In my previous recap for Lightning in a Bottle Festival I spoke of a renewed perspective and how that fresh outlook might make readjusting to life as usual a bit of a struggle. I’ve now been home for a week and a half, and I can confirm a mild bout of post-festival blues. I do my best not to spend my present moments wishing for the future, but in an effort to cheer myself up, I’ve begun daydreaming about all of the amazing, international music festivals I’ll travel to in the months (Speak it into existence!) and years to come. What follows is my ultimate international festival bucket/wish list, an eclectic blend of gatherings that range from world music to electro/dance to hippie communes bearing a strong resemblance to Burning Man.
So fun fact: my boyfriend’s business partner’s girlfriend is one of my best friends. We were both bemoaning our boyfriends’ respective male bonding summer trips without us, when we made the spontaneous decision to plan our own getaway. After debating locales for a few days, she sent me a link to the Shambhala Music Festival. Needless to say, I was immediately sold.
Shambhala is in its 18th year, and what began as a 500-person celebration of local music and art has since grown into a summer staple for the underground West Coast electro crowd, with attendance reaching over 10,000 in recent years. The 500-acre ranch is transformed into the largest city in West Kootenays, with the Salmo River running directly through its grounds. Shambhala’s commitment to no advertising makes this a one-of-a-kind event that allows participants to fully unplug and relax in nature.
Shambhala is a camping-only festival, which pre-LIB might have dissuaded me, but I now see an asset. Another bonus? They give festival-goers the option of extending their stay by one or two nights! The 2015 line-up includes well-known electronica names such as Bonobo, Pretty Lights, and Lucent Dossier Experience. They’re currently promoting the festival with a four-city tour called A Journey Home. The tour began yesterday, June 4th, in Vancouver, and the fourth show in Nelson, BC is still yet to be announced. For more information on Shambhala pre-parties or to buy tickets click here.
If you’ve been following this blog for any extended amount of time, you probably already know that I’m a self-proclaimed Francophile and shamelessly obsessed with all things French. You shouldn’t be surprised to know that this obsession is not limited to the country, and that I’ve been itching to visit Quebec, and specifically Montreal, for some years now.
If you’re into a more mainstream lineup and looking to explore a metropolis sans camping, Osheaga is definitely for the festival for you. It’s sponsored by Virgin Mobile, but considering the huge names on the bill, it’s pretty affordably priced. The line-up includes Florence & the Machine, FKA Twigs, Kendrick Lamar, St. Vincent, Toro Y Moi, Schoolboy Q, and others, providing festival-goers with a diverse representation of genres similar to that of Coachella. This year happens to be Osheaga’s 10th anniversary, and they’re celebrating by taking the festival to the next level with a series of shows leading up to the main event, including the Osheaga Block Party on June 13th.
Originally a spinoff of a Liverpool nightclub by the same name, Creamfields is now in it’s 18th year and has sister festivals in Abu Dhabi, Buenos Aires, Peru, and Australia. For me, this is definitely a bucket list festival, as in one that would probably lack appeal if it were close to home, but because of its surrounding legend, I’d like to experience it at least once. There’s even a dedicated weekly club event called Cream at Ibiza nightclub Amnesia that runs through the summer.
Creamfields is upheld as the best dance festival in the world and their addition of on-site camping in 2008 allows festival-goers to party around the clock. 2015 headliners include electro sensations AfroJack, The Chemical Brothers, Tiesto, Steve Aoki, and Dillon Francis.
Another bonus: the festival is 18+ and since England has a drinking age of 18, you don’t have to worry about drunkenly stumbling into toddlers and killing your buzz. (I’m not saying this happened to me at Lightning in a Bottle, but I’m not saying it didn’t happen either.)
According to their website, Creamfields tickets are currently 90% sold out, but you can still secure your spot with a measly 20£ deposit!
During my search for the perfect girl’s getaway, I stumbled upon Outlook Festival in Croatia. The beachside bash is in it’s 8th year and takes place at an abandoned Roman fort off the Adriatic sea. I’ve heard great things about Croatia and have been wanting to go for a while, so when I came across their line-up, which includes SBTRKT (who I saw at Lightning in a Bottle this year and is amazing live!), Jurassic 5, Beenie Man, and a MAD LIB CARNIVAL (what’s that you ask? Oh just Madlib, Pete Rock, J Rocc, and Moody Man performing on one stage), I knew Outlook needed to be added to our shortlist.
