Our favorite season is here, and it ushers in a stunning array of international summer festivals! This most popular time for traveling offers endless opportunities for celebration. Honestly, no matter where you’re spending your summer vacation this year, you have plenty of exciting festivals to attend. Whether it’s the arts, culture, music, sports, food or wine you’re into, there is a festival that gathers like-minded people from around the globe to celebrate the things you enjoy the most. From the bizarre Burning Man to messy La Tomatina, here are a few international summer festivals for your bucket list.
Burning Man (Nevada, USA)
Forget everything you know about music festivals. Burning Man breaks all the rules. Even though it includes artistic performances, installations, and music concerts, it’s much bigger than that. The “Burners” refuse to call Burning Man a festival. To them, it is as a “global community” with its own rules and principles.
No words can describe the wild madness during Burning Man’s 9 days. It takes over “the playa” in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert every summer around Labor Day weekend. Over 70,000 people come from around the globe to a temporary city created for the occasion. They celebrate freedom and creative expression. Extravagant and futuristic outfits, jaw dropping art installations and spontaneous performances are all part of this unforgettable experience.
One of Burning Man’s main principles is that money exchange is not allowed in the camp. Participants are expected to bring along everything they need including food and other supplies. It’s a common practice to share and exchange with others. Many people even offer free services like massages, dance, art or cooking classes. Since the territory of the city is huge, people prefer to move around on bicycles and scooters. Since the beginning, the climactic culmination of the festival is the symbolic ritual of burning of a huge wooden man, a tradition started in 1986. After the man is burned the entire “city in the desert” disappears without a trace.
Of course, even though you have to see it to believe it, visiting Burning Man is expensive. The cheapest entry tickets starting at $400 and sell out quickly.. It’s not unheard of that the whole experience including transportation, food, accommodation and costumes can cost up to $20,000 per person.
La Tomatina (Valencia, Spain)
If Burning Man is one of the weirdest, La Tomatina is the most exciting festival in the world and easily the messiest. Obviously, that’s the point though when people gather to throw tomatoes at each other for an hour! The biggest annual food fight in the world takes place on the last Wednesday in August in the small Spanish town of Bunol located in Valencia province and attracts thousands of locals and tourists alike.
Are you wondering about the origins of La Tomatina? You’re not alone! Rumor has it, the tradition started in 1945 with a horrendous singer who used to perform at Bunol’s town square. People were so fed up with the singer’s voice, they started throwing tomatoes to stop his performance. Apparently, the experience turned out to be quite exciting! Since then, the city’s inhabitants repeat the fun every year. Today the participants don’t even have to bring tomatoes with them! Town officials take care of it all. On the day of the event huge trucks loaded with ripe tomatoes come to the city square to ensure there’s enough “fuel” for the biggest food fight in the world. Over 150,000 tomatoes meet their fate in just one hour. For those concerned, the participants only use low-quality tomatoes that would otherwise go to waste.
La Tomatina festival in Spain has been so popular that it inspired other tomato fights in different parts of the world including “Colorado Tomato War” in Texas, as well as similar events in Colombia, Costa Rica, and China. But of course, nothing can compare with the grandeur of the original La Tomatina in the small town of Bunol.
Tango Festival (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
The world’s Tango capital, Buenos Aires, hosts the largest international Tango festival in August. Not surprisingly, the event attracts the world’s best dancers along with serious tango lovers from around the world. They come to enjoy an extravagant celebration of one of the most passionate dances out there. The Tango Dance World Championship in Buenos Aires is the main attraction. It draws over a half a million spectators each year. The good news is that most of the dance championships are free.
Of course, the festival is not only about the dancers’ sexy moves and world titles. If you forget your dancing shoes, don’t worry! Now, there are many other ways to experience tango even for people who don’t like to dance. Enjoy live music, take private tours, and visit the theaters. Take a tango class or cooking class and enjoy Argentinian culture and history. There are plenty of gift shops around the city that sell unique gifts and souvenirs that you can take home or send your dear ones.
In some ways, festivals are the ultimate holidays that transform and help you grow as a person. Combining travel and exciting festivals is a great way to see new places, make friends, and create remarkable memories.
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