The ambiance of a well curated music festival has the ability to spark a flame inside anyone attending. The natural energy pulsating through the crowd is an addictive rush that has the power to unite festival goers.
A good festival experience consists of meeting people you would never normally meet; hearing music you would never normally hear, and forging memories that will last the rest of your life. Here are 10 of the best festivals around the world that you probably never heard of but should definitely consider.
Set within the historical and mesmerising Alsisar Mahal in Rajasthan, India, Magnetic Fields is a three day cultural and music experience that has been absorbing visitors and captivating everyone involved for over four years. A veritable playground for the young at heart, visitors can laze on the lawns and soak in the atmosphere, hunt for buried treasure, or fly a kite at sunrise on the rooftop of this former Raj palace, as the sun bathes the surrounding desert scenery.
Set within this luxurious backdrop visitors are treated to a rich display of local culture delicately intertwined with contemporary music programming. Two stages showcasing the country’s most cutting edge musicians alongside some of the world’s finest underground artists entertain this young, and open minded urbanite crowd from across India and around the world.
Still in its relative infancy, Magnetic Fields is a definite for any serious festival goer and demonstrates India’s progressive, vibrant creative community. It would be hard not to fall in love with the music, the crowd, the location, the concept and most vitally - this very well curated partnership of contemporary and ancient India.
Yaga Gathering is a transformational, lifestyle, and yoga festival hosted in a clearing in the Ežeraitis Forest at the edge of Spengla Lake in the Varėna District of southern Lithuania. The festival has no corporate sponsors and is financed solely by ticket sales in order to stay true to its original ethos of creating a very unique experience for visitors.
DJs and bands from various countries perform across five stages showcasing a wide range of ambient and downtempo electronic sounds, which move towards a more party vibe after the sun goes down.
Yoga sessions, handicraft workshops, and a children's area are amongst a few of the activities on offer within the surroundings of this beautiful forest setting. Nestled deep within the stunning natural forests of Lithuania, Yaga offers guests the opportunity to relax and enjoy nature with various installations and exhibits by local and international artists. What’s more, the majority of the festival’s infrastructure is built using only biodegradable materials.
The Helgeland region of Norway is one of the planet’s most spectacular and breathtaking locations. Long deserted coastlines and plentiful fjords surrounded by mystical mountains give visitors the impression they might have landed on another planet completely.
Fans who travel here know that Træna isn’t just a musical festival. It’s a celebration where music is merely the bait to lure people towards a mostly unheard of corner of the world they would otherwise never see, and meet people they might never interact with, and whose lifestyle they might otherwise never acknowledge.
Træna’s musical programme usually leans towards the Scandinavian artists: Kings Of Convenience, Todd Terje, Susanne Sundfør and Aurora have all graced the stage, but the lure for international artists willing to brave the journey has recently shown itself to be strong, with some even requesting to come back and perform a second time.
The guests’ imagination is the only limit when it comes to extracurricular activities at Træna. Alongside the music and the abundance of fresh fish, Træna offers festival goers a variety of activities, whether it’s beach yoga, climbing, fishing or just lazing around enjoying the atmosphere. Thousands of islands, the crashing waves of the ocean, and majestic mountains all create a wonderful setting and experience that will last a lifetime.
Musical tastemaker Gilles Peterson’s annual festival is held annually in the town of Sete in the South of France. It is a week-long celebration of the finest music from around the world. The iconic Theatre de la Mer open-air amphitheatre overlooking the Mediterranean Sea provides the perfect location for this veritable musical banquet and the festival also has daytime beach parties and events in smaller venues around this famous old fishing port.
Constructed in the 18th-century, this defensive fort in the Port of Sète was formerly known as Fort Saint-Pierre before being transformed into a theatre, having sustained heavy damage during the second world war. Worldwide Festival has been responsible for once again breathing new life into the location with its eclectic evenings of electronica, with spectacular panoramic views.
For those seeking a ‘cooler’ experience, the festival also hosts a sister event in March in the Swiss alps at Leysin, with daytime skiing followed by apres-piste and the same great music.
Deep in the Bulgarian mountains a small community of like-minded people conceived the idea of gathering once a year in a location so special it deserved to be shared with the world. Major artists such as San Proper and acid house hero Seb Voigt have appeared on past line–ups and the festival offers guests a musical extravaganza along with an unbelievable setting and panoramic views of the mountains.
