Festivals are home to diverse culture and some truly cohesive experiences. Here’s why attending a festival abroad is not only a great, but a potentially life-changing idea. 

Festivals, whether they focus on music, art, culture, or all of the aforementioned, can be intensely altering experiences themselves. Therefore, travelling a long way for a festival can be downright overwhelming, but in many ways, also essential. These experiences not only teach you a great deal, but also help you achieve greater understanding of the very ethos of ‘festival culture’. Here’s why you must travel to a festival abroad the first chance you get.


1. The fundamental exposure to a new culture

This is one thing that travel in general teaches us, but with festivals, you get the opportunity to experience the untarnished and somewhat authentic culture of the festival destination. Be it a highly metropolitan region or a truly ethnic one, festivals are a great way to explore the local culture of a place. It gives you more of a first-hand experience compared to what you would get as a regular tourist, impacting how you perceive the culture as a whole and interact with the local community.


(Source: Zipporah Lomax/Symbiosis Gathering)


2. The counter-culture community

As opposed to popular nomenclature – a festival community isn’t just a hippie-esque word used to signify the sum total of attendees attending a festival, but it signifies a group of people who are invested in festivals on a personal level. Counter-culture festivals often have large communities that are constructed to be all-inclusive. Especially with festivals such as Burning Man, or Shambhala, there’s a lot one can learn from a festival community. (Take a look at this article to know more.) Festival communities have existed harmoniously since the Woodstock era, changing only to spread out into the many counter-culture events emerging in the crevices of the world. The fairly idiosyncratic sense of togetherness and understanding that comes with being part of a festival community, that is cohesive and variant in itself, makes for an unparalleled experience.

Dom Moore 2

(Source: Dom Moore/Green Man Festival)


3. The impact on your sense of self

The very act of travelling, whether you decide to do it by yourself or other people, is a pivotal experience in itself. A festival, with it’s sheer diversity – be it culture, music, the very environment – makes for immensely overwhelming experiences. It’s the perfect recipe for introspection. Transformational festivals, for one, are known to inspire healthy introspection and self-analysis, while carefully dedicating themselves to the arts as a whole, by encouraging creative expression. Moreover, being amidst a chaos of ideas and definitions is bound to lead to some soul-searching, and, if you’re lucky, some genuine self-discovery.

origin festival facebook

(Source: Origin Festival/Facebook)


4. It felicitates cultural exchange 

While festivals make for great portals to encounter and absorb other cultures, they’re more than a source of great experiences you can take back with you, which is probably one of the greatest things about them. Festivals serve as mediators, allowing thoughts, people and cultures to intermingle as a colourful amalgamation of diversity. While local festivals are great and intimate in their own wonderful way, a festival in a foreign land will allow you to share the very ethos of where you come from, whether you intend to or not. These festivals will give you the perfect opportunity to bond with interesting strangers in a social setting unmarred by ordinary social norms.


(Source: Dom Moore/Green Man Festival)


5. The innate uniformity in all of us

Festivals, despite their music, their grand visualization, and their aesthetics, are but inert gatherings – made intimate only due to the presence of loyal festival goers. People who not just invest in the festivals they love financially by procuring tickets well in advance, but who also, passionately, further the idea of the same festivals. This sense of uninhibited togetherness is, understandably, quite rare in modern society. It’s one of the loveliest aspects of festivals, where a group of strangers come together with a shared sense of understanding and respect for the music, art, culture, or environment that they’re in. Local festivals will always harbour that sense of familiarity, but to find such cohesive uniformity in a place so faraway from everything you know is quite an experience in itself.

origin festival

(Source: Origin Festival/Facebook)


6. Travelling on a budget is a humbling experience

When planning for a festival abroad, there is always an estimated budget. Tickets are undeniably expensive – cash that in with the airfare, petty cash and accommodations, and you have yourself a pretty wallet-emptying affair. And no matter how hefty your budget is, you’re invariably conscious of how much you’re spending. Taking into account the fact that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone to travel a great way from home, you’re now also relying on the very fundamental resources to get you through this. The value of basic luxuries you take for granted otherwise is made quite stark, or in many cases, you discover how liberating it is to be without them. Either way, the realization itself is quite a humbling experience, and one that is indeed part of the whole package. (Also, you can take a look here to get an estimate of how much you’d end up spending on a trip to Coachella.)

The Big Tent Festival

(Source: The Big Tent Festival Facebook)


7. It compels you to be a better host

Attending a festival abroad, as we have established by now, exposes you to the cohesive festival culture at it’s most veritable, and in most cases, leaves you with an overwhelming sense of awe. Seeing the way things work at these festivals, the sheer sense of acceptance, and the lack of qualms or prejudices, certainly and inadvertently has an impact on one. It may change your outlook on festival experiences as a whole, or make you more susceptible to socialization at further festivals. The greatest thing you can take away from these festivals, however, is a respect for fellow festival patrons and the willingness and capability to be a better host at festivals in your hometown/country. Share your culture and the openness; that’s what a festival community is all about.

origin gallery1

(Source: Origin Festival/Facebook)


Read more: The Sherp’s Guide To Attending A Psytrance Festival In India On Budget