Spring has sprung and that means Rites of Spring is upon us here at Vanderbilt. This two-day festival is the most anticipated music event of the school year. The hype got me thinking, while this may be one of the most exciting occasions in the Nashville area: what are the most interesting and unique festivals around the world? I began the search for the festivals that sounded too good to be true, exceeded expectations, and attracted people from all the around the world. While I am sure I missed many worthy names, the following list are a few of the events that really caught my eye.
This may be the quintessential “out there” festival in every sense of the word. First, it is located deep in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, which is hundreds of miles from the closest airport, meaning the only way to get there is by car, or rather, trailer since you will need to sustain yourself in the August desert for a week. Black Rock then becomes the most vibrant city in America for this time. But you don’t need any money for Burning Man. The culture of sharing and trading is abundant, and is one of their core values. Burning Man is not just an event, it is a culture. The art and music at this festival is beautiful, unique, and unlike any other ever seen. One day, you may be lucky to become a “burner” yourself – of course after watching the ceremonial burning of the giant man statue, which gives the festival its provocative name.
Located in Budapest, his is one of the largest music festivals in Europe. The word “sziget” literally means “island” in Hungarian, which is appropriate given that it occurs on Óbudai Island. Due to its quirkiness and variety of art and music, it has been labeled as a European alternative for Burning Man. Like most large festivals, it lasts a week and has quite the variety of new artists that show up. This year, acts such as Aviccii, Alt-J, Florence and the Machine, and Robbie Williams will be headlining.
Based in London, this organization and music festival has been promoting festivals all around the world. Aptly named from the popular Velvet Underground song, I personally think this festival brings in the best bands. While they may not go for the most popular bands, legendary acts such as Spiritualized, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Flaming Lips have all performed at ATP at one point or another. One thing unique about All Tomorrow’s Parties is that they have their own recordings section, meaning that they do much more than just promote festivals, rather they really do live and breathe music in every way they can.
This may be the most different from all the other festivals I have listed, but it might be the most fascinating out of them. It is held in Malaysia and attracts about 30,000 people in one weekend. This is truly an international affair, with people sharing traditional or world fusion music ranging from every continent. The event is not a festival in that it is high energy all the time; rather it is quite relaxed, minimalistic, and actually free for visitors. If you really want your dose of world culture at a fantastic and serene location, all while listening to beautiful music, this may be the festival of your dreams.