There’s just something about a festival that warms your heart and puts a smile on your face! Everybody arriving to have the time of their lives, enjoying a shared interest and mingling with the like-minded. But there are some festivals that sprinkle a little extra stardust over those who attend, those that are a little extra fun or pack more character than the rest. We’ve picked out some of our top festivals from around the world, so where will you be heading next?
Cascamorras in Baza – Granada, Spain
If you’re looking for a historic festival that’s ingrained into the area’s culture, look no further than Cascamorras! An Andalusian festival that flies under the radar for so many, it has a fascinating tale and is a true spectacle to behold. Dating back more than 500 years, this is based on a now friendly feud between the residents of Baza and Guadix – all stemming from a squabble over the statue of the Virgen de la Piedad. The kooky Cascamorras heads from Guadix to Baza to try and steal the Virgen on September 6th each year. Trying to remain clean in the process, Baza’s residents cover themselves in grease and throw this and paint at the hopeful thief. After three days the Cascamorras returns to Guadix empty handed and is given an angry reception by paint-throwing locals.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival in Croatia
What a way to see this wonderful city! From mid-July to late August the Summer Festival takes over the streets of Dubrovnik, with more than 80 performances gracing its iconic monuments. A programme packed with cultural highlights like orchestras and opera, film and theatre and music that makes a fitting accompaniment to this brilliant seaside gem. Even if these don’t take your fancy, the venues will! The Rector’s Palace holds performances, artists take to the Old Town’s famous Stradun street and churches, forts and cathedrals are the backdrop to memorable shows. If you need any more convincing, the festival dates back to the 1950s with this longevity a true testament to how wonderful the event is.
International Kite Flying Festival in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
A festival unlike any you will have seen before, combining winter sun with high flying kites and a beautiful setting. Hundreds take to the sky, floating in the breeze in all shapes and sizes. Imagine a dolphin following a dog, fish chasing giraffes and so much more! Fun for all the family awaits, so it’s the perfect event if you’re jetting away with your little ones. Take in a workshop, performances in the sky and whichever new twist or tweak graces the running order for this Fuerteventura favourite. Three days of fun and 30 years of history – what’s not to like?
Lisbon Pride in Portugal
This is your chance to sample wonderful culture, great nightlife and an amazing event that champions the LGBT community. The week of fun and festivities kicks off in mid-June, with a march through the city’s iconic streets. The party vibes create a hum on the cobbles of the Bairro Alto district, following the River Targus to Lisbon’s former commercial heart – Praça do Comércio. The next week sees exhibitions and club nights dedicated to LGBT residents and holidaymakers, before one last hurrah in Comércio’s riverside square. Becoming a one of a kind dancefloor as evening begins, with revellers enjoying the talents of DJs doing their thing. The fun might be over for another year, but all the more reason to come back! Or perhaps you can stick around and enjoy tasty cuisine, lots of history and welcoming hospitality for a little longer?
Crop Over in Barbados
Crop Over boldly claims to be the ‘most colourful festival in the Caribbean’, hard to believe given the reputation of the island group’s vibrant party atmosphere and carnival flair. But in so many ways it delivers on this promise! Its heritage is largely unrivalled, with roots dating back to the 18th century when slaves rejoiced at the end of the sugar cane harvest. Today it’s a celebration of everything that’s brilliantly Bajan, your shot to sample island tastes, dance at all day and night parties, and find local trinkets at craft markets. Starting in June and ending on the first Monday in August, this is six weeks of carnival fun. The finale of Grand Kadooment Day is the pinnacle of this, with bejewelled party-goers dancing behind a parade of music-playing trucks in their droves. Feather boas, Soca music and a rainbow of outfits – maybe it is the most colourful festival after all?
Pafos Aphrodite Festival
Another cultural event for your calendar, stunning opera performances grace the beautiful square of Cyprus‘ Paphos Medieval Castle for a three day weekend each September. The cream of the orchestral crop take to the stage, performing classic opera to lucky attendees. In recent years such classics as Don Giovanni, Cinderella and, most recently, The Barber of Seville have been heard against the sounds of the sea. But for so many it’s the setting that captivates them, from this wonderful seaside castle with a story to tell. Built as Byzantine fort, destroyed by the Venetians and restored in some fashion by the Ottoman Empire. So be sure to arrive early, admire your surroundings and take in a little of that history before you’re wowed by those performers.