A new book from Expedia and MustLoveFestivals could change the way you think about them
It’s a modern perception that when a festival is mentioned, it has to be a muddy music-fest requiring wellies, tents and appealing to 20-something year olds, hipsters or those re-discovering their youth. That is actually far from the case and as a just-released e-book from the founder of #MustLoveFestivals – Kash Bhattacharya in association with Expedia – has shown, they come in all shapes and sizes and can be extremely civilised.
From those extolling the beauty of the written word at Gibraltar’s Literary Festival, to celebrating ancient civilisations (Jorvik Festival, York) and imperial cities (Imperial City Festival, Rothenburg), there’s even one extolling that most humble of food items – the much-maligned vegetable – garlic. Obviously, music does come into it but ranges from the anarchy of the Manchester Punk Festival to the sound of the sax at the New Orleans Satchmofest or the Montreal Jazz Festival. The researchers even found incandescent light at the Lumiere Festival in Durham and at the Staro Riga Festival of Light in Latvia.
“When researching for the book, we realised that most people associate festivals with music, mud, summer and camping. To try and shake off this common preconception, with the support of Expedia, we set off to discover and share the stories of slightly lesser known and quirky festivals around the world. We enlisted the help of 18 of the world’s best travel bloggers and spent the last two years visiting more than 75 quirky, offbeat festivals in 16 stunning destinations, all of which are included in this second edition e-book with tips and tricks for making the most of your visit,” said Kash Bhattacharya, editor and owner of BudgetTraveller and founder of MustLoveFestivals.com. The book has been produced by Filipe Freitas from Semilha Studios, is edited by Arpita Bhattacharya of BagFullofBooks.com and a link to the first edition can be viewed here.
“Increasingly we see people travelling not just to see a destination, but to experience something characteristic of that destination. We wanted to highlight the wide range of festival experiences available to us, and in doing so help people to discover both new destinations and a new side to old favourites,” said Andy Washington, Managing Director of Expedia.co.uk.
The e-book offers something for all seasons and interests: food festivals, arts festivals, film festivals, festivals for families, free festivals, outdoor active festivals, festivals to celebrate writers, flags and lights – and a huge variety of music festivals.
Festivals of all kinds are an important source of tourism for the hospitality industry and are particularly valuable for introducing people to new regions beyond the capital and principal tourist cities, and for giving people a reason to visit out of peak seasons.
Following the success of this project in 2014 in Europe, this year, the concept went global.
“This year marked the tenth anniversary of the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, so we were particularly keen to show the world how the city has recovered from this disaster, to encourage more tourists to visit and see how the resilience of residents is bringing new opportunities and energy to the city,” said co-founder Michael Turtle who visited New Orleans.
According to an analysis of the Satchmo SummerFest Visitors Survey conducted by The University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center, in 2014 the event generated a total economic impact of US$6.5 million.
Selected autumn and winter festivals from the project
BIRGU CANDLE FESTIVAL, MALTA
8 October – 9 October, 2016
The Birgu Candle Festival is in one of Malta’s oldest and most historic cities. From inception, the aim was to highlight Birgu’s historic and architectural beauty and the event was set up to highlight this in a romantic manner. The streets are lit up with a gentle glow by thousands of candles of all kinds.
20 October – 23 October 2016
An international literary festival that for the last four years has been bringing together a world-class array of celebrated novelists, writers, biographers, food writers and public figures to Gibraltar. Some of the festival events take place in buildings with real heritage and deep historical roots; the main focus being on the beautiful Garrison Library. Some top musical talent also come to Gibraltar for the three days of the festival. Food is a central feature of the festival, with talks and meals, events for children. The fourth edition of the festival will feature Louis de Bernieres, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, food critic and film maker for the BBC, Jonathan Meades and former prominent British politician and Liberal-Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown who will be speaking about this latest book ‘Game of Spies’
BANKS OF FOYLE HALLOWEEN CARNIVAL, DERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND
28th October 2016 -31st October 2016
Welcome to the world famous celebration of Halloween , the largest in Europe. Experience creepy GhostBus tours, night-time markets, thrills and spills galore, with a week-long hive of devilish activities that everyone will adore. Ghoulish fun, ghastly frolics and thrilling events, all leading up to the main extravagant suspense. Key highlights of this festival include the world famous spooktacular carnival parade and the spine-chilling fireworks cascade.
CROSSING BORDERS FESTIVAL, THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS
2nd November 2016 -6th November 2016
Crossing Border Festival is one of the largest pop culture festivals in all of Europe. The annual festival focuses on providing exposure for up-and-coming acts in the music and literary world. The event is held in The Hague in the Netherlands and feature acts from all over the world, providing an exciting opportunity for people to discover new artistic voices.
17 November -20th November 2016
Staro Riga festival of lights is an annual traditional festival. The event usually lasts 4-5 days, and its timing coincides with the Latvian Independence anniversary celebrations.
Staro Rīga Festival allows locals and visitors to view unique light art objects. Just a few nights on the streets, in parks, squares and on specially illuminated façades can be viewed in different techniques-generated art objects and light shows encouraging to see the famous city of Riga in a new light.
NEW YEAR’S FESTIVAL IN DUBLIN
30 December 2016 – 1 January 2017
Think of it as Hogmanay on the Liffey, you can ring in the New Year in Style in Dublin at the new New Year’s Festival in Dublin. Bringing together some of the country’s best talents, NYF Dublin offers visitors a host of free and family friendly activities and events guaranteed to entertain. Visitors can choose from live gigs across the city at the NYF Music Trail, discover the city at the Spoken Word Festival or follow the NYF Arts Trail. Music, spoken word, dancing and great food -this is a great way to usher in the New Year.
TEMPLE BAR TRADFEST 2017, DUBLIN, IRELAND
25th JAN 2017 -29th JAN 2017
The Temple Bar TradFest has gained a reputation as the one of the biggest and best traditional Irish music and culture festivals in Ireland. The festival takes place over 5 days and 5 nights with over 200 events. The festival has been recognised for its contribution to Irish traditional music and culture with several awards including Best Traditional Music Festival in the 2008 and 2009 Festival Awards. Numerous iconic venues are used to host concerts featuring talented and beloved musicians from Ireland.
LUMIERE DURHAM, (To return in 2017)
Originally planned as a one-off, it has since grown into the UK’s largest light festival. Returning to the North East of England every other year, in 2015 it was attended by a record 200,000 people over four days.
Artichoke are passionate about the possibilities of light and how it can transform urban environments. At Lumiere Durham 2015, audiences enjoyed 29 installations stretched across the city including a whale in the River Wear, ghostly fog tumbling down from the Cathedral and 250 locals appearing to storm the arches of a 50m high viaduct.
Further details, images and interviews with Kash or any of the bloggers is available on request.