Best International Festivals of 2015

No tickets to Burning Man? We’ve compiled a winning list of alternative international festivals.

By Slava T Gordon

It is not just a hint of spring that is fresh in the air this week. In an alarming number of spandex-loving households around the world a real panic is setting in. We are referring to that sinking feeling when you realise that you and many of your favourite miscreants failed to secure tickets to Burning Man 2015. As the festival grows in popularity, without being able to scale-up to Glastonbury-style proportions, this problem is bound to compound each year.

Fortunately, it is nearly impossible to go to Burning Man and return to the ‘default’ world untouched (watch out for gropers… just kidding) and unmoved (watch out for epiphanies). Its impact is evident in the diverse and exciting Regional Burns that are springing up in an ever-increasing number of locations around the globe. Burning Man culture is spreading its influence and ethos like a gloriously shimmering, neon art-seeking virus.

anThis is not, however, to belittle the scab of your FOMO (fear of missing out). Your forthcoming 2015 Playa absenteeism may be due to a lack of tickets. Or perhaps you feel you have ‘graduated’ from the Black Rock Desert experience. Whatever the reason, now is the right time to be in your particular predicament. In your hands you hold the guide to the best and the brightest international festivals the world has to offer.

There is a global smorgasbord of funk and adventure on offer this year, at radical hotspots where participation and self-reliance are equally highly prized. So kick back, don something outrageous and take a deep breath… Crisis averted! All that is left is to make sure you order the right amount of Faust’s Potions natural hangover cures, to fuel and sustain your insatiable festival appetite all summer long. Game on!

 

Transahara 

transahara

When: 8 – 12 April

Where: Morocco

Who: World-class line-up featuring full range of electronic music.

What: Calling all electronic-music-loving-extreme-adventurers who yearn to make love to the dust! 2015 is your last chance to enjoy the unparalleled experience that is Transahara. The organizers are claiming this to be the final chapter in the odyssey of their unique blend of breath-taking landscape and soul-shaking sound systems – or is it soul-shaking landscape and breath-taking sound systems? Both apply. Set in an undisclosed location in the Moroccan Sahara, the dancing, camping and art all take place for 4 days amidst dramatic sand dunes. This event attracts only the boldest and most intrepid souls on the festival scene. Transahara is one of the most ambitious festivals taking place this year.

Get in the Mood: Check out The Hedonist’s in-depth conversation with Transahara founder Abdou Elouali.

 

AfrikaBurn

afrikaburn

When: 27 April – 3 May

Where: Tankwa Karoo National Park, South Africa

Who: Open-source. Participant generated content.

What: With an equally stunning, brutal and remote desert location, AfrikaBurn is the closest you can get to the Burning Man experience outside of Nevada. As an official Regional Burn, all 10 Guiding Principles are abided by, including ‘decommodification’. This means that no money changes hands once you arrive. Be sure to pack everything you need to stay alive and thrive in order to have the best week of your life. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and perform. There are also a number of art grants available to support creative projects.

Get in the Mood: MORE THAN FOOD have created A Review Through the Lens of Instagram to inspire your trip. 

 

Lightning In A Bottle

lib

When: 21 -25 May

Where: San Antonio Recreation Area Bradley, California

Who: Flume, SBTRKT, RL Grime, ODESZA, GRiZ, Tycho, John Digweed, Panda Bear, Wolf + Lamb, Shaun Reeves.

What: LIB is the perfect festival for eco-conscious electronic music connoisseurs. If you have been to Coachella you have probably already encountered the Do Lab stage. Their jaw-dropping large-scale sculptures, pounding bass and fully immersive experience are often cited as being the best thing about Coachella. You may not have been aware that these Burning Man veterans host their own music and arts festival, but now you know, and it is a visual and sonic stunner. With an ethos as strong as their musical line-up, LIB is the only US festival to win the prestigious ‘Outstanding Award’ in each of the 5 years A Greener Festival has been running the scheme. None of the green-goodness gets in the way of fun and games. Rather, it creates an evolved playground where one feels safe to push the boundaries to their outer limits. In addition to a healthy portion of earth-shaking beats, there is a teeming buffet of workshops of offer.

Get in the Mood: The wonderful people at Locale Magazine have put together a complete list of everything you need to know about LIB including a playlist of music videos from the headliners.

 

Meadows In Mountains 

mitm

When: 12 -14 June

Where: Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria

Who: Albrecht Wassersleben, Mo Kolours, Beat Pete, Binh, Brand New Wayo, Bruni Schmidt, DNR Viny + more TBA.

