After a lot of sifting and filtering, The Sherp has put together a list of the finest festivals that you cannot afford to miss!
We all have a mental bucket list of the innumerable things we want to do and the gobs of places we want to visit – from drinking beer at Oktoberfest to experiencing Time Square on New Year’s Eve. There is never an end to this list. Attending a festival that’s larger-than-life is even on your cat’s list now. The Sherp adds some more events and festivals to your existing bucket-list.
1. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico
Where: New Mexico, USA
The largest balloon event in the world started off as a small gathering of 13 balloons in 1972. Held annually during the first week of October, this massive balloon fiesta spans over nine days and attracts more than 700 balloons and 1000 pilots from all over the world. It has grown from a mall parking lot to a permanent site which is more than 350 acres! The Mass Ascensions is probably one of the most spectacular sights you could see – the sky looks almost kaleidoscopic with hundreds of balloons in the air at once! Apart from this, there is also the Special Shape Rodeo where you can see some of the most whimsical and uniquely shaped balloons – from soda pop cans to Darth Vader! After sunset, the sky is illuminated with balloons lit with propane burners that stand static and do not take off.
2. La Tomatina
Where: Buñol, Spain
When: Last Wednesday of August
This world-famous playful battle of tomatoes takes place every year in August. More than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown at everything and everyone in the street. While the population of Buñol is only 9,000, last year saw around 50,000 people taking part in this huge tomato fight. Due to the numbers increasing each year, The Excellency Town Hall of Buñol decided to introduce a limit to the number of participants in 2013. Several trucks carry tons of tomatoes to Plaza del Pueblo, which is the center of the town. Water cannons are fired to signal the beginning of the fight. After one hour of chaos, squished tomatoes being flung all over the place and a lot of madness, the fight comes to an end when the water cannons are fired once again. The cleaning process that follows post the carnage is extremely tedious and elaborate. But hey, food fights are worth it!
3. Burning Man
Where: Nevada, USA
When: August – September
Organized by Black Rock Desert, LLC, the Burning Man is described as “an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance”. Established in 1986 with only 20 participants, the festival has grown exponentially to 68,000 this year. If you’re open to new experiences and meeting people you normally would not associate with, this festival is your abode! Because of the variety of goals fostered by the participants, the Burning Man does not have a single focus. There is so much more to this festival. To witness the multitude of facets, watch a glimpse of it below; and even better – experience it in person!
4. Loi Krathong Festival
Where: Throughout Thailand & certain parts of Laos & Burma
Celebrated annually, Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar (which usually falls in the month of November according to the western calendar). ‘Loi Krathong’ could be translated as ‘Floating Crown’ or ‘Floating Decoration’. The festival is believed to originate in the ancient practice of making buoyant decorations which are floated on a river. A legion of sky lanterns which resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish are launched into the air. It is absolutely breathtaking to watch the lanterns gracefully float through by the night sky.
5. South by Southwest (SXSW)
Where: Texas, USA
A set of film, interactive and music festivals and conferences, SXSW takes place every spring in Austin, Texas. SXSW Music is one of the largest music festivals of its kind with more than 2,000 official performers and bands playing in over 100 venues. SXSW Film is a film festival concentrating on new directing talent. SXSW Interactive focuses on emerging technology and has earned a reputation as a breeding ground for new ideas and creative technologies. A unique convergence of original music, independent films and state-of-the-art technology, SXSW fosters creative and professional growth alike.