Hit the Road – Five Amazing Global Music FestivalsApril 25, 2019
As winter winds down and music lovers worldwide begin to emerge from their headphoned hibernation, the greatest of all seasons begins: festival season.
While it’s nice to have a great festival near your hometown, there’s something truly special about music-centric travel. Turning a festival trip into a full-on travel adventure ups the ante and can make for an unforgettable experience.
With that approach in mind, here are some mind-blowingly great 2019 festivals in vibrant parts of the globe. Let’s cash in some frequent-flier miles, limber up our passports, and get out of town.
New Orleans, Louisiana – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 25 – 28, May 2 – 5)
The big daddy of Big Easy festivals, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has been staged annually since 1970 and has been the site of some of popular music’s most memorable performances. Like Coachella, it’s held on two consecutive weekends, but unlike Coachella, it has nothing to do with playing dress up and taking selfies. Jazz Fest is all about the music.
It’s tough to stand out musically in a town like New Orleans. It seems like there’s brilliant music on every corner and in every bar of the city, so Jazz Fest brings in real heat for their headliners. Internationally-known megastars top the bill each year, while the side stages are nonstop action with the best jazz, zydeco and roots music on earth.
Fun fact: It’s impossible to be in a bad mood while listening to zydeco music in New Orleans. Science has proven this.
Headliners: Katy Perry, Chris Stapleton, Van Morrison, Pittbull, and dozens more.
Guadalajara, Mexico – Corona Capital (May 11)
One of the most cosmopolitan cities in Mexico, Guadalajara is renowned for its amazing cuisine, iconic mariachi music and wonderful people. It also happens to be home to one of the greatest rock festivals in the western hemisphere: Corona Capital.
The festival skews heavily to rock and indie music, with DJ sets and EDM on the back burner. It’s a great event for anyone who loves their music performed live and isn’t moved as much by lip synced or pre-taped performances.
Headliners: Tame Impala, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoenix, The Chemical Brothers, and more.
Nyon, Switzerland – Paléo Festival (July 23 – 28)
Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, in the ridiculously beautiful land of Switzerland, the Paléo Festival is one of Europe’s premier concert events, and it runs for a full six days. Past headliners include Depeche Mode, The Killers, Macklemore, Arcade Fire, Muse, and Iron Maiden, so it’s firmly in the “something for everyone” camp.
One great thing about Paléo is its commitment to guest experience. The organizers cap the number of tickets available for each day to a surprisingly low 35,000. This ensures great sightlines and avoidance of the dreaded “festival crush” while the main-stage acts are performing. It’s a surprisingly chill environment for a major rock festival.
Headliners: The Cure, Lana Del Rey, Twenty One Pilots, and more.
Budapest, Hungary – Sziget Festival (August 7 – 13)
Tantalizingly billed as “an electronically amplified, warped amusement park that has nothing to do with reality”, Budapest’s Sziget Festival features what may be the most interesting and eclectic lineup of any festival this year. It runs for a full week, so it requires a pretty hefty commitment, but it’s a great excuse to visit the impossibly lovely, old-world European city of Budapest.
Sziget has been Eastern Europe’s premier festival for nearly 30 years and really needs to be experienced by any dedicated music aficionado.
Headliners: Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Post Malone, 21 Pilots, The 1975, and many more.
Pattaya, Thailand – Wonderfruit (December 12 – 16)
A sort of Thai version of Burning Man, Wonderfruit is a full-blown sensory experience featuring music, art, workshops, and incredible food. With an emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility, it’s much more than a simple gig. Wonderfruit is a true community and is among the most unique adventures in the world of pop culture.
Musically, it leans toward electronica and unique Asian artists, but individual music acts aren’t really the draw here. A trip to Wonderfruit is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Headliners: yet to be announced