Events Worth Planning A Trip Around In 2013

Have you ever landed in a place to find out you arrived just after the town’s can’t-miss event of the year? Well, hopefully that won’t happen again this year. Gadling bloggers racked their brains to make sure our readers don’t overlook the best parties to be had throughout the world in 2013. Below are more than 60 music festivals, cultural events, pilgrimages and celebrations you should consider adding to your travel calendar this year – trust us, we’ve been there.

Above image: Throughout Asia, Lunar New Year is celebrated with lantern festivals, the most spectacular of which is possibly Pingxi. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

Kumbh Mela, a 55-day festival in India, is expected to draw more than 100 million people in 2013. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

January
January 7–27: Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah)
January 10–February 26: Kumbh Mela (Allahabad, India)
January 21: Presidential Inauguration (Washington, DC)
January 26–February 12: Carnival of Venice (Venice, Italy)
January 26–February 13: Battle of the Oranges (Ivrea, Italy)
During Busójárás in Hungary, visitors can expect folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
February
February 3: Super Bowl XLVII (New Orleans, Louisiana)
February 5–11: Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo, Japan)
February 7–12: Busójárás (Mohács, Hungary)
February 10: Chinese New Year/Tet (Worldwide)
February 9–12: Rio Carnival (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
February 12: Mardi Gras (Worldwide)
February 14: Pingxi Lantern Festival (Taipei, Taiwan)
February 24: Lunar New Year (Worldwide)


Several cities in India and Nepal increase tourist volume during Holi, when people enjoy spring’s vibrant colors. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
March
March 1-14: Omizutori (Nara, Japan)
March 8–17: South by Southwest (Austin, Texas)
March 