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32 Festivals Worth Traveling For

I've been on a whirlwind tour of festivals this past year, from Europe to Africa to Asia and right here in the USA. As I prepare once again for Burning Man, it's fun to look back at some of my favorite festivals. And, I've enjoyed seeing my fellow adventurers' entries, too. So, here are of few of my highlights, and a few from kindred spirits on AFAR who travel near and far to cultivate their own cultural curiosity...and share them here with all of us.
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Black Rock City, NV, USA
Burning Man conjures up all kinds of images for those who’ve never been. Naked new agers dancing till dawn. Polyamorous pursuers fueled by ecstasy. Yes, the Playa (the desert stage where the Man, the temple, and much of the art is located) is a...
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Prinsengracht 323, 1016 GZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Grachtenfestival is a week-long outdoor classical music festival held every August in Amsterdam. World-famous musicians, ensembles and new talent perform in locations around the city. The festival's grand finale, the free Prinsengracht Concert, is...
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Kampung Selayang Permai, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Landing in heat-soaked Kuala Lumpur after being on the road for 24 hours can be disorienting. Incessant chanting (“vei vel shakti vel”), monkeys screeching, wafting incense, a glorious moon, and a million people. Thaipusam falls on a full moon and...
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Harbin, Heilongjiang, China
My ideal habitat is a warm day on a tropical beach. I'm also a sucker for beauty in all its most unusual forms (part of the reason I'm on the Board of Burning Man). So, when I heard about the Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival in northeast...
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Magic Island, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA
Even before I moved to Hawaii, I knew I wanted to be a part of the Lantern Floating Festival. It takes place on Memorial Day weekend in May at Ala Moana Park in Honolulu. An estimated 40,000 people turned out for the 2012 celebration where...
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French Quarter Fest is billed as the largest free concert in the South and features local musicians of varied genres. Over the course of four days in April, you can experience all kinds of music, by over 100 performers scattered throughout the...
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Seongji-ro 153beon-gil, Choeup-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan, South Korea
The temples of South Korea are always one of my favorite things to check out while traveling there. For one, the temples in South Korea are usually accessible by hike and are often perched on the top of a mountain so just getting to the temple can...
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Ohara, Isumi, Chiba 298-0004, Japan
Ohara is a small town known for its fishing port (in fact, roughly 60 percent of all of the ise-ebi, or Japanese spiny lobster, caught in Japan comes from Ohara Port). It is about a 1 1/2 hour train ride from Tokyo Station on the Wakashio express....
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Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the SydneyOpera House was inspired by its dramatic setting on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, a location that’s long been sacred to the native Gadigal people. While construction took 16 years, including...