18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

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18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Are you a lover of great art and music? If yes then plan to visit some of the best Art & Music festivals around the world. A celebration of culture with different forms of music, art and dance, these Music and Art festivals attract the audience from around the world.

We have curated a list of some of the best music festivals in the world and Art festivals that will leave you enthralled.

World’s Best Festivals of Music and Art

Sometimes it feels worth traveling across the world for witnessing the world’s best festivals. We were blown away while writing about celebrations and festivals around the world. The list includes some of the world’s biggest music festivals and Art festivals. Most of these are outdoor festivals and attract fans from across the globe.

So get ready to sway and dive into the world of music & arts.

Ziro Music Festival, Arunachal Pradesh, India

When: Ziro Music Festival takes place around September every year that spans for a period of 4 days.

Where: UNESCO World Heritage site of Ziro Valley in Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Age group: Kids are allowed. Make sure to invest in good quality earplugs/earmuffs for your child as the music festivals usually have an amplified sound system.

About: One of the most eco-friendly festivals in India, the Ziro Festival of Music exhibits an independent music scene in India. In 2012, Bobby Hano and Menwhopause guitarist Anup Kutty started the event to spring out their passion for music. Since then, youth and music enthusiasts have been looking forward to the event.

From Lee Ranaldo, Damo Suzuki, MONO, Louw Majaw, Sha’air n Func to Divine, Indus Creed, Menwhopause, Guru Rewben Mashangva, and many more, the festival is known for hosting famous musicians from around the world.

Ziro Music Festival, one of the top music festivals of India, is hosted by Apatani tribal people who inhabit the Ziro Valley. They are well-known for their warm hospitality and love for music.

Why visit: It’s music-lovers’ (who doesn’t love music) mecca. You must visit if music runs in your soul. There’s no festival like Ziro Music Festival for music enthusiasts. You can’t help but lose yourself as the thrill and melodious beats fill the atmosphere.

It’s not only about music. Ziro Valley is known for its verdant beauty. The terraced rice fields, bamboo groves, pine forests, and cute little villages in a unique fashion – Ziro Valley is one of the most beautiful landscapes in India. So, you get to stay close to nature. Imagine staying in a tent in a valley draped with breathtaking layered green carpet and listening to the soulful music while drinking in the colors of the sunset. Do I need to say more?

Another reason to visit Ziro Music Festival is you get to meet the Apatani tribal people and know their unique culture and traditions.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Hornbill Festival, India

Attended by Amrita & Agniswar from Tale of 2 Backpackers

When : Dec 1 – 10, 2021

Where: Kisama Heritage Village near Kohima in Nagaland, India

Age group: All

About: Hornbill Festival in Nagaland is one of the most colorful festivals celebrated in India. Known fondly as the Festival of Festivals, attending the festival is a great introduction to the cultural and traditional life of Nagaland and other Northeastern states of India. Hornbill Festival is a 10-day extravaganza of music, folk dance, traditional sports, ethnic handicrafts, and delectable cuisines of the Naga tribes. Both folk and western music plays an important part in the performances of this colorful festival.

Why visit: Hornbill Festival is an incredibly famous festival in Northeast India. Not only does it showcase the cultural facet of Nagaland, but also of Northeast India. There is no dearth of activities that you can do at the festival. You can spend time at the Morungs or traditional huts of the Nagas and see the performers getting ready for their act. The cultural performances at the Hornbill Festival are their main attractions.

There are as many as 16 major tribes in Nagaland, each of them having its own dresses, music, and dances. Watching their performances is simply enthralling. The traditional Naga food, rice beers are sure to entice the foodies. For music lovers, the folk songs and the rock concerts in the evening are something to remember for a long time.

In short, a visit to the Hornbill Festival is going to be the experience of a lifetime.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Burning Man, USA

Attended by Nick and Val from the Wandering Wheatleys

When: Burning Man takes place on the week before Labor Day every year. You can go for as much or as little time as you want and the main event (the burning of the man) will take place on Sunday, September 5th.

Where: Black Rock City, Nevada (In the middle of the Black Rock Desert)

Age group: Yes kids are allowed but I probably wouldn’t recommend bringing a child under 10 years old. Conditions can be rough and it’ll be the strangest experience of their little life.

