.

Complete with laser light shows, fireworks, balloon races, and on-site rodeos, this nine-day celebration is a high-octane fiesta of epic proportions. To learn more, visit the festival’s official website

 

33. SIGNAL Festival – CZECH REPUBLIC (October 12-15)

Credit: David Jančík (SIGNAL Festival Instagram)
Credit: David Jančík (SIGNAL Festival Instagram)

The Festival 

Prague is a stunning city of mystery, intrigue, culture and life. Taking all of that into consideration, the SIGNAL Festival of light, art, and emerging technologies, beautifully unveils itself throughout some of the Czech capital’s lesser-known hideaways. 

Credit: SIGNAL Festival Instagram
Credit: SIGNAL Festival Instagram

What To Expect 

For the fifth year in a row, the SIGNAL Festival is devoted to lighting up Prague in all of its baroque glory. Today, it’s considered to be the largest cultural event in the Czech Republic, attracting 1.5 million viewers, and represents a never-before-seen integration of light, art, and urban space across extraordinary local venues.

The Guardian once ranked SIGNAL Festival as one of the ten best festivals of its kind in the world. Come see why, and peruse the schedule beforehand.

 

34. Vegfest London – UNITED KINGDOM (October 21-22)

VegfestUKLondon2017

The Festival 

Kindly step aside, carnivores. VegFest London is devout in its grass-fed roots, and today, it’s considered to be the United Kingdom’s most successful vegan event. From food villages and cinema, to live performances and sustainability summits, this one-day festival packs a punch in a rather short amount of time. 

Credit: Alieska Robles (Vegfest London Facebook)
Credit: Alieska Robles (Vegfest London Facebook)

What To Expect 

What is a person exactly allowed to eat at a vegan festival? Surprisingly, pretty much anything. That’s because vegan food vendors tend to know how to make incredible dishes out of ingredients that don’t contain animal byproducts. 

That aside, VegFest London will also have talks, cookery demos, and workshops, designed for those who want to learn more about how to rev up an animal-less way of life. Check out updates here.

35. Prague Writers’ Festival – CZECH REPUBLIC (November 10-15)

Credit: Petr Machan (Prague Writers' Festival Facebook)
Credit: Petr Machan (Prague Writers’ Festival Facebook)

The Festival 

Each and every year, the literary giants of the world come together to celebrate the wonders of the Prague Writers’ Festival. Existing as the first independent literary festival since the Velvet Revolution, this five-day event holds a special place in the hearts of local Czechs, and those who come to see their favorite writers in the flesh. 

Credit: Prague Writers' Festival Facebook
Credit: Prague Writers’ Festival Facebook

What To Expect 

Hosting an impressive array of authors, Nobel laureates, and Pulitzer Prize winners, the Prague Writers’ Festival has become the place to be for anyone involved in the global literary scene. All discussions are open to the public, and centered around certain topics of our time. What’s most encouraged is political discourse, as this unique cultural space prides itself on helping to bring the Czech Republic into the literary limelight.

To learn more, visit the Prague Writers’ Festival website.

 

36. Orlando Beer Festival – USA (November 11)

Credit: Holly Whelden (Orlando Beer Festival)
Credit: Holly Whelden (Orlando Beer Festival)

The Festival 

Drink up, folks! The Orlando Beer Festival is not for the faint of heart. This one-day, all-out celebration is home to over 200 craft and premium beers, hailing from the state of Florida and the world beyond. We expect a full report back of your drunken festivities. 

Credit: Holly Whelden (Orlando Beer Festival)
Credit: Holly Whelden (Orlando Beer Festival)

What To Expect 

Aside from the residing as Orlando’s best and biggest beer festival, this event also represents ‘Merica at its core. There are countless local breweries on-site, as well as wine- and whiskey-tasting booths, interactive games, scrumptious eats, and live music to keep the party popping off. Secure your ticket ($35 USD) here.

So, which global festival will it be?

 

Yes, we know that’s a tough question. From the spice-eating coasts of Calabria, Italy, to the illuminated Czech skies and streets, the world is brimming with legendary places to explore in 2017. And who could forget the sheer number of beer festivals ahead? We hope our list of the top 36 global festivals has helped you to better plan out what’s sure to be your best year yet, or encourage you to finally quit that job you’ve been toiling over.

Be sure to share this list with your trusty travel companions!

Jump To Any Global Festival By Clicking Here:

 

1. Erlanger Bergkirchweih     |     2. Cork Harbour Festival    |     3. Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival

4. Budapest Pride Festival & March  |   5. Rebild Festival    |     6. Festival d’Avignon

7. Great South Bay Music Festival  |   8. ImPulsTanz |     9.  Reggae Sumfest

10. OldTown Festival  |    11.  FloydFest  |     12. Farmfest | 13.  Hinterland Music Festival

14.  Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival  |    15.  Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke

16.  Riga Salsa Festival |    17.  Rose of Tralee International Festival  |    18.  Journeys Festival International

19.   Bloop Festival |  20. Pangea Festival |  21. Aarhus Festival | 22. Nuart Festival

23. Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | 24. Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival | 25. Visa pour l’Image

26. Peperoncino Festival | 27. Arnold Classic Europe | 28. Steirischer Herbst | 29. Startup Fest Europe

30. MIMO Festival | 31. Herbst & Winefest | 32. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

33. SIGNAL Festival | 34. Vegfest London | 35. Prague Writers’ Festival | 36. Orlando Beer Festival

 

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About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a freelance writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, learning new cultures and surfing new waves.