What: Truly a family affair, MITM is an intimate gathering of 1000 kindred spirits, started by two brothers on their mum’s retirement farm, situated in a lush and ethereal Bulgarian setting above the clouds. If you value Burning Man as your spiritual home but for whatever reason find yourself unable to make the pilgrimage this year, we urge you to reroute yourself to Bulgaria. A ‘leave no trace’ event, this team practices what they preach – all areas of the festival are immaculate and litter is unheard of. All the stages are constructed from locally sourced timber with limited plastic use across the site. In addition to camping there is on-site accommodation in the farm’s own abandoned village. Great find Mum!

Get in the Mood: Read this great review of last year’s festival by Meoko.

 

Þjóðhátíð (Festival of the people), Westman Islands Festival

westman

When: 31 July – 3 August

Where: Westman Islands, Iceland

Who: John Grant, Quarashi, Skítamðrall Jonas Sig, Mammút, Kaleo, Jðn Jðnsson, Sálin Hans Jðns Mins.

What: Going strong since 1859, this is the longest running and most unique festival on our list, Þjóðhátíð is located on a remote island created by a volcanic eruption. This Icelandic festival is known for its jovial atmosphere. Locals pitch tents on the beautiful shoreline and offer a warm welcome. Expect spectacular fire displays each night. There is also opportunity to participate in native sing-alongs to the tune of copious amounts of alcohol. This is a rocking 24/7 party without much time (and limited darkness) for beauty sleep. Mischief-makers who revel in all things fluorescent will blend in perfectly. Many islanders wear day-glo fisherman’s outfits to protect themselves from the unpredictable weather. Island transport is via festively decorated communal trucks kitted out with sound systems. Make time to hangout with the hospitable natives and to sample smoked puffin, a local delicacy. You will come away having experienced the festival familiarity in an entirely new way.

Get in the Mood: Fest300 explains the history of Þjóðhátíð, and everything you need to know on getting there and back again.

 

Symbiosis Gathering – Ten Year Re:Union

symbiosis

When: 17 -20 September

Where: Woodward Reservoir, Oakdale, California

Who: TBA.

What: Large portions of the revellers at this sponsorship-free American ‘transformational’ festival have been to Burning Man – some will be heading there straight from the Burn with their impressive art pieces in tow. With mutant vehicles, all night parties, a stunning natural backdrop and fully costumed revellers it is the perfect place to soak up the vibes if you missed out on Burning Man. This may also be your last opportunity of the summer to soak up the sun and blow away any tenacious mental cobwebs. Could there be any better way to accomplish this than by rocking a mermaid tail while swanning about at Symbiosis?

Get in the Mood: Most festival goers have dreamt about creating their own ideal festival. With this simulation game you can try your hand at creating your perfect event.

 

Wonderfruit 

image1

When: 18 -20 December (TBC)

Where: Siam Country Club, Chonburi, Thailand

Who: TBA.

What: Last year saw the debut of Wonderfruit festival. While still too early to share line-up details, you want to keep space in your diary for this gem. Expect dancing in bikinis until dawn, mouth-watering banquets, curiosities around every corner, large-scale art installations, a fully equipped wellness area and a jam-packed schedule of stimulating programming. We are welcoming next year’s event as brilliant excuse for a winter sun seeking adventure.

Get in the Mood: Read Bane + Antiodote’s Review of Wonderfruit 2015. 

 

WITH THIS LINE UP, YOU’D BE WISE TO PURCHASE A FAUST’S ESSENTIAL TRAVEL KIT TO EASE JET LAG AND COMBAT HANGOVERS.

You might also like: The 7 Best British Festivals of 2015 – Your Summer Curated.






March’s Punch of the Month

March is the month of St. Patrick’s, but that’s no excuse for green beer & crème-de-menthe we say. Try this sophisticated concoction instead. 

Words by Slava T Gordon. Image courtesy of Food with Legs – check out their post on this David Wondrich tipple.

emeraldBefore parading and drinking, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland begins with a Church mass to honour the national patron saint. The tradition of wearing green is relatively recent, and is purported to help the wearer avoid being seen by leprechauns, who have a nasty habit of pinching.

St. Patrick’s Day is renowned for raucous and rowdy celebrations all around the globe, making it one of our favourite national holidays here at Bane + Antidote… parades and all night drinking are never a bad thing. Chicago once went as far as dying thier river green. But for a celebration so marked by the voracity of its jubilant troops there is a marked absence of tasteful celebratory consumption on offer. Green beer, green bagels and crème-de-menthe cocktails are the norm. That is why we are bringing you this sophisticated gem of a cocktail.