About: One of the famous festivals in the USA, Burning Man is based on 10 principles that include radical inclusion, radical self-reliance, and radical self-expression. “Burners” are encouraged to dress and express themselves however they want with no fear of judgment. One of the biggest challenges is packing for Burning Man. You’ll be camping in the middle of the desert and must bring everything you’ll need to survive the week. The only items that are sold are coffee and ice. Burning Man is based on a gifting model so you can bring gifts for other Burners and you’ll also get gifts during the festival (food, booze, entertainment, etc).

Why visit: Burning Man is unlike any other festival in the world. You’ll essentially be surviving in the middle of an uninhabitable dry lake bed, miles from civilization. The Black Rock Desert is dry, hot, and often has sand storms that will coat you and everything you own in dust. You’ll meet the kindest people who invite you to join their meals or to ride in their art cars. You’ll dance at massive raves that rage until the wee hours of the morning. And you’ll get to climb all over spectacular art installations that were painstakingly planning and assembled in the middle of this wasteland solely for your enjoyment. You’ll never have an experience like it in your lifetime.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Desert X, California, USA

Attended by Kay from The Awkward Traveller

When: February-April: though may be pushed to fall based on lockdown measures

Where: Coachella Valley, California USA

Age group: All ages are welcome, though young children who would not be interested in an art museum might not enjoy Desert X

About: Desert X is a biennial free outdoor art exhibition, with pieces from local and international artists spread throughout the Coachella Valley. In layman’s terms, it is an art road trip through Southern California’s desert. The pieces are a blend of pop-art and street-art, sparking conversation by incorporating the pieces into the desert landscape and pulling from current events. Wildflowers weave through giant sculptures encouraging environmental conservation while another piece might be an abandoned building with a somber scene displayed inside. Since so many various forms of media are used during Desert X, each piece is a welcome and unexpectedly clever surprise.

Why visit: Since Desert X only happens every other year, the last being Desert X 2019, you have to visit while you have the chance. Plus, since it usually takes place during the early spring, it is the perfect season to visit the area while skipping the unbearable heat.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

POW!WOW! Honolulu Street Art Festival, USA

Attended by Carol Guttery from California Crossings

When : Occurs annually in the second week of February

Where: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Age group: Kids are welcome to participate in any aspect of the festival, however, the late-night street party may not be suitable for smaller kids.

About: POW!WOW! has run mural festivals in twelve far flung locations from Long Beach to Guam to Israel, but, Honolulu is their literal and spiritual home. The festival brings in a mix of international and local artists to paint murals in the Kaka’ako neighborhood of Oahu. In addition to watching the artists work live, you can also explore curated art shows, listen to artist talks and participate in the annual street festival.

Why visit: For many, street art is a passive thing that simply appears as they walk by. But watching it get made, will give you a better appreciation for the skill and passion that goes into making murals.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Glastonbury Festival , England

Contributed by Annisa from London Travellers

When: Date of Festival is usually at the end of June of every year.

Where: Located in Glastonbury, England.

Age Group: Glastonbury Festival allows children under the age of 16 years old but must be accompanied by someone who is 18 or over. They don’t need to register and do not require tickets.

About: Glastonbury Festival, one of the top music festivals in the world, is aimed at the youth, but people of different ages still visit. People from all over the world visit every year. It holds many angles of performing arts, from pop, jazz, drama and theatre, circus acts, and many more.

Why visit: From grime to jazz, Glastonbury hosts a diverse type of music. Famous people such as Beyonce, Jarvis Cocker from Pulp, Foo Fighters, and many more have performed there. You’ll often see colorful painted faces and costumes from audiences and performers alike.

Expert Tip: You must book a year or two years in advance since it’s extremely popular and can be expensive. You’d have to put up a tent for 3 days, rain or shine, muddy or dry, you’d have to get through it and smile. If you want to use the toilet, you’d have to queue up.

