Massive electronic music festival at the beginning of July each year which transforms Amsterdam into a hub of dancing and revelry! 50 Euros for a ticket is a steal, with loads of concerts and experimental films, electronic music videos and art installation all available over five days.
This year’s highlights were Justice and Erol Alkan. Awesome performances!
Around the city
The Sacred Music Festival is excellent and well worth the trip, but is difficult to get to due to the limited, expensive and indirect flights to Fes from the UK. A UK company called Naturally Morocco arranges tailored trips throughout Morocco, including the Sacred Music Festival. They suggest flying to Marrakesh (with train to Fes) because flights are cheaper and nonstop. They will arrange all of that and they have a great selection of riads to stay at. Whilst in the north, it is well worth having time to see some of the mountains, coast or another city.
You can buy tickets at www.fesfestival.com/2008/index.php
With regard to the warning about Holi, I had a lovely time at Holi in Delhi this March. Yes, stuff costs a bit more and you do have to dodge the odd coloured waterbomb, but isn't that all part of the experience? Plus people were friendly and multicoloured! Brilliant!
The Douz Festival is based on an ancient Bedouin gathering when Saharan tribes met to trade and, legend has it, to marry off their daughters. Instead, today, the Saharan Bedouins compete in camel, horse and dog races, folklore performances and traditional plays. Their backdrop is the 150-mile salt lake of Chott El Ferid, which set the scene for the film, The English Patient and the golden sand dunes that were a setting for Star Wars.
Walk about, listen to bands from competing tribes, ride a camel called Mustapha, attend a busy market and eat fresh fish, such as red snapper, sea bass, bream, grouper, red mullet, tuna and prawns. The sweet baklava is to die for.
The International Festival of Alternative and Experimental theatres is one of the oldest theatre festivals in Poland. It has been organised continuously since 1975. Always taking place in April, it is a good opportunity to combine a spring city break and cultural event. The weather in spring is usually bit more friendly than in London and you will enjoy spending the first nights out, having a drink.
The festival is an opportunity to get a first glance at the new season's productions. It uses the theatre in an attempt to make us aware of a problem that concerns us all from an unknown and extraordinary angle.
I have been to the last two Cheltenham Science Festivals and I cannot wait for this year's to start! With a huge range of events from the family-friendly Experitent to the adult-orientated debates and discussions, the festival really does cater for anyone and everyone. This year the festival braves taboo topics, which is sure to spark passionate debates, active discussions and controversial arguments.
If you haven't done so already, get out there and buy an event ticket or three - you won't be disappointed!
A pedestrian shopping street in a real market town without any chain stores or significant supermarkets. Halesworth is in the 'Cranbook Triangle' that has seen off predatory supermarkets but for how long?
The Thoroughfare is a pedestrian street of friendly and helpful independent retailers of clothing, hardware, stationery, health foods, gourmet foods, toys and most other essential services like banks, chemist, opticians and so on.
It also has several cafes and two art galleries at either end without the heaving crowds and parking hassles of Southwold (which is a great town too). If you're going to Latitude in the summer, drop in for supplies.
Halesworth is on the East Suffolk rail line and ten minutes off the A12 by road.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival takes place every year in the spring. I was there last year and it was enough to turn me into an absolute Cheltenham Jazz Festival fan! From storming funky bands to sultry jazz singers, the festival really caters for anything your heart desires! Even if some of the events are a little on the expensive side, a range of buzzing fringe events makes it more than possible to immerse yourself in the town's quirky atmosphere when the festival is on!
If you like music, and you can't quite bring yourself to fork out your life savings for a ticket to one of the UK festivals, then go to Hungary in August. The Sziget festival is simply brilliant. It's held on a stunning island in the middle of the Danube river just out of the centre of Budapest. They always have a varied programme of music, in 2007 this included the Killers, the Hives, Chemical brothers, Faithless, Nine Inch Nails, Pink and Razorlight to name but a few. They also have great world and dance music, and local Hungarian music. but even better than the lineup is the civilised way in which the festival is organised. You can get to a clean toilet at any time. The food is delicious, cheap, and easily available. Everyone is really friendly. A lot of the island is a beach, so you can walk around in bare feet and really feel like it's a holiday too. Accommodation is easy, either on the island - or do as we did and rent a beautiful and cheap apartment in Budapest itself. It's so easy to get to and from the island. Don't miss it. Get there before anyone else finds out about it!
Óbudai Island, Budapest, August every year. www.sziget.hu
This is a festival in honour of seafood. It is celebrated in O Grove (Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain) during the first two weeks of October and it is one of the most important festivals of Galicia.