The photos of Outlook Festival remind me of the pristine shores depicted in the Leonardo Dicaprio and Tilda Swinton flick The Beach, minus all of the weird sexual power play (then again I haven’t been yet, so who knows?).
And for about $20 a pop, you can book a ride on a party boat with some of the headlining musicians. Outlook already sets itself apart with its remote and idyllic location, but they really step up the competition with a worldwide launch party tour that spans 32 countries.
We ultimately ruled it out as a bit too ambitious with only a few month’s notice, but I have to admit that this wish list has almost changed my mind…
Fusion Festival is a definite no-go for me this year, and not just because it’s in less than three weeks. Apparently ticketbuyers enter into an equal-opportunity ballot system well in advance of the festival and tickets sell out almost immediately. Still, Fusion definitely caught my eye with its international Burning Man flair. Like Burning Man, it attracts artists and free-thinkers of all types, with art installations in abundance. Not to mention, the festival takes place at an abandoned Soviet military base, which only adds to its anarchist appeal.
Like Shambala, Fusion does not allow advertising within its grounds, and encourages attendees to pitch in by cleaning up trash before sets and paying a negligible clean-up fee. Fusion definitely draws an eclectic crowd, and the line-up, which isn’t released until long after tickets are sold, is just a fragment of the fun.
For those who are willing to gamble in the lottery for next year’s festival, registration is usually open for the first two weeks of December.
Fancy a trip down under? Rainbow Serpent Festival, which takes place during Australia’s summer season, is the perfect solution to getting over that inevitable midwinter hump, with electronic music blasting 24 hours, and plenty of opportunities to learn about and witness Aboriginal culture and art. The Rainbow Serpent represents a creator god in Aboriginal mythology, and when a rainbow is seen in the sky it is said to be the serpent looping from one waterhole to another, preventing waterholes from drying during droughts.
You might be noticing a theme, because Rainbow Serpent, if you hadn’t already guessed from the name, is another one of those free love, sustainable, artsy festivals that provides an experience rather than just a concert line-up.
I’ve been curious about Australia since the Sydney Olympics in 2000, but after learning about the racism and poor treatment towards Aboriginal people that still persists today (though to a lesser degree), I always felt uncomfortable traveling there as a person of color. However, I think I could get behind a festival with a mission to educate and celebrate Aboriginal culture and that gives guests a chance to learn about a different side of Australia than is typically portrayed.
The town of Lexton swells from a population of 150 to about 10,000 during the Australia Day holiday weekend that Rainbow Serpent takes place over, but the festival has yet to sell out.
Additional bonus? Rainbow Serpent 2016 takes place during my birthday weekend.
A three-day long celebration of world music in the Malaysian jungle? Sign. me. up. Sarawak Cultural Village invites 30,000 participants from all over the world to experience an international array of music, with a focus on traditional, acoustic instruments. During the day workshops with the musicians are held, and after nightfall guests choose between two main stages for headlining shows. Only about 20 acts are booked for the entire three-day festival, but between that and the workshops, guests are also able to purchase henna, jewelry, and fabric from local craftspeople, and try local delicacies like sauteed wild fern.
The only oddity to me about Rainforest World Music Festival is that they don’t offer on-site camping. Presumably, festival grounds are fairly easy to navigate to from local resorts or hostels, but I can’t help thinking the experience would be even more magical hanging from a hammock off the beach. Anyway, don’t mind my idealized visual, the festival does take place in a rain forest after all, and guests are practically guaranteed to fall victim to a torrential downpour before the end of their stay.
I’ve gotta say, writing this wish list felt like breathing in a full, seven-count yogic breath. Life is certainly for enjoying, but it also requires diligence and hard work. I’ve been around long enough to know that those payoffs often outweigh a life lived aimlessly. For now, it’s back to editing grants that will hopefully allow some community or nonprofit to secure crucial funding, and editing this blog with the dorkiest music and literature news available.