If you're in the San Diego area in the summer be sure to head out for the Free "Summer Concert Series" at Del Mar. Every year they have 12-15 outdoor concerts. No charge for them. They have beer tents and quality acts like Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse, and more.
A refreshingly unpretentious jazz festival on the banks of the River Aulne in one of the most beautiful corners of Brittany. A young crowd, young musicians and a family atmosphere. Good travel/admission offer from Brittany Ferries too. It is held on the last week of July. Have a look at the video to get an idea of the ambiance:www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv_AEeS8pQQ
While ACL may have painful connotations for many people, the ACL festival is really worth checking out. We were there this weekend and the line up was fantastic (The Black Keys were awesome and Alabama Shakes superb) but it still maintained that low key festival feel. Plus the sun shone and it was October so Gllastonbury could learn a thing or two ...
When thinking of Arizona, Phoenix and the Grand Canyon probably come to mind. However, there is a gem of a place halfway between the two. Prescott, a town with a slice of the Old West, has developed around the grassy Courthouse Square, which gives it the feel of small town America. Every year on the first Friday evening after the lighting of the large Courthouse Christmas tree, Prescott is alive with the sound of music. The annual Acker Music Festival Showcase is a fundraising activity for the local performing arts. More than 100 musical groups perform for three hours in the businesses surrounding the square. This year the Showcase is on December 7th, from 5.30 to 8.30 pm. An evening you would never forget!
Calella de Palafrugell is pure Catalonia and one of the most beautiful places we visited on our tour of Spain. Like most of the proper Costa Brava it's surrounded by vertiginous hills and tiny coves which have allowed it to escape mass tourism developments. The whitewashed houses stand right on the sand and there were colourful fishing boats pulled up on the beaches when we were there. One of the best things about it is its summer festivals of Havanares (traditional songs brought back from Cuba by local sailors). The main festival is in early July but we were there in late August and every other cafe seemed to be having a Havenares session. You have to try the local drink of Cremat - flambeed rum, coffee and fruit! We stayed in the Hotel San Roc which has great cliff-top views but there are supposed to be some gorgeous B&Bs around too. (And don't confuse the village with the ugly tourist town of Calella fifty miles further South or you'll be sorely disappointed!)
The influence of Catalan culture is strong in this part of France, not least because of Pablo Casals who founded a chamber music festival which marks its 60th edition this year.
We encountered this wonderful community celebration/religious festival while walking in the Cinque Terra National Park last autumn. When we arrived in Biassa, the small square in front of the church was packed with people of all ages, there were stalls selling local wine and chestnuts and an exhibition of photos of village life. Then a group of priests in green and gold robes emerged from the church, followed by the statue of Mary carried on the shoulders of half a dozen villagers and the rest of the congregation. The procession was accompanied by a group of musicians and we could hear it winding its way through the narrow streets of the village long after we left to continue our walk. It was a wonderful way to experience a tradition that dates back centuries.
If you're not going to be able to make Semana Santa (Holy Week) or don't want to face the crowds, to at least get a feel for it head to La Torre del Oro in the evening (8pm+) to spot the band practicing. No matter what time of year (even when the event has only just past) they are there trumpets-a-tooting, drums-a-banging.
Another spot is in the Maria Luisa Park, not too far from the Plaza de Espanya entrance.
Paseo Cristobal Colon S/N, 41001 Sevilla, Spain
+34 954 22 24 19
Google map: bit.ly/nUjWjR
‘Sound Forest’ (Skaņu Mežs) is a music festival which plays not only with your ears, but mostly with mind. The first Sound Forest was organized in 2003. The festival is organized to show the latest activities in the world of music and this is also a provocation for new angles in music. The artists in Sound Forest are surprising, boring, shocking, incomprehensible etc. These are brave artists from all over the world - the future of music – the music for which we are probably not ready yet. As the organizers of the festival say,
they are doing it to “knock the mind out of the comfortable and dull "reality" to remind
you of an alternative”.
Sound Forest 2011 will be in Riga on 16th – 17th of September.
Miera street 58, Riga
Google map: bit.ly/odTmG0
The Afro-Punk Festival on August 27 and 28 is NYC's last free hurrah this summer. For two days, head to Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park to take in some free music and/or skateboarding and BMX competition. Saturday's headliners include Gym Class Heroes and Santigold. I'll be there Sunday for R&B singers Janelle Monae and Cee Lo Green. Make sure you've got bottled water, cash, and comfy shoes. To get to the park, take the B, Q, or R trains to DeKalb Avenue.
Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn
Google map: bit.ly/rrFxUC
* Amanda is our Been there local for New York. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/new-york-local-amanda-green.jsp and her own NYC blog here: www.noisiestpassenger.com/
If you are ever in Scotland during July, you have to head to T in the Park. It is Scotland's biggest festival and it is held in the picturesque Balado. It is a fantastic weekend filled with music, messy camping and the best people. I love it.
For three days every July, the town of Alcalá la Real is home to a vibrant multicultural festival of music, theatre, circus, cinema, exhibitions, workshops, conferences, crafts, food, and much much more!
Aimed at adults and children alike, this vibrant festival provides entertainment for all the family.
Located only 60km from Jaén and 53km from Granada, the festival attracts a host of performers from across the globe every year. There is a bus service from both these cities and once arrived, there is a good selection of hotels and restaurants that cater to all visitors.
All of the events are absolutely free and there is even a camping area available in town at a reasonable price.
A lovely independent festival completely run on solar power. Great to take the kids too there are loads of activities through the day to keep the whole family entertained and the music was great. Best loos I've seen at a festival too!
I want to be back in the land of Boomtown Fair, where drinking all day is encouraged, mechanical horses carry children through the crowds, the music is mad and the people are smiling. I've just come back to earth with a bang after a fabulous few days in a field in Buckinghamshire. Yesterday I woke up in a tent, worrying only about how many wasps were heading inside my mouth (three got in during the course of the festival, it must have been all the hot cider I was drinking). Toady's it's back to reality.
Boomtown Fair began life as a one day cider festival in a field in Bath, graduated to become Recydrate the West somewhere near Hay-on-Wye, and finally became a fully fledged festie with a new name last year, in the Forest of Dean. I have been there to witness all the changes, and I intend to keep up this tradition. I love Boomtown, because the music is mental, an incongruous but incredible mix of ska, reggae and gypsy-jazz, designed to keep you dancing. I love the people and what they wear, everything from flouncy, flowery dresses, stilts and superhero outfits, to nothing but body paint. I love any excuse to watch the Bristol based Invisible Circus. And I love drinking cider all day.
Boomtown may have grown up, but most of all, I love the fact that for three days straight, thousands of party goers can forget that they have too.
23rd-25th July: awesome festival in beautiful Victorian seaside town in South Dublin - thousands of free music, art, craft, food, eco events in the streets, parks and pub gardens - for all ages - everybody dancing in the streets. Uplifting, happy, funky. The boat from Wales comes right into Dun Laoghaire too. We might bump into you there!!!
Four-day musical and cultural extravaganza held at Easter each year, on the outskirts of Canberra. If you love Womad, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival or anything similar, you'll love the atmosphere at 'the National'; by the end of the weekend you won't want to go home. Except to sleep. And think about coming back again next year. Not only is it a multicoloured musical and dance fest (and inspired craft fair) the whole site becomes a large village for interstate festival goers to live in for the weekend (drive-up b.y.o. accommodation on site). Motels are close by for those who love their creature comforts, and shops if you need milk for your 'billy tea'. If you need some time out from festivalling, a walk round the nearby leafy inner suburbs on a sunny autumn afternoon is peaceful and provides stunning views of lovingly kept neighborhood gardens. Oh yes, as with any music festival, if you are staying on site - don't forget to take good ear plugs with you! The music keeps going as long as people are awake enough to play it ...
It's free! OK, it's only one day so no camping as such but you'll be struggling to find such a mixture of attendees from hardcore hippies to grans and granchildren, plus a fine selection of music.
Midsummer Common, Cambridge, 6th June 2009 www.strawberry-fair.org.uk
Get your self an old telescopic fishing pole and attach "individually made" flag / cuddly toy / inflatable banana... Anything that takes your fancy and parade yourself round the festival in the knowledge that your friends will always find you. Can also be stuck outside your tent to draw back your friends after hours of dancing / trudging (in mud) and general festival antics.
Also check out the Oxford Cowley Rd Festival. A day of great music, authentic food from a huge number of places, arts and crafts and loads more... Check it out - Sunday 6th July!
A beautiful, quirky boutique party, where anything goes as long as it glitters!
DO: Take sparkles, dressing up materials and all your eccentricity.
DON'T: Take the programme too literally - while the bands are all just about on time, some of the 'Action Camps' (tents full of various wonderful weirdness) don't open when they say they will, or even exist!
They'll only tell you when you get tickets.
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