For fans who love playing dress up, this list is the definitive stop. The Sherp rounds up the most interesting costume festivals in the world!
While music festivals continue to dominate the annual festival calendar, people who wish to go beyond the art of music, and explore the historically significant art of ‘the garb’ do have several festivals to look forward to, as well. And for people who dismiss costumes and garments as a form of art not worth celebration, need only have a look at world history. Costumes, internationally, don’t just drive fashion as they do today, but represent several traditional and individualistic values the world over.
The Sherp, having carefully scouted the world for festivals that encourage a good amount of costume drama have zeroed down on 11 alluring gatherings. Trust us, this list will have you rushing for a store to pick the best costume, already!
Where: Isle of Wight, UK
Bestival is the quintessential British summer musical gathering, with the sun, music and the arts out in equal measure. Although, the most popular and enticing nature to the festival has always been its eclectic Fancy Dress Parade. The event held on one of the days during the festival’s four-day celebration, sees people of all ages come in and join the event in the fanciest, wackiest and most creative options of fancy dress.
(Source: Bestival facebook)
2. Voodoo Festival
Where: New Orleans
When: October 31 to November 1
Voodoo Festival, held over the Halloween period, is the perfect celebration of all things spooky. Even though, inherently a music and arts festival, the Halloween spirit invariably kicks in with attendees sporting their most well-worked upon outfits. From the truly macabre, to the downright silly, Voodoo Festival does not a dresser disappoint.
(Source: Voodoo Festival Facebook)
When: circa October
Navratri is a festival celebrated in reverence of Goddess Durga, usually in the month of October. Navratri, when translated, means ‘9 nights’, which is the usual duration of the festival. The festival is maintained with a revelry of music and dance after the daily prayers to the Goddess are served, and this is when the real fun starts. Women and men parade around in their finest Indian finery for these dances known as ‘garba and dandiya’. The women wear traditional Indian chaniya-choli, or a skirt teamed with a top and a scarf around it, accentuated with jewelry, that is of the most eclectic variety. The men wear long, loose pants teamed with a flower-like shirt and a colourful turban. The vibrancy that India is often described with is best displayed during the period of Navratri.
4. Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
When: October 31
The annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is when the whole of New York City is gripped by Halloween fever, as thousands descend the streets to participate in the parade, either as dressed up Halloween-symbols, or spectators. The famous parade usually sees the best of the freak-festival creativity by people donning some of the choicest outfits seen.
5. Wave-Gotik-Treffen Leipzig
This German festival that celebrates everything Goth, does not stop simply at the goth music it has on offer, but escalates to the elaborate costumes and makeup that the attendees wear to create, what is, an impressive walking-talking goth gallery. Black colour dominates almost every aspect of the festival, as participants bring out their inner emo by expressing their darkest selves in a diverse range of get-ups.
6. Venice Carnival
Where: Venice, Italy
When: January to February
The Venice Carnival is celebrated every January as a mark of commemorating the Christian calendar, as it ends with the religious celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter. What initially started as a protest celebration against the Patriarch of Aquileia, the festival is very well known for people who assemble in large unions and celebrate with music and dance. All this while they’re wearing just the most entralling get-ups not to mention distinctive masks that have gone on to represent the festival worldwide.
7. Burning Man
Where: Nevada, USA
When: August 30 to September 10
That Burning Man is a space for liberated creative expression is known. One of the most amusing aspects of this freedom is the physical celebration of creativity, that manifests in the artful and decorative costumes that many Burners turn up in at the festival. Burlesque outfits, body-tight shape-shifter costumes, birthday suits, almost all of it is celebrated and worn with great pride.
8. Mardi Gras
Where: New Orleans
Mardi Gras is an annual festival celebrated to commemorate the start of the Christian festival of Lent. The annual New Orleans Mardi Gras is a blown out celebratory affair, with carnival celebrations in full flow. Costumes are the norm at the festival as people turn up in elaborate costumes, masks and beads.
Where: Palma de Mallorce
Correfoc is an important tradition that marks several Catalan festivals, celebrated in regions where the Catalan language is spoken. The festival involves participants donning costumes akin to a devil and scaring others while doing the fire run. The fire run constitutes all participates running under a shower of fire, while in costume, making it a truly visual spectacle to witness.
10. Comic Con
Where: Around the world
While Comic Con isn’t quite a festival per se, it is the world’s largest convention of comic book fans, having played host to several significant pop culture moments in the last several years. Among those gathered to catch the Game of Thrones cast or the new Batman V/S Superman trailer, are some who genuinely work hard on their best comic character impersonations. Comic Con is very all of comic culture comes alive in some of the best worked upon costumes seen, popularly referred to as Cosplay.
11. Shambala Festival
Every August, the Shambala Festival, an intimate gathering of festival goers celebrates music, nature and good spirit in equal measure, at a secret location in the Northamptonshire countryside. The standout feature of the festival is the customary parade, where enthralling creative costumes, drag queens, and liberated interpretations occupy centre-stage.
(source: Shambala Festival Facebook)