I have noticed that people have tattoos of Glastonbury Festival because they love it so much. I never really like sleeping in tents and getting wet, but because I was with my best friends, it was enjoyable.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland

Contributed by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple

When : 6th August TO 30th August 2021

Where: Edinburgh, Scotland

Age group: Edinburgh Fringe Festival is for all ages. There are many shows that focused on family entertainment and children of all ages

About the festival: Edinburgh Fringe Festival (also referred to as Edinburgh Fringe, The Fringe) and its history dates back to 1947 when eight British theatre companies appeared uninvited and performed their own shows alongside the new International festival in Edinburgh. Fast forward to recent times, Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world. Every year for three weeks in the month of August, Edinburgh city comes alive, with the explosion of creativity and power-packed performances of artists from all over the world. It is an open-access art festival, with no selection committees. Anyone – literary any artist from anywhere in the world can participate and perform. While a lot of the shows are ticketed events, you can also watch some street performances during Edinburgh Fringe Festival which are absolutely free. Shows are categorized into theatres, comedy, dance, circus, children’s shows, musicals, opera, acrobats.

Why visit: Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a single greatest celebration of performing arts, music and cultural event on the face of earth. People from all over the world come to Edinburgh to participate or be spectators of extravaganza. Every year, you can witness as many as 55,000 performing artists on approximately 3500 shows that runs across Edinburgh city in 317 venues. Edinburgh Fringe Festival is part of Edinburgh International Festival that includes six other festivals. Naturally for this reason, Edinburgh is too crowded and expensive for travelers in the month of August!

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Lowlands , Netherlands

When: 20, 21 and 22 of August of 2021

Where: Evenemententerrein Walibi Holland in Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands

Age group: There is no minimum age to go to the festival, but the organization of the festival thinks it’s not suitable for those that are younger than 16 years old.

About: Lowlands is a festival that lasts for 3 days and is all about music, theater, film, literature, science and much more. You can camp on one of the campings with your own tent, caravan, or RV and stay for the full duration of the event. Furthermore, this is one of the largest festivals in the Netherlands and there are many famous and up-and-coming artists that go here.

Why visit: What’s great about Lowlands is that there is so much variety. Whatever you like, you’ll probably find it at Lowlands. From dancing to listening to philosophical thoughts to experiencing a play, there is so much to do. It’s a great combination of both culture and music. Also, because you can camp at the festival, you have so much more time to experience all of it. Another thing that’s amazing about Lowlands is that there are many up-and-coming artists. This means that you can be one of the first people that have seen someone before he or she became famous!”

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Dickens Festival, Netherlands

When: 11 and 12 December 2021.

Where: Deventer, The Netherlands.

Age group: It’s for all ages. It’s also fun for small kids. Just keep in mind that the waiting line can take up to an hour and a half.

About the festival: The festival is about the stories of Dickens. For 2 days the medieval old town of Deventer turns into a 19th Century English town right out of one of Charles Dickens’ books.

Why visit: During the Dickens Festival some 950 actors and residents take the honors of playing Scrooge, Queen Victoria, and all the other characters that roam the streets. There’s no entrance fee, but you wait in line until you can follow a route from the entrance to the exit, a dozen or so streets further and some 2 to 3 hours later. The atmosphere is perfect with the medieval surroundings and the characters that stay in character all the way. Watch the plays and sketches. Listen to the carol singers and choirs. It’s the best way to get into the festive mood.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Bali Spirit Festival, Indonesia

When: March 29-April 4, 2021

Where: Ubud, Bali

Age group: All ages are allowed. It is a drug-free festival, including (despite the hippie-vibe) all medical marijuana, CBD, and THC products. Totally safe to bring the kiddos.

About: Bali Spirit Festival targets the spiritually-inclined crowd. I went for the fitness, yoga, and dance aspects, but hippie-types will find plenty of holistic health, meditation, and artsy activities.

Why visit: First is the location. Ubud in Bali is a fantastic arts and culture community. If you are into yoga and nature, Ubud is the mecca. Bali Spirit is unlike any festival I have ever been involved with.

Second, the festival is a unique mix of spirituality, dance music, and yoga. Each day, I would do 2-3 different yoga classes (Ashtanga, Yin, Vinyasa). At night, I would dance the night away to different world artists, including Dub FX (rapcore), Ririe Dread (dub reggae), Giselle World (Tribal Electronic), and about 20 others.

In between yoga and dance are various workshops. You can close from roughly 100 different classes. The workshops range from fitness-oriented (Muay Thai, Capoeira, Acroyoga), performance (Fire Hoops, Poi), meditation (shamanic breathing, sound healing), or educational (how to make a mala, raw food diet). There were so many classes that I couldn’t go to everything I wanted to. I had to prioritize topics I was passionate about because so many workshops overlapped.

