The number of festivals is rising worldwide – for us reason enough to pay attention to the most peculiar and bizarre ones. Extravagant stage design, crazy light shows or exclusive camping parties – the 14 festivals we picked are even more jaw-dropping.
Check out our list of the most unusual festivals worldwide
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do!” More and more festivals become places of utopian dreams. Surrounded by extravagant installations, carefully arranged decorations and costumes, festival guests try to forget their everyday life, entering a whole new world full of experiences. Often these festivities have a cultural or religious background, a lot of times though, they are the funny result of a creative individual. We took it upon us to compile a selection of peculiar festivals you and your friends probably have not visited yet.
Festival without Bands (Germany)
What would a festival look like, if you did not have to deal with the stress of running back and forth between stages in order to accomplish seeing as many bands as possible? That question sparked the idea to organise Festival ohne Bands , a festival without concerts. Instead live music, you can expect 3 days of festival fun including barbeque, beer pong, Flunkyball, fast-food and camping parties without the pressure to see your preferred line-up. 2.000 people joined the festival for its first run and the organisers are expecting even more visitors in 2018.
Mud Party at Boryeong Mud Festival (South Korea)
Mud-fights and acrobatic belly flops seem to be bon ton at most festivals, though the idea is not a new one. In South Korea, mud is the centre of a whole festival: the Boryeong Mud Festival, which takes place 200 km south of the capital Seoul, is the meeting spot for a collective mud bath. By now, the festival attracts millions of visitors, who can choose between all kinds of mud-related activities: mud-fireworks, mud-wrestling, rubber rafting on mud and zip-lining. Accompanied by music, the festival participants have a lot of opportunities to initiate body contact and get dirty in the mud.
Penis-Festival Kanamara Matsuri (Japan)
At the Japanese “Kanamara Matsuri” (translates to “Penis-Festival”) you can expect to be joining a sausage fest for sure. During a ceremonial penis-parade, a big pink penis is being carried through the streets of Kawasaki, where the festival has been taking place since 1969. In addition to the stimulating visuals, the festival-goer can enjoy candy and other penis-shaped snacks to celebrate this peculiar fest, which traces back to an old fertility ritual.
Burning Man Festival (USA)
Up in flames: The Burning Man Festival in the desert of Nevada is a stunning example of human utopia. Far away from the stress of city life, festival-goers and experience-seekers from all over the world come together for an 8-days-long celebration of alternative culture and lifestyle, which features a huge open-air art exhibition. The highlight of the festival is the ceremonial burning of a giant man-shaped statue.
Underwater Festival (USA)
Coral reef instead of guitar riff: Why drown in alcohol when you can go diving? Divers, snorkelers and musicians come together every year at one of the worlds’ biggest coral reefs in Florida to dive and celebrate in shrill costumes. Hundreds of underwater-enthusiasts rock the reef with their special underwater-instruments, which surely rocks the boat among environmentalists.
Statement Festival – Women Only Festival (Sweden)
The Statement Festival is an all-female festival to be held for the first time in 2018 and is completely closed to men. What might look like a fun girl-weekend among best friends is truly a serious matter: the development of the festival is a reaction towards the increase of sexual assaults on women at festivals during the past years (for instance at Bråvalla Festival 2017). A donation campaign managed to collect 52.000,00 Euros to finance the implementation of the festival.
Air Guitar-World championship (Finland)
Make air, not war: For the past 22 years the Finnish town Oulo has been giving an annual award to the best air guitarist. One can expect loud music, an impressive show on a big stage and a cheering audience – but no instruments. By the way, the reigning vice world champion is from Germany. The organisers consider themselves to be ambassadors of world peace. The profound message is: people could end wars, stop climate and make other dangers disappear, if everyone played air guitar. Well, let’s start practicing! 🙂
Australian Body Art Carnival (Australia)
Human canvas: Once per year the Australian coastal town Eumundi becomes the meeting spot for body-painters from all over the world, who present their on-skin art. Live concerts, street performances and food trucks make this impressive spectacle complete.
Songkran Festival (Thailand)
Wash away your sins: In Thailand the new year is celebrated with a big public shower. Instead of bubbly champagne one pours water over their wicked body. In Bangkok the festivity last 3 days, during which people splash water and powder on each other – supposedly to wash away the sins of the past year.
Holi Colour Festival (India)
The Holi Festival, which has its roots in India, sparked popular commercial editions all over Germany. Still, the original colour spectacle is something really special. The Indian Holi Fest takes place on the first full moon of the month Phalgun (February/March) and lasts up to 10 days. During the jolly celebrations people pour coloured powder or water over each other.
Spectacular festivals of lights in Asia
Light not only attracts moths – also people feel magically drawn to it. Hence, festivals of lights are an ancient cultural institution. Exceptionally spectacular are for example the Winter Light Festival (Japan), Cherry Blossom Lantern Festival (Japan), Yi Peng Lantern Festival (Thailand) and the Floating Lantern Festival (Hawaii).
Albuquerque Balloon Festival (USA)
Ready for take-off: Albuquerque is more than the scenery of Breaking Bad. Once a year, the sky over the city in New Mexico turns into a colourful sea of hot air balloons. The international convention for balloonists takes place annually in October since 1972. Nowadays more unconventional balloons, for example in the shape of cartoon characters, can be seen rising to the sky.
La Tomatina Festival (Spain)
The worlds’ biggest food battle: At the Tomatina Festival in Buñol in the Spanish province of Valencia, tens of thousands throw tomatoes at each other. Tourists love the festival so much, that the city introduced an entrance fee. Afterwards the whole city looks like canned pizza-tomatoes. The first Tomatina Festival was held in 1940 and was supposedly invented just for fun.
Agitagueda Art Festival (Portugal)
This spectacular art festival (see Kunstfestival ) in Portugal comes with various concerts, body-painting sessions and breathtaking street-art projects. The streets get decorated with colourful umbrellas and body-painters turn some of the participants turn into living, moving artwork.
From all the festivals listed above, which festivial would you like to visit the most? Can you think of any festival we forgot to put on our list? Please feel free to leave a message in the comment section below!