Wellbeing is at the heart of this boutique festival and is just a small part of the abundant offerings. A diverse schedule, including several yoga classes each day, along with workshops on inspirational themes of all kinds including plant-based medicine, tarot, and Ayurveda medicine are also available for those wanting to try something new.
Evenings provide the opportunity to explore soulful celebrations of music and culture, with chanting, a cacao ceremony and a selection of talented musicians each performing shows. Visitors can enjoy a diverse musical offering split across four stages each with their own distinct feel, and it’s easy to catch something new on the main stage before getting lost in the woods or praying to the bass gods at the temple stage. The festival’s climax takes place at the sunrise stage, which is situated way above the clouds.
The festival is relatively new but is growing quickly thanks to positive word of mouth - be sure to check it out before everyone else does!
The Rainforest World Music Festival is a unique festival that brings together renowned and indigenous musicians from across the world to the mythical island of Borneo, which culminates in a musical and cultural extravaganza like no other. A combination of informative afternoon workshops, followed by evening performances on the main stage have proven to be a hit with audiences, and the festival continues to draw people from around the world.
The festival site also has a host of food and drink stalls focussed on local delicacies and international food, whilst the arts and crafts area provides visitors with a country fair atmosphere amidst of some of the most lush greenery on earth. The Rainforest World Music Festival gives guests a unique opportunity to party in the heart of the Borneo Jungle.
Deep in the Anglesey forest lies Gottwood Festival, a festival that has strived and succeeded to create a palpable sense of purpose throughout the guests. Gottwood has a determined philosophy to get people raving again, to make stronger connections between festival goers and to build memories that will last a lifetime.
Gottwood Festival delivers where most festivals fail with a far more balanced musical, visual, and cultural offering that gives eager visitors the spontaneity missing from most events these days, a very safe environment, and, above all, a wonderful experience guests will want to remember for ever.
Expect a genre bending, roller-coaster ride through varying styles of music, which provides a memorable trip thanks to the organisers focussing on curating a lineup to ensure that festival goers are treated to a diverse, electrifying lineup of established and emerging underground talents.
Overally, this festival provides a truly unique, almost house party-esqe alternative to many other festivals.
A sensory triple-threat merging music, visual arts, and architecture, UVA Festival is a festival dedicated to contemporary culture through interaction with music, visual arts and architecture. The focus for organisers is on curating an intimate environment and unique atmosphere during this three-day festival taking place inside a converted vineyard, which was once a 15th-century monastery in the stunning town of Ronda in the South of Spain.
While Sonar and Primavera Sound are undoubtedly the main events on Spain’s festival calendar, this relatively new Spanish festival has caught the eye of festival goers seeking new experiences thanks mainly to its incredible location.
Staged on one of the greatest feats of human engineering, the Great Wall Festival takes place on Great Wall of China and once again offers visitors the opportunity to party somewhere they previously considered unimaginable. The Great Wall Festival is a techno music festival truly unlike any other, with the two day event able to lay claim to having the most iconic setting of any festival worldwide.
But it's not just the novelty of the location that makes this festival an exciting prospect, there's also the matter of the lineup of house and techno royalty. With Nina Kraviz making her Chinese festival debut, Chris Liebing stepping up for a four-hour closing set, and a full audio-visual live show from Recondite among the performances on offer in 2018, there's no doubting that the organisers are serious about growing this festival to the same proportions as its epic location.
The Woodford Folk Festival is held annually between December 27th to January 1st. It attracts more than 2,000 national and international performing artists, musicians and presenters with over 400 acts performing to an audience of an estimated 132,000.. The festival begins each year with the iconic Opening Ceremony and closes with the a truly spectacular Fire Event on New Year’s Day.
The Woodford festival experience is deep, rich and colourful and is based on a vision of inclusive and creative community, culture and tradition passed through generations, expressed through story and ceremony. The site, a former dairy farm, has been regenerated with over 120,000 subtropical rainforest trees, orchids, ferns and sedges, planted to create a habitat for butterflies and wildlife.
The festival features concerts, dances, street theatre, writers’ panels, film festival, comedy sessions, acoustic jams, social dialogue and debate, folk medicine, an entire children’s festival, an environmental programme featuring talks, debates and films, art and craft workshops, circus performances, workshops, late night cabarets, and parades.
Tree-filled campgrounds, butterfly walks, ponds and abundant wildlife complete the picturesque site as the entire town of Woodford is converted to a festival site.