I don’t have kids, so I never went, but there was even a family area to teach kids magic, children’s yoga, and other art projects.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Havana Biennial, Cuba

When: The Biennial starts on 21 November 2021, with exhibitions and events programmed for a month after the opening.

Where: Havana, Cuba

Age Group: Kids are allowed in all Biennial exhibits. They will have the most fun interacting with 3D installations that take over the city, like massive sculptures that appear on the Malecón sea wall, as well as spotting new murals that pop up across the city.

About: Founded in 1984, the Havana Biennial is a multi-venue arts celebration that takes over the city’s art and cultural institutions with fine arts displays from artists around the world for over a month every two years. While art is featured from artists around the world, there is a strong emphasis on artists from Cuba and Latin America, as well as Africa and Asia. Installations are accompanied by events, artists talks, and live music in cultural spaces with Biennial exhibits.

Why Visit: Visiting the art-centric city of Havana during the Biennial makes for an even greater travel experience with even more ways to engage with Cuban people while having a meaningful cultural exchange. This is the perfect opportunity to get in touch with Havana’s history while also seeing its modern side through its art. Make sure to stay in a colonial home turned rental property during your visit – like a casa particular in Vedado, one of Havana’s most beautiful neighborhoods to experience the city’s history from the inside.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Bloomsday, Ireland

When : 16th June, 2021

Where: Dublin, Ireland

Age group: Yes, but the best age range is over 12 years of age as some of the events and readings might be boring for younger kids.

About: Bloomsday festival is a literary festival held in commemoration of the life and works of James Joyce and is one of the best festivals in Ireland. It is held on the 16th of June annually in Dublin City Centre, and it is held on this day as it is this date that his novel “Ulysses” takes place in 1904. The festival is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character in the novel.

Why visit: The Bloomsday festival follows the life and thoughts of Leopold Bloom, as well as a host of other characters from the book. Literary fans from across the world come to take place in readings, performances and to visit the places referenced in the book, all while dressed in clothes from the era. The hallmark fancy dress item is a straw boater hat.

Other cultural activities and events that occur throughout the day include pub crawls as participants move around the city in their Edwardian attire. There is a Bloomsday breakfast of the ‘inner organs of beast and fowl’ which is also a popular event.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Athens Epidaurus Festival, Greece

When: June – August 2021

Where: Athens and Epidaurus in Greece

Age Group: Everyone including kids is allowed

About: The Athens Epidaurus Festival is the most important festival in Greece and one of the oldest festivals in Europe as it began in 1954. The festival is held every year and mainly takes place in the ancient theatre of Epidaurus. This theatre is part of the Sanctuary of Asclepius which was the most important healing center in the ancient world.

A number of the events are held in Athens in the wonderful setting of the ancient Odeon Herodes Atticus. There are theatrical, dance and musical performances which are enjoyed by large audiences from around the world. The first production of the festival was of Euripides’ Hippolytus. Today, the festival reflects different historical and social events and performances are with English subtitles for international visitors.

Why visit: To experience the rich and historical culture of Greece.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF)

When: 6th to 14th February 2021

Where: Mumbai, India (This time it’s going digital owing to pandemic)

Age group: Yes, kids are allowed, any age.

About: The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is organised by Kala Ghoda Association (a non-profit organization since 1998). With the objective of maintaining and preserving the heritage and art district of South Mumbai, the KGA has been doing an amazing job since its formation and now by showcasing art and culture through the fest (KGAF) since 1999.

Why visit: It’s a 9-day cultural festival, celebrated in Mumbai around January/February and the entry cost is free. The main highlight of the festival is its many exhibitions, the lighting, art, and culture, spread across the streets of South Mumbai in and around the Kala Ghoda area.

The fest attracts people of diverse interests, from food to movies, art to writing workshops, music, theatre, dance, visual arts, comedy, etc. In short, there is something for everyone.
You can also buy amazing art, handicrafts, etc from the stalls put up by urban sellers and village artists from across India.

KGAF also organizes city tours mostly in South Mumbai, which is mainly to get one acquainted with the history of the city. Don’t forget to visit it given a chance.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Electric Castle, Romania

When: July 2021

Where: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Age group: All ages are allowed, however, some performances may contain explicit language or performances.