Applaud your good-taste and coopted Irish heritage this March by adding The Emerald to your repertoire. This mature and spirit-forward cocktail by David Wondrich for Esquire deserves to take its place as the rightful Irish cousin of the Manhattan.

Recipe:

  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1 ounce Italian vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Stir well with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

You’re going to need to stock up on hangover cures this month friends.

 

What to Do on Valentine’s Day if You’re Single

Bane + Antidote have sourced the funnest, quirkiest Valentines Day weekend events and shenanigans from around the world. Singletons say ‘no’ to misery and mediocrity – dust off your disco shoes and fly.

By Slava T Gordon

It may come as a surprise that Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic love by comedian, playwright and founding father of the English language Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages. Whatever its origins, it has grown to become a global celebration of love, and a vital post-Christmas source of revenue for card manufacturers, confectioners and florists worldwide.

But what if you’re one of the millions of people who haven’t found ‘the one’? Or one of the thousands of people whose Facebook relationship status says, ‘It’s Complicated’? Should you lock yourself in your room shedding tears for good times past? Hell no! The world is chock full of people just like you, and they’ll all be having a splendid time, so why not join them? Your options are to join those uniting in mutual rejection of love, or those that are going out to find it. Either way it’s bound to beat a bunch petrol station flowers and a high pressure candlelit dinner.

undie run FP Alice 2

Still need convincing? This article will get you in the right frame of mind: Why Valentine’s Day Is Actually The Best For Single Girls (same goes for guys too).

Authors note: Whether you plan to drown your sorrows or to raise a toast to individualism, you’d be wise to stock up on hangover cures. Check out our shop for details.

 

 

 

London

1. The Artful Badger present Love & Lightning Valentines Ball at The VAULT Festival Lates 

LoveAndLightning2_1200w460h

13th & 14th of February 2015

After the sell out success of the 2014 Art of Hearts Valentines Ball, the Artful Badger are delighted to invite you on another amorous adventure of exploding emotions and magnetic attractions. For two nights we, once again, infiltrate the tunnels below Waterloo Station as part of the Vault Festival 2015. Rooms of love and lust where wild music and passionate performances set the scene for mischief and match making. Secret rooms, stalls, games, alluring aerial, boisterous bands, provocative & punchy performances, delectable dancers and of course…a romantically rampant party!!

2. If sexy debauchery is what you are after head directly to the Library Members Club.

Hosted by MEATtransMISSION’s Radio Love, a night not to be missed with burlesque routines from House of Kittens, live painting by Alex Tzavaras, and cocktails and general misbehavior instigated by House of Wrong, ‘So wrong it’s left’.

3. You may be surprised to discover Valentine’s Day is a great day to try your hand at taxidermy.  

taxidermyworkshopsimage taxidermyacademy

Stop in at Horsely House to craft your own pair of ‘Anthropomorphic mice’ in their special Valentine’s Day workshop. ‘All equipment and ethically sourced animals provided. After this 5 hour class you will leave with your own pair of romantically entwined mice‘. Yes, you did read that correctly. Read more here.

4. If you just want to dance until the sun comes up, head to one of the edgiest underground party locations in the city – Hackney Wick.

Check out Number 90 Valentines Day & Night Party – they will keep you going with great House and Techno from the Half Baked Familia, ft. Bloody Mary, Konrad Black & Geddes at Number 90 Wallis Road.

5. Friday I’m in Love sing-along club at The Phoenix 

Karaoke? Pah! That’s just for show-offs. The real fun comes from 200 souls singing as one. That’s the deal at the UK’s first ever singalong club; grab a songbook and throw your arms around your friends – or complete strangers – as you belt out hits all backed by the amazing FIIL house band. Previous special guests include comedians Al Murray, Sara Pascoe, Tim Vine and Phil Jupitus’ .

If none of the above float your boat, The Londonist has found 13 Non Clichéd Things To Do On Valentine’s Day.

 

New York

Image and text courtesy of NewYork.com’s post, 7 Unique Events at New York Museums. Read the full article for many more V Day weekend tips.