Here, anyone can taste the different kinds of seafood: from oysters, mussels and cockles to prawns, crabs and barnacles. It is amazing how many different dishes there are for a good price. Moreover, there are also folk performances.
This year, there were more people than ever. The village was full of people from all parts of Spain, and even from outside. It was very difficult to book a hotel for those people who did it in the last days before the event because the occupancy rate was at the highest level.
Two of the main important characteristics that make this festival different are the fact that the seafood from this area is among the in the world; and the second fact is that it is awesome to have lunch in front of the estuary Ría de Arousa. It is a perfect location for this festival: you can enjoy this wonderful landscape while you taste the best seafood.
After the lavish festivals of Paro and Thimpu, visiting a small rural community festival and joining in is the best way to meet and understand the proud people and their traditions in a changing country.
Be sure to have some money to tip the clowns and buy food from the host of stalls. If you're Dzonged-out having reached this far into Bhutan, the simplicity is refreshing, and the singing and dancing involves the young monks and just about everyone.
Tangbi is a small hamlet a few km north of Jakar the main town in the valley, walk with the locals or car/bus.
The annual event takes places in Appleby over the second weekend of June. It is an opportunity for travellers all over the world to gather and exchange news.
In the fields you can see people with their beautiful vardos engaged in old crafts - horse shoeing, embroidery, wooden peg making and have your fortune told. In the evening watch the horse and buddy races and throughout the day you can watch the washing of the horses followed by the horse parade. Go to church and witness a travellers wedding or baptism.
Great to be surrounded by beautiful countryside with a community long forgotten by mainstream society.
Food and drink festival between 5 &15 October 2007. Thirty five bars, restuarants and shops around Chorlton and Whalley Range are taking part. Chorlton joins other areas of Greater Manchester for the annual Manchester Food and Drinks Festival.
All over Chorlton-cum-hardy. For more information pick up a festival brochure from outlets including - Barbakan, Pad-chorlton, Unicorn and Wild at Heart
For all you music lovers out there, take advantage of the annual (and national) Fête de la Musique where the streets of France become stages for free, live music.
Whether your interests lie in classical and jazz to hip hop and electronica, there is something for everyone. The city turns into a festive street party, it's loads of fun!
The 'Show' - where city and country get together! Once a year, the country invades the city at the showgrounds and lets city families see what the country has to offer.
In addition, there are quite a few competitions where our farmers and country folk can show off the best bull, pig, horse or who can cook the best sponge or grow the best pumpkin.
Sheepdog and poultry competitions are favourites. City kids also have a chance to see new lambs or piglets or chooks. There are enough circus rides, face painting areas and handicraft stalls to keep everyone happy.
Adults have flamenco, hip hop, capoeira performers, belly dancers and others to keep them entertained.
And of course, there are fireworks at night. Everyone should go and don't forget to grab a ShowBag.
Sept 20 - 30
Royal Melbourne Showgrounds
Epsom Road, Ascot Vale
take a tram or train there from the CBD (car parking is available too)
I will treasure the memory of joining the St George's Day celebration in Lalibela. It is impossible to describe the feeling of mingling with the crowds of people, mainly wrapped in white, walking along the deep rock hewn corridors, kicking off the sandals and forcing your way into the church.
An earlier fantastic memory was walking along the day before and suddenly seeing St Giyorgis sunk into the rock.
A less pleasant memory was fleas in the carpets of the churches! Do take something for the fleas as they can migrate to the bedding.
Would highly recommend visiting Avignon in July 2008 for the annual Festival d’Avignon. But book your accommodation well in advance. This huge multi-arts celebration will guarantee you lasting memories.
Stock up with gourmet delicacies at Les Halles Market for picnics along the way. Indulge in calisson pastries made with almonds and candied melons and a chocolate, sugar and oregano liqueur delicacy called Papalines.
Get the free Avignon Pass Card offering tourist attraction reductions, available at the Tourist Office. Enjoy opera at the exquisite 15th-Century Eglise St Pierre followed by dinner at 'Christian Etienne' for the very finest of French cuisine.
If you are in Taranaki (North Island, west coast halfway between Auckland and Wellington) you could do a lot worse than visit Pukekura Park.
It is the most beautiful park I have ever been in, boasting a unique cricket ground in a natural bowl, and the most gorgeous concert venue - the Bowl of Broolands - which, this December, hosts Elton John and has in the past seen gigs by REM and the Pretenders to name but two.
The stage rests at the bottom of a natural bowl and has a large pond in front of it. The park also hosts Womad anually and puts on a free month-long festival, The Festival of Lights from December into January, with local and national bands. A large lake adds to the ambience of New Plymouth's jewel.
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