About: Electric Castle is an annual music festival held at Bánffy Castle just outside of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. EC, as it is affectionately known, features numerous genres of music including rock, indie, hip hop, electronica, techno, and drum and bass as well as art installations, similar to many US-based festivals.
In 2019 it won the ‘Best Medium-Sized Festival’ award in Europe. An eclectic line-up of artists combined with unique media installations & displays, otherworldly scenery, and historical surroundings create a different kind of world where the creators say you can “lose yourself to find yourself”.

Why visit: The entire event lasts five days and is one of Europe’s only 24-hour festivals. A 5-day event, the festival established itself as a reference model for a high-quality production and impressive, internationally acclaimed festival architecture. 24-hour entertainment, musical performances, immersive installations, comedy shows, other creative endeavors, elite food & drinks vendors, and a variety of daytime activities to experience that entertain everyone throughout all five days of the festival.

Headliners were just released for 2021 and include Deftones, Gorillaz, and Twenty-One Pilots!

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

Rock en Seine, Paris

When: 27 – 29 August 2021

Where: Paris, France

Age group: Rock en Seine is for everyone, Kids included. Toddlers are allowed on the festival grounds from 3 years on. However, there is a free kid festival on-site dedicated to kids only from 6 years on.

About: Rock en Seine is a 3 day Rock and Pop Festival in Paris that features a wide range of internationally known and French groups, but also many Newcomers.
As this is a French festival, it is not surprising that food plays an important role as well. Rock en Seine is probably the only Rock Festival that serves Fois Gras, Champagne, and of course a selection of good wine.

The festival takes place on the last weekend of the annual summer vacation and for most Parisians, it’s the last highlight before they get back to work in September. Hence, you can expect an extremely laid back vibe and a very mixed crowd: students, families, and music lovers of all ages.
If you are traveling to Paris with kids, don’t hesitate to bring them along! They can do plenty of activities at “Kids Rock en Seine” while the parents enjoy the festival.

Why visit: If you are in for live music, good food, a relaxed atmosphere, and some easy-going last days of summer, Rock en Seine is the place for you! Enjoy concerts on 5 stages, see internationally known artists like The Cure or The Foo Fighters, but also get to know popular French bands and discover interesting newcomers.
If the pit is not your favorite place, just pack a picnic cover and relax in the grass. The festival area is a wide stretched park, complete with fountains, shady trees, and plenty of space to relax.

Good to know: Kids under 11 have free access and you can borrow hearing protection for children on-site, for free!

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

TolfArte, Italy

When: First weekend of August 2021

Where: Tolfa, Italy

Age group: Children > 3 years old

About: TolfArte is a festival of street art and artistic handicrafts held every summer, at the beginning of August in Tolfa, a town located in the Tuscia region, about 80 km away from Rome.

The festival takes place in the medieval historical center of the town, perched on a rocky hill in the middle of a green, uninhabited valley. Every year about 300 artists, for 3 days in a row, perform theater, juggling and music in the alleys and squares of the village. The walls of the houses in the entire town are full of colorful decorations. Local artisans display their products on roadside stalls, while the largest square in town hosts the street food fair with carts from all over Italy. The town’s museum displays the works of emerging artists.

Expert Tip: This festival is attended by about 50000 people each year, so it is best to book accommodation in advance if you want to participate.

The best way to reach the town of Tolfa is by private car.

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

La Mercè, Spain

When: September 24 in 2021

Where: Barcelona, Spain

Age group: La Mercè is a family festival that’s suitable for all ages.

About: The history of the festival, La Mercè, according to tales begins as early as 1218 when the Virgin Mercy asked the King to save the Christians who were imprisoned. Now, this cultural festival is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in the streets of Barcelona. The city lights up during this massive festival celebrating the Patron Saint of Barcelona. La Mercè lasts for 5 days kissing the long summer nights goodbye and welcoming the colorful ambiance of fall.

Why visit: La Mercè hosts a plethora of family-friendly activities during this week-long celebration. From art exhibits to puppet shows, food truck stations, circus performances, and more — planning a visit to La Mercè, is a must for those who love festivals.

In fact, one of the most unique things you’ll find at this particular festival is the correfocs, fire runs. Located on Via Laietana, the fire runners begin their annual fire dance up the streets with torch-like fireworks lighting up the sky. Stay safe by wearing appropriate clothing to protect you from any flying sparks, and keep in mind there are two runs (one for children and one for adults).

18 Best Art and Music Festivals in the World [for 2021]

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