Festivals for the rest of 2016
f all you can see is a wasteland stretching out before you with no parties or chances to have fun until December, it is only because you haven’t heard about the festivals scheduled for the last three months of 2016. Once you do, you won’t want the year to end.
Harry Potter Festival, Chestnut Hill, United States (21–22 October)
Ten days before Halloween, here in this Philadelphia district they are already dusting off their witch costumes. But, the ones wearing school uniforms and colourful scarves are doing so in homage to the teenage wizard created by J.K. Rowling. The neighbourhood becomes the magical town of Hogsmeade, with activities including a pub crawl (with butter beer, of course) and a quidditch tournament. Muggles are also welcome.
Halloween is coming
Even if you are too old for trick or treating, you still have the right to enjoy a good scare. In Derry-Londonderry, they do it at the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, with the biggest street parade in Europe. There is a good reason for this: the original Celtic festival, the Samhain, has taken place in Ireland since the year 100.
Fantasy Fest, Key West, United States (21–30 October)
Celebrate Mardi Gras, in Florida. This event is often compared to the New Orleans carnival, and has established itself as one of the most extravagant festivals in the United States. It includes street parades, Caribbean music and crazy fancy dress. Since 1979, this “adult paradise” has taken over the streets of this town for 10 days, with a different theme each year. This year, they are promising to warm up the pre-election ambience, with “political voodoo and ballot-box barbarians”.
La Calaca, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (29 October–2 November)
The iconic skull from the Day of the Dead is the symbol of this festival, which reinvents tradition the cool way. Participative art and culture collide in this Mexican town, a World Heritage Site. A procession of more than 400 Calavera Catrinas traverse the historic beauty of its streets. All activities are free of charge, to remind us that “in death, we are all equal; we are all Calacas”.
Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavik, Iceland (2–6 November)
Music in Iceland is more than just Björk and Sigur Rós. What began as a party in a hangar has become one of the leading music festivals. New bands and established artists give intimate concerts in small venues, all very different to the giant festivals we are used to. But, the energy they create is the same. Another plus is that it coincides with the Northern Lights. And PJ Harvey is performing!
Wonderfruit Festival, Pattaya, Thailand (15–18 December)
Known as the Thai Coachella, for its cool ambience and sustainable approach, this festival debuted in 2014 and immediately won critical acclaim for its creativity. Through concerts, talks and art installations, the aim is to stimulate a positive change in attendees. “A multi-sensory experience,” the organisers affirm. Activities this year include Muay Thai classes and flower sculpture workshops.
Burning the Clocks, Brighton, England (21 December)
Or how about celebrating the winter solstice on an English beach? Burning the Clocks started in 1993 as a reaction to Christmas consumerism. A river of lights flows through Brighton in a procession that ends at the beach with a large bonfire, upon which revellers burn their hopes and desires for the new year. Community art group Same Sky is behind this event.