The 10 Best Music Festivals to Plan Your Trip Around
With thousands of music festivals held every year, choosing which ones to go to is always a challenge. It’s easy to default to attending those nearby, but the world has much, much more to offer. We understand that traveling across the globe for a single music festival may not be worth it; but how about pairing that wacky weekend bash with a bucket-list trip? We might just be onto something now...
If you need an excuse to travel to some of the world’s most spectacular locations, look no further, but be warned -- most of these festivals require you to get out of your comfort zone and embrace adventure. With that in mind, here’s a list of the 10 most interesting music festivals to plan your trip around.
1. Comunité - Tulum, Mexico
Upcoming Dates: TBD (Early January, 2019)
Tulum, located on the golden Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, is one of Mexico’s most stunning destinations. Best known for its touristy, but spectacular Playa del Carmen, its ancient Mayan ruins, and the immense natural reserve nearby, Tulum is that tropical paradise that you can’t help but dream about in the throes of winter.
Cue Comunité -- an EDM festival held at the beginning of January. Nestled in the jungle beside a glimmering cenote, a limestone basin submerged in an underground river, Comunité prides itself on eco- and social-consciousness. In fact, Comunité donated last year’s proceeds to Restore Coral, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the Caribbean’s coral reefs. Despite its international lineup of DJs, this event remains local and intimate.
Pairing this energetic festival with a relaxing trip around the Yucatan is the perfect way to shake off the gloom of winter. The list of must-see destinations in the area includes Isla Holbox, with its the idyllic white sand beaches, and Bacalar, a charming fishing town next to the astonishing Lake of Seven Colors.
2. Envision - Uvita, Costa Rica
Upcoming Dates: February 28 - March 3, 2019
Located where the rainforest meets the Pacific Ocean, Envision’s natural environment is a key component of the experience. Indeed, Envision celebrates beauty in all its forms: artistic, musical, spiritual, and, of course, natural. With daily yoga and meditation sessions, it’s more focused on transcendence than music, and is perhaps better compared to Burning Man than to Coachella. Sustainability and community are core tenets to this event dedicated to “awakening human potential.”
After parting with the roughly 5,000 attendees of Envision, you should use the opportunity to discover what else Costa Rica has to offer. This small country is home to some of the world’s best national parks and wildlife refuges, like Corcovado and Manuel Antonio. It also has ample beaches for those who want to surf world-class breaks or simply unwind in the sand. Visit the lively Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo or the sleepy beach village of Cahuita and experience why Costa Rica has attracted beach bums for decades.
3. Snowbombing - Mayrhofen ski resort, Austria
Upcoming Dates: TBD (April, 2019)
Snowbombing promises one of the best mountain weekends of your life. Imagine carving up late-season Austrian powder in the day, and raving to big name DJs and hip hop acts at night. Picture jacuzzi parties, colorful costumes, and glitter-filled gondolas. It’s all fun and games here, from the chairlift speed dating, to the Ride and Seek ski competition, to the Snowlympic games, full of tug-of-war and snowball fights. You can also unwind in saunas, spas, or alpine yoga sessions. There’s no denying -- these sunny slopes are pure, unadulterated fun.
April in Austria offers a great travel experience as well. Vienna is often considered Europe’s cultural capital, with its imperial palaces, exquisite art, musical prowess, and distinctive flair. Visit the charming fairytale town of Salzburg, home to Mozart and The Sound of Music. Quieter alpine towns await in Innsbruck or Hallstatt, whose scenery will leave you breathless. Austria is one of Europe’s gems -- be sure you don’t miss it.
4. Lightning in a Bottle - Lake San Antonio, California
Upcoming Dates: May 22-27, 2019
Every Memorial Day weekend, people flock to the colorful surrealist structures that rise above the banks of Lake San Antonio. This arts and music festival attracts people from across the board -- from raving EDM fanatics, to Burning Man zealots, to underground music junkies. The party and hippy cultures fuse together to form a tight-knit community unique to Lightning in a Bottle. Indeed, this event is meant to be much more than a party, with an emphasis on arts, wellness, creativity, and community. Featuring lectures and discussions, art installations, big name musical acts, and a variety of quirky activities, Lightning in a Bottle provides a premier festival experience.