1. Missed Connections Valentine’s Day Party at New York Transit Museum

‘Everyone has had the guilty pleasure of cruising the Missed Connections section of Craigslist from time to time, whether to poke fun at other people, or in the far-fetched hope of finding love with a complete stranger from the F train. Take it a step further by attending the 5th Annual Missed Connections Valentine’s Day Party at the New York Transit Museum (Feb. 12, 6:30–8:30pm), which includes Valentine’s crafts and love poetry inspired by Missed Connections posts; tastings from NuNu Chocolates, Brooklyn Winery and Brooklyn Brewery; a photo booth; and an informative talk from OkCupid cofounder Christian Rudder. Boerum Pl. and Schermerhorn St., from $15, web.mta.info’

2. MoSex Steamy Valentine’s Weekend 2015

MoSex

‘Get steamy on Valentine’s Day at the Museum of Sex. On February 13 and 14, the museum will remain open until midnight and offer spa-themed packages featuring stimulating exhibitions, aphrodisiac cocktail “treatments” (fruit-infused vodka shooters) and the debut of the museum’s new sensual bath and body kit. 233 Fifth Ave., from $20,  museumofsex.com’

3. Sensory Tour: Valentine’s Day at Brooklyn Museum

‘Discover the power of touch on the Sensory Tour: Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 2:30pm) at the Brooklyn Museum, which is offered to the blind or partially sighted, or simply those who wish to expand their appreciation of art beyond sight alone. A museum guide will lead guests through exhibits by including rich verbal descriptions, interactive discussions and curated sound and tactile experiences. 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, free, brooklynmuseum.org’

4. Love Cults, Drugs and the Hypnotic Arts at Morbid Anatomy Museum

‘One thing’s for sure: Your Valentine won’t soon forget this date. On February 14 (1–4pm), the museum is hosting a Valentine’s Day Special Workshop where you and a friend can make anthropomorphic insect shadowboxes together. In the evening (8pm), Love Cults, Drugs and the Hypnotic Arts  presents sex-culture historian Mel Gordon lecturing on “the erotic procedures and shameful public exposés that transformed… American courtship habits.” The lecture is accompanied by rare film clips chosen by Gordon, who is the author of Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar BerlinMorbid Anatomy Museum, 424 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, from $20, morbidanatomymuseum.org’

 

Paris

It may be the city of romance, but even in gay Paris you still have options. Check out the following articles before resorting to a candlelit dinner pour un:

 

Los Angeles

The events and text below were taken from LA Weekly’s post, 8 Valentine’s Day Events to help you celebrate your freedom. Read the full article for loads of great ‘anti Valentine’s Day’ tips.

1. Bacari PDR’s

‘Bacari PDR’s awesomely long happy hour from 5 pm to 11 pm is the place to go if you are single and live in Playa del Rey. The anti-Valentine’s Day for singles theme has inspired $8 speciality cocktails like the “Love Me Tinder” made with a spicy infused vodka, grapefruit and lime juice, dry curacao, fallernum liqueur, and cranberry and lime bitters. All small plates (excluding seasonal menu items) will be $6. Guests can also drown their sorrows in a $20 open bar all-nighter, which includes 90 minutes of all-you-can-drink red, white and sparkling wine, sangria, and house beer. Sounds like an Uber kind of night.6805 South Vista Del Mar Lane, Playa del Rey; (310) 439-2100,bacaripdr.com’

2. Anti-Valentine’s Party at Bird’s Café/Bar

5925 Franklin Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 465-0175
Date: Feb. 14, 2015, at 8 p.m.

So, you’ve been dumped and are still licking your wounds and trying to mend your broken heart. That’s all right. Bird’s Café/Bar will enjoy embracing your woe-is-me presence on Valentine’s Day. For two decades, this neighborhood dive – known for its juicy rotisserie chicken and black-heart martinis – has thrown well-attended pity parties for down-in-the-mouth souls. You’ll get a chance to engage in some righteous voodoo-doll therapy, and listen to such tunes as “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and “Love Stinks.” Make sure your ditching story is comfort-worthy, because door prizes will be awarded to those with some of the sappiest tales.’

 

Hong Kong

Read Quintessentially’s QInsider/HongKong article on ‘Anti-Valentine’s Day Options‘ in the city. Our favourite? Anti-Valentine’s Day at Fatty Crab.

‘Kicking proceedings off a day early, Fatty Crab celebrates single-life with its Anti-Valentine’s Day evening on Friday 13th February. Think cocktails from guest bartenders, an in-house tattoo artist and plenty of hot, hip individuals’. 

 

International

CUPID’S UNDIE RUN

Put the hilarity in charity’ in 38 international cities including New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Sydney.

‘Cupid’s Undie Run is a mile(ish) run in your bedroom-best on Valentine’s weekend. No, we’re not crazy, we’re just crazy serious about raising money for The Children’s Tumor Foundation. We raised over $2.8 Million in donations last year, so come join the fun and help us double it for 2015! Brief’ run. BIG party. Millions fundraised!”’