These days big music festivals aren’t always just about the music. There’s awesome food, arts and culture, cool parades, fun activities and workshops and more, as you can see from my Festival No. 6 highlights last week!
But there are some festivals around the world that don’t have any music at all. They’re all about having a laugh with quirky activities or appreciating a new culture. I’ve been lucky enough to go to a few good ones like the Songkran Water Fest in Thailand and the Sydney Mardi Gras, but there are SO many more on my bucketlist! I thought I’d share with you the ones at the top of my list…
Tomatina Festival, Spain
This annual tomato fight in Bunol, Spain, is firmly on my festival bucketlist after seeing VickyFlipFlop’s footage this year. It looks kind of terrifying but also like I’d get a kick out of it. Apparently as well as pelting tomatoes at each other there’s also a pole dash where people try to climb up a greasy pole to get a ham at the top… That just doesn’t sound real life so I obvs have to see it.
Ahh the Instagrammer in me is longing to go to the spectacular event that is the Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Festival. Set amongst a rugged and volcanic terrain of so-called “fairy chimneys”, colourful hot air balloons take to the sky in a really amazing spectacle. The Instagram photos just fill me with wanderlust, I HAVE to go! Well I’ve just teamed up with Thomson to let you folks know that their flights to Turkey touch down in not one but four of the country’s main airports. So plenty of choice to book and experience this awesome Hot Air Balloon festival! BRB, off to find flights.
Cheese-Rolling Festival, UK
This is megalolz. A festival in Gloucestershire whereby people race to roll a wheel of cheese down a very steep hill. Now, who wouldn’t want to go to this?? Apparently it’s actually really hardcore and contestants get injured and break bones and that. But I still really want to see it, especially as such an avid cheese fan.
Rioja Wine Harvest Festival, Spain
I love red wine and Rioja is my fave, so I’m keen to go to this week-long festival in Spain in September. Not only are there parades with people in costumes with massive heads, a famous wine fountain and the activity of foot-crushing grapes, but oh yeah there’s tapas. This is such a grown-up festival, but I really wanna go. Alternatively, head there in June instead and indulge in a giant wine fight! I mean it sounds like a waste of some delicious wine but hey that’s just me.
Hogmanay is what the Scots celebrate on New Year’s. And they go ALL OUT. Whereas most of us may go to the pub on New Year’s Eve, have a glass of champers, kiss at midnight then go home with a kebab, Scotland celebrates in a much more elaborate and dramatic fashion. With its origins in wild Viking parties, there is a torchlight procession, flaming Viking boats, fireworks and mental street parties. Sign me up right now.
Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Thailand
There’s something pretty magical about lantern festivals I think. And Yi Peng in Thailand looks particularly special with masses of rice paper lanterns with candles inside being released into the night sky in Chiang Mai. It’s meant to look a bit like a swarm of jellyfish which is pretty cool. I definitely need to revisit Chiang Mai at some point, so I might just try to coincide it with this pretty cultural festival.
A total backpacker classic, don’t we all want to go to Oktoberfest and wear lederhosen and drink giant steins of beer with our best friends? Every year I decide that I’m going but never actually get around to organising it, but I absolutely have to go at some point. It’s a complete bucketlist item. A lot of the big tour companies do fairly cheap packages where they drive you on a coach from London and include camping or hostel accommodation whilst you’re there. Some even include some cool sights in Germany like Neuschwanstein Castle. Lush.
What do you think of my festival bucketlist? Any you would recommend? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!