From vibrant jazz concerts to avant-garde performances in the middle of the desert, these are the must-see destinations for music lovers.
The explosion of festivals around the globe in the last decade makes choosing the best festivals in the world a difficult task. What used to be a rare event in which the main music bands of the moment gathered in the same place for a couple of days, today has become an essential socio-cultural event for many generations and another tourist attraction for hundreds of cities. So that you don't get lost among the endless offer there is, we have made a selection with the best. Choose yours!
Must to go festivals?
If you have Instagram, you've probably heard of it: it's the place chosen by worldwide celebrities to see and be seen. Its first edition was in 1999, and since then, for two consecutive weekends, it transforms Indio, California, into a perfect mix of giant art installations, the latest fashion trends and the most eagerly awaited concerts of the year, mixing pop, rock and electronic music.
Are you into any kind of metal? Then this is the place to be. Held in France, this festival is considered the most important of its kind – even though it has opened up to other styles such as punk rock – and is one of the few places where you will see someone in a wheelchair crowdsurfing. Black T-shirts, leather and long hair are the dresscode of a venue that for three days becomes a real temple of music – with a lot of fire.
Together with Gaudi's works and the gastronomy, this festival is one of the reasons why it is worth visiting Barcelona. Hundreds of concerts are held over four days on the seashore on more than a dozen stages, where there are no boundaries between genres. It is impossible not to like at least one of the shows. If an artist plays at "Primavera", he or she is either a big star or is going to be one.
It seems no coincidence that the Belgian city where this electronic music festival is held is called Boom. The music here sounds almost as loud as the screams of the audience every time their favorite DJ drops a beat. The decoration of the main stage is so surreal that it seems to be taken from a crazy dream, and the fireworks culminate the non-stop party.
Imagine an empty desert that, overnight, becomes a futuristic city where everything is possible. That's Burning Man. More than a music festival, it is an event where all forms of art are developed to their fullest potential and where one word determines everything that happens there: freedom. A unique experience that deserves to be lived at least once in a lifetime.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
New Orleans could not be understood without jazz, a music that can be heard – almost literally – in every corner of the city. It’s not unusual that the biggest festival of the genre is held there. Along with the official program, hundreds of equally interesting performances take place in the clubs around the city in the days leading up to the event, providing the best opportunity to discover this fascinating culture.
Famous festivals in History
As in all things, there were also pioneers on the music festival scene, and events that marked a before and after and helped define what festivals are today. These are some of the ones that made history.
Monterey Pop Festival (1967)
Jimmi Hendrix setting a guitar on fire, Janis Joplin launching her career, The Who going crazy on stage for the first time in the USA… That’s how the “Summer of Love” of 1967 started. It happened in June, in Monterey, California, and was a key point for the american counterculture. It shaped a whole hippy generation and was the trigger for the next festival in our list.
In August 1969 the roads leading to a remote New York farm were blocked by more than 400,000 people who came to the festival. It's said that if you ask any American of that generation, they'll claim to have been there. Santana, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane... the line up was simply unbeatable. It is perhaps the most famous festival in history and the one that has been written about the most, but its importance can best be appreciated by watching the documentaries that have been made about it.
Are you planning on going to one of the best festivals in the world this year? Well, don't forget to bring your travel pillow. After all that dancing and singing, your neck will need a rest.
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