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The World's Best-Kept Festival Secrets

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Before Burning Man was legendary, it was just a celebration of eclectic artists in the desert. Most festivals start off undiscovered, and for many this is a large part of their appeal. Some of the festivals in this list are emerging, whereas others have been around for a while but just haven't quite hit the mainstream circuit yet. Go experience them before they do.
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Khoroo 1, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
I wanted to go on a trip that was off the beaten path and so I picked Mongolia. I knew it was going to be quite an effort to get there so I wanted to make the most of it. I timed my trip to coincide with the Naadam Festival which is three day...
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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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09109 Castrillo de Murcia, Burgos, Spain
Do the Spanish have the weirdest festivals in the world? I asked myself this as I made the 43-kilometer trek by taxi from the charming city of Burgos in northern Spain (no public transportation to this remote village). Since 1621, the...
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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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From the Highlands to the Sepik River... this is where I had the fortunate experience of seeing a country & culture that rarely is seen by Western eyes. It took about 2 years in the planning to ensure my safety as this is not one of the most...
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One of the most important celebrations in Bali is Galungan. Beginning in or around late March, the festival symbolizes the victory of virtue (dharma) over evil (adharma). Hear the mysterious clangs of gamelan music; see women and girls in...
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Lake Geneva
With well over a thousand lakes, Switzerland is blessed with its fair share of stunning bodies of water. The most extensive, however, is Lake Geneva (also known as Lac Léman), where you can bask in seductive views and amazing sunsets....
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West Town, Chicago, IL, USA
The annual Design Harvest festival brings more than 50 vendors to West Grand Avenue. Oversize tents fill up with metal sculptures, handmade messenger bags, and beautiful wooden furniture by Chicago designers such as Jason Lewis. September 29–30....
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126 Tweed Valley Way, Yelgun NSW 2483, Australia
Held over three days in June just north of the surfer town of Byron Bay, Splendour in the Grass is Australia's largest winter music festival. Attracting an international crowd of 30,000, the festival features an impressive line-up of up-and-coming...