Lightning in a Bottle is also the perfect excuse to see the rest of California. We recommend a road trip up the coast. Start with the iconic, star-studded streets of LA, and work your way to the lovely seaside town of Santa Barbara. Next, spend your 3-5 days in Lake San Antonio, followed by a visit to the majestic coastal hills of Big Sur. If you have time, stop off in Santa Cruz, and end your trip in San Francisco, a bustling bayside city and iconic cultural hub. If you prefer nature-oriented trips, check out Lake Tahoe, which is nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park or the Redwood Forest up north. This versatile state has oodles to offer, and is a tried and true roadtripping favorite.
5. Traenafestivalen - Traena, Norway
Upcoming Dates: TBD (Early July, 2019)
This isolated archipelago, strewn off the coast of Norway, comes alive for one weekend in July every year. In the grassy meadows beneath Traena’s dramatic cliffs, people from all over the globe gather for one of the world’s most remote music festivals. To get here, you have to take a 5 hour boat ride past ice floes and glaciers from the already far-flung fishing town of Bodø. However, this remoteness serves a purpose -- in traveling to the edge of the world for a common goal, you find a special comradery with other attendees, and a tight-knit, welcoming community is born.
Traenafestivalen has featured every genre of music imaginable, but the surreal location is the true attraction. There are no accommodations, so you must camp out under the (almost) never-setting midnight sun. Beautiful and rugged, this tiny island provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable adventure.
While in the far north, you might as well explore a little. Check out Oslo, a vibrant cosmopolitan hub with a small town feel, or the breathtaking fjords of Bergen and Balestrand. Outdoor activities abound in the spectacular Lofoten Islands, and you can see the polar bears in the arctic tundra of Svalbard. You can also make your way to Stockholm and Copenhagen to experience Scandinavia’s elegant urban landscape. This part of the world is bursting with charm and beauty -- make sure you don’t miss it.
6. G! Festival - Syðrugöta, Faroe Islands
Upcoming Dates: TBD (July, 2019)
The New York Times called the Faroe Islands, “the most curious place left on earth.” Isolated, rugged, and undeniably magical, these islands are home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. It’s here that a town of 400 people on a North Atlantic beach hosts the G! Festival every year. A diverse array of artists, mostly from the UK, Scandinavia, and the musically-rich Faroe Islands, inhabit the beach-side stages. Festival-goers can swim in the ocean or warm up in the hot-tubs while appreciating one of the most scenic festivals on earth. G! offers a quirky, but enthralling festival experience, entirely distinct from any other.
Though just a short flight from the UK, these islands are certainly off-the-beaten-path. The vast, treeless fields perched atop wave-beaten cliffs are these islands’ signature sight, and will leave any visitor speechless. Though you may have to brave unpredictable weather and stormy seas, a trip here is once-in-a-lifetime. Be the first of your friends to travel to one of earth’s oddest, but most spectacular locations.
7. Fuji Rock Festival - Naeba Ski Resort, Japan
Upcoming Dates: July 25-28, 2018
The Fuji Rock Festival is set on a grassy field on the mountainside of Japan’s tallest mountain, Mount Fuji. In the winter, this location is home to a major ski resort, but for one weekend in summer, it attracts music lovers from around the world. The Fuji Rock Festival boasts a star-studded lineup from a variety of genres. This year, the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Bob Dylan and Vampire Weekend took to the stage. The world-class music is complemented by the sweeping alpine views and a family-friendly atmosphere. Clean, eco-friendly, and more wholesome than the majority of festivals, Fuji Rock Festival has left almost every attendee raving about its merits.
