Bucket List Worthy
Travel and music have always gone hand and hand. Whether you enjoy listening to your favorite tunes while on the road, or find comfort and solace in familiar songs when far from home, music can be a wonderful travel companion. But more than that, music truly is one of the few universal elements that can unite people around the world. Cultures and languages may create barriers to communication and understanding, but those barriers can often be breached by a shared love of music. It can make us sing and dance with complete strangers, and create indelible memories linked to specific times and places. With that in mind, here are 7 of the best music festivals from around the globe, each of which is worth traveling for.
South by Southwest (Austin, TX – USA)
Each March, Austin, Texas – the self proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World” – plays host to a ten-day music festival, called South by Southwest (SXSW), that has become the place to find new, and up and coming bands. Yes, SXSW also features some big name acts as well, but the sheer number of raw, hungry artists looking to be discovered there can be overwhelming. Venues are spread out across Austin, and are often in quirky restaurants and bars, allowing visitors to enjoy great food and drink, along with music that literally spans every genre.
Mawazine (Rabat, Morocco)
You wouldn’t expect Morocco to be home to one of the largest music festivals in the world, but each year it hosts Mawazine, a showcase for great African artists, along with some of the biggest international headliners as well. Last year, Rihanna was amongst those who performed, and this year Justin Timberlake will be there as well. With its unique blend of sounds, the week long festival attracts more than 2.5 million attendees, most of whom are eager to see their favorite stars, while being introduced to new ones too.
Coachella (Indio, CA – USA)
Held in the high desert of California in April each year, Coachella has earned itself a reputation for attracting the best musical talent in the business on an annual basis. The festival is known for its rollicking atmosphere, with big name celebrities mixing in with the regular crowd, just to hear their favorite bands play. Those crowds can grow to hundreds of thousands strong at times, but the energy and enthusiasm on display is unmatched. Coachella is a festival that has transcended music, and become an event that is legendary for its party scene as well.
Rock in Rio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Rock in Rio is one of the more unique music festivals in the world because it has grown so big, that it now actually alternates destinations each year. On odd numbered years, it is held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and in even numbered years it jumps across the pond to Lisbon and Madrid. For years, these festivals have welcomed some of the biggest names in the business, and that hasn’t changed as the decades have past. Last year, in Rio, Beyonce and Springsteen lit things up. This year, it is the Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, and Linkin Park who will rock the crowds. They’ll be surrounded by a host of other international stars, in a variety of genres too, bringing variety to a very packed schedule. If you want tickets for this one, you better book early. They have been known to sell out as much as two years in advance.
Bonnaroo (Manchester, TN – USA)
Each year, Bonnaroo offers one of the best line-ups in terms of big name acts, up-and -coming bands, and new artists looking to breakout. The four-day long festival spans a multitude of genres, including rock, pop, hip-hop, electronica, and more, all in a state that is best known for country and blues. The line-up this year includes such artists such as Kanye West, Jack White, Elton John, Skrillex, and numerous others.
Splendor in the Grass (Byron Bay, New South Wales – Australia)
One of the premiere music festivals “down under,” Splendor in the Grass is an excellent mix of top talent from abroad, and home grown artists showcasing their skills. With acts like Outkast, Lily Allen, Foster the People, and Childish Gambino set to appear this year, the festival will no doubt be a top draw for music lovers in Australia. Smaller stages will give you a glimpse of what’s hot locally, while the larger venues offer a rotating line-up of rock, pop, hip-hop, and more. If you needed yet one more excuse to go to Australia, this music fest just might finally convince you.
Donauinselfest (Vienna, Austria)
Donauinselfest, the largest music festival in the world, is held in Vienna, Austria each summer. It welcomes over 3 million fans, who come to cheer on more than 2000 acts, spread out across 21 stages. Held on a stretch of land located on Danube Island, the three-day, non-stop, musical party tends to be mostly Euro-centric in nature. But the atmosphere is filled with plenty of electricity that any music lover is sure to love. And when you’re not busy attending the concert, Vienna has a rich history – musical and otherwise – to explore as well.