On 10 and 11 June 1967, on the south face of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California, more than 36,000 revellers gathered for a two-day rock concert called the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival, featuring bands such as The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane and The Doors. Far less-known than the Monterey Pop Festival that took place the following week, and a full two years before the legendary Woodstock, it was arguably the real beginning of the Summer of Love. It was also the world’s first ever rock festival.
Many of the party-goers from that era no doubt now desire their festivals a little easier on the ears, feet, and liver, so, with that in mind, Verve brings you a carefully curated international selection of the most interesting.
Tamworth Country Music Festival, Australia
Running since 1972, this laid-back celebration of folk and country tunes is said to be second in size only to the iconic Nashville Country Music Festival—though this one across the ditch actually lasts longer. Running for 10 days each January in its eponymous New South Wales town, the Tamworth Country Music Festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to witness hundreds of artists perform, with events totalling more that 2,500. The internationally-acclaimed gathering is also backed by art exhibitions, craft stalls and markets. There’s even talent contests for the kids.
Ancient Greek Drama Festival, Cyprus
Every July and August in Cyprus, three amphitheatres—two of which were built by the Romans in the second and third centuries—host open-air plays under starlit skies. The stages of this award-winning event are graced by productions by leading theatre companies from across the globe, promoting the majesty of classical Ancient Greek drama along with more contemporary interpretations.
Women Over 50 Film Festival, UK
Running only since 2015, the Women Over 50 Film Festival is an ever-blossoming project that operates workshops and screens films that celebrate older women and their contributions to the industry. To be eligible for the volunteer-run festival, films must have been written, produced or directed by a woman aged at least 50, or have one starring in a central role. Film screenings kick off in February.
Rainforest World Music Festival, Malaysia
For a weekend in July on the beautiful island of Borneo, the Rainforest World Music Festival offers a sprawling collection of musical genres from across the globe, with a decidedly acoustic slant. The jungle-themed event is noted for its super relaxed vibe, with the melodic performances accompanied by plays, workshops and craft stalls. This one’s won heaps of international awards since its 1998 inception.
Billed as Britain’s poshest festival, Wilderness is hosted in the fittingly fashionable Cotswolds, where guests may partake in banquets on long tables or dance the boards of a ballroom. Other activities include meditation, yoga, long bow archery, wellness workshops and philosophy walks, while accommodation comes in the form of cosy timber cabins. This happening’s spread over a long weekend in August.
Festival Number 6, UK
Positioned in the sleepy south Wales town of Portmeirion that overlooks Cardigan Bay, Festival Number 6 is “unlike any other”, an eclectic and intimate celebration of music, arts and crafts over a September weekend. Think Mediterranean-inspired stages, a dance floor that floats on a lake, paddle boarding, wood-fired hot tubs and yoga sessions as the sun rises—or sets—over the surrounding mountainous landscape. There’s plenty of charming accommodation options in town, or rent a luxury bell tent replete with Asian rugs and tea light chandeliers.
Festival of Music and Art, Australia
Also known as the Museum of Old and New Art: Festival of Music and Art, or Mona Foma, or Fomo, this Tasmanian treat of a festival is a real mixed bag of marvellous music that incorporates everything from post-punk to avant-garde orchestra. The three-day event hosts an array of other art forms also, including visual art, dance and theatre. It runs each January.
A Day on the Green, Australia & New Zealand
Nicknamed ‘The Big Day Out for grown-ups’, A Day on the Green is a festival of fine dining and exquisite wines that’s been gracing Antipodean vineyards since 2001. This summer celebration has attracted superstar performers such as Elton John, Bryan Ferry and Crowded House. Don’t forget your comfortable camping chair and a picnic blanket.
Loulé International Jazz Festival, Portugal
Each July in Portugal’s magical Algarve region on its southern coast, the Loulé International Jazz Festival hosts some of the world’s leading jazz musicians along with a sprinkling of blues, funk and pop-rock. The outdoor festival runs well into the night making for some terrifically atmospheric experiences under the stars. The historic market town of Loulé brims with charming eateries in its medieval alleyways and tree-lined plazas.
Outside Lands, USA
Set to the backdrop of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands is weekend-long festival that takes place each August that’s sold as a treat for all the senses owing to its mash up of music, art, food, wine and workshops, while it attempts to offset its carbon footprint through systems such as solar power stages. Such is the reverence for this event, Paul Simon is coming out of retirement to headline in 2019.
Opera in the Vineyard, Australia
Mingle with some high-society at this premier south Queensland cultural happening that also raises money for charity. Opera in the Vineyard draws the world’s finest tenors, sopranos and their ilk to take to the stage in the scenic setting of the Ballandean Estate in the Granite Belt. Enjoy top quality dining, and, of course, wining, at this relatively intimate festival (it holds around 200 souls) that takes place the first weekend in May.
Palma International Boat Show, Spain
Palma, the historic port and capital of the gorgeous island of Majorca, plays the perfect host for the world’s largest exhibition of sailing yachts. The Palma International Boat Show lures the best of the globe’s boat builders, with opportunities to board and maybe even go for a sail on some seriously impressive multi-million dollar vessels—whether you can afford to buy one or not! The event runs for five days, usually from the end of April.
Woodford Folk Festival, Australia
One of Australia’s largest gatherings, and one of the world’s coolest, the Woodford Folk Festival sees more than 120,000 souls descend for a sprawling celebration of music, dance, theatre, film comedy, debate and more. Set in the semi-rural town of Woodford, around an hour north of Brisbane, it hosts more than 2,000 performers across hundreds of events encompassed within a stunning bushland setting. Lasting for six days beginning toward the end of December, it’s the ultimate feel-good way to see in the new year.
Festival of the Steel Phallus, Japan
In Verve March we brought you the story of a museum in Iceland dedicated to penises, and in this issue we bring you a festival dedicated to them! Each spring in the Japanese city of Kawasaki, Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) celebrates the male member with street processions and parties with revellers parading sizeable penis sculptures and sucking on sexually-shaped candy. The event, born from a legend of a sharp-toothed jealous demon that lived inside a woman’s vagina and attacked the genitals of her lovers, has become quite the tourist attraction. The festival also raises money for research into HIV, centring around a shrine that sex workers pray at for protection against sexually transmitted diseases.