Combine your three days at Mount Fuji with a trip around Japan, and you can expect an unforgettable travel experience. Japan is jam-packed with historical and cultural treasures, from the mossy stone temples of Nara, to thatched Gassho-zukuri farmhouses of Shogawa River Valley. Visit the buzzing neon streets of Tokyo or the quietly enchanting city of Kyoto, often considered spiritual and cultural heart of Japan. Indeed, modernity and tradition are locked in an elegant waltz here, and any traveler can delight in watching the dance unfold. Discover rich culture, exceptional cuisine, and beautiful landscapes in this special island nation.
8. Dimensions - Pula, Croatia
Upcoming Dates: August 29 - September 2, 2018
Laid against the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea, the historic town of Pula welcomes hoards of electronica fans for this 3 day festival. Dimensions takes place within the walls of Fort Punta Christo, an abandoned Austro-Hungarian fortress on a small peninsula, making it one of the most stunning festivals on earth. Daytime parties ensue on boats and beaches, and at night, this old stone fort turns into a gargantuan night club. There is also a stage in the Pula Arena, a massive, ancient Roman amphitheater once used for gladiator fights. With quality sound and top-notch electronic artists, this scenic festival is perfect for those who want to party the night away.
Not far from Pula are the Plitvice Lakes, a national park filled with 16 emerald lakes and an abundance of waterfalls, surrounded by a woodland forest. In addition, Croatia’s coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world. Discover the ancient palaces and golden beaches of Split, the sunny fishing town of Hvar, or the sword-dancing island village of Korcula. The walled, seaside city of Dubrovnik is another major tourist attraction that you have to see to believe. It seems no matter where you go in Croatia, you’ll find breathtaking scenery and rich history.
9. Lake of Stars - Lake Malawi, Malawi
Upcoming Dates: September 28-30, 2018
Picture palm frawns and sandy beaches, bright, bouncing chords and an african sun. The shores of Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa, are home to a world-renowned festival called Lake of Stars. Each year, it attracts over 4,000 visitors from Africa and Europe looking to dance and let loose. Artists from Malawi and elsewhere gather here to share their craft, be it poetry, theater, dance, visual art, or, of course, music. The genres of music are diverse, but most acts hail from Africa, giving this vibrant event an authentic regional flavor.
You may not travel all the way to Malawi for a single festival, but pair it with a safari in Tanzania or a trip to Lakoma Island’s cast-away beaches, and the journey is surely worth it. Tanzania, Malawi’s neighbor, has some of the best wildlife on earth in Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National park. You can conquer Kilimanjaro if you’re feeling brave, or unwind in Mozambique’s Bazaruto or Quirimbas Archipelagos. This region of the world is chock-full of treasures, and a vacation here is sure to be a trip of a lifetime.
10. Quest - Son Tinh Camp, Vietnam
Upcoming Dates: November 23-25, 2018
A short ride from Hanoi will take you to the banks of an emerald lake enveloped by lush forest, all lying in the shadow of a big, misty mountain. It’s true -- Quest’s location is hard to beat. Quest features art installations, cultural expressions, yoga sessions, and, most of all, musical performances. The lineup is varied, but EDM-heavy, emphasizing underground artists over big names. Whether it’s swimming, hiking, or dancing your heart out, you can find what you’re looking for here. This colorful festival is picking up steam, so come before it gets overrun.
Southeast Asia is a must-see region for any traveler. The bustling, scooter infested streets of Hanoi or the trendy bars and ancient temples of Siem Reap continue to dazzle visitors. Visitors can also decompress from it all in a Cambodian monastery. From wild parties to peaceful sanctuaries, urban labyrinths to scenic countryside, Southeast Asia has everything you could ask for -- and at dirt cheap prices to boot. Check out a sample trip to Vietnam here.
No matter which festival you choose, Jubel can help you plan an unforgettable trip alongside it. Learn more about how we can help plan an ideal trip for you, stress free, that matches
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