If music makes your world go round, then go around the world for great music. Here, we cover some of the most musically charged places and Great Music Festivals around the World.
- Woodstock Music Festival, USA
This one-off music festival, held in 1969, is the stuff of legends. What was supposed to be a relatively small show (and ticketed too) of about 20,000 people morphed into a free-for-all gathering of over 500,000 fans, rocking to some of the greatest musical acts of the time including The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and so many more. The festival actually happened in a small town in upstate New York called Bethel, in the fields of a dairy farm and it was, for many, a pivotal point in the history of musical performance.
When to go: The festival no longer happens but you can pay your respects at the dairy farm where it all went down. All that is left of Woodstock is a plaque and a totem in the middle of the field depicting Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jeri Garcia.
- The Roots Music Festival, Shillong, India
Deep in North-Eastern India is not where you’d expect the country’s (very proudly self-proclaimed) rock ‘n’ roll capital to be. Far away from the head bangers and the pubs in hip cities, Shillong, a beautiful destination to spend the monsoons, is quietly making waves in the music world for the quality of music it produces and the class acts it hosts.
And it’s not just rock that is big here – there’s some truly brilliant jazz and Blues coming out of this lovely city too! In 2003 the Roots Festival took place for the first in Shillong, to showcase the musical talent spilling out of the city. Since then, it has extended to a tour within the North-East, encompassing almost all states and the inherent love for musical expression they all share.
When to go: There’s always something happening in Shillong. The Roots Festival tour takes place between October and November.
- Salzburg Classical Music Festival, Austria
The birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg plays host to a classical music and drama festival for five weeks in the summer. The festival is a long standing tradition; it was first held in 1877 and survived world wars, shutting shop on occasion, skipping years here and there but never totally dying-out. It’s a must do for lovers of western classical music and the opera. Since the late 1960s, Salzburg has hosted the Salzburg Easter Festival through the Easter week and is must visit tourist attraction in Austria.
When to go: Plan to be in Salzburg in the summer time (July – August) or through the Easter week to catch some great performances.
- Sunburn Music Festival, Goa, India
Come December and the beaches of Goa throb to the beats of artistes from across the world at the Sunburn Music Festival. The concept? It’s simple enough – hang out on the beach in your shorts and swimsuits, dancing away with thousands of others who have the same idea as you – four days of non-stop partying. Like a lot of festivals, Sunburn too has faced opposition from the officials but the party continues anyway. The music is geared to that end too – expect trance, house, electronic and dance music. If you are in India & in your twenties, you shouldn’t miss it for anything
When to go: Sunburn Music Festival takes place in Vagator, Goa in December every year. Details for 2016 are yet to be released.
- The Hampi Utsav, Hampi, India
Hampi is overflowing with treasures. The village of Hampi is a ruined city that sits in the midst of an ancient capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Stunning architecture abounds and for a few days every year, Hampi transforms into the venue for a festival of Indian music and dance. The Hampi Utsav has performances of music ranging from the Bollywood variety to Qawwalis, Ghazals, Hindustani Classical and more. The shows are typically held in the late evening and go on into the night, leaving the days free to explore the actual venue itself.
When to go: The music festival generally takes place in November. Dates for 2016 yet to be released.
- Tomorrowland, Belgium
Tomorrowland creates a truly special environment with amazing positive energy. Everyone is about the same age, and there are tons of attractive people everywhere. The production and quality of the grounds are incredible. Immense thought has gone into designing everything, so you really feel like you’ve left the world behind.
Tomorrowland has locations for anything you might need, from charging your phone to buying inflatable mattresses/pillows. There are also 10 kinds of food stands, and the food stands are everywhere. Food and drinks are available in Tomorrowland’s own currency. You can spend much more than you intend to if you’re not careful. There are also many ATMs around inside the camp ground. They accept all cards, but just make sure you are at the right type of machine (card w/chip, card without chip, etc.)
When to go: The festival package has been sold out for 2016. If your moral compass doesn’t pass due north, you can look towards the black market.
- Lollapalooza, Chicago, USA
Lollapalooza: the music festival that has, two decades since its inception, joined the ranks of other extravaganzas like Coachella and Bonnaroo in both quantity and, arguably, quality — bringing a metric-ton of musical acts (140 this year) to an audience of thousands (90,000 fans are expected each day) while still trying to keep everyone happy, hydrated and non-heat stroked.
Conceived and created in 1991 by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for his band, Lollapalooza ran annually until 1997, and was revived in 2003. From its inception through 1997 and its revival in 2003, the festival toured North America. In 2004, the festival organizers decided to expand the dates to two days per city, but poor ticket sales forced the 2004 tour to be cancelled. In 2005, Farrell and the William Morris Agency partnered with Austin, Texas–based Company Capital Sports Entertainment (now C3 Presents) and retooled it into its current format as a weekend destination festival in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois.
When to go: July 28 – July 31, 2016. All general admission tickets are sold-out. If you have the money, VIP and Premium tickets are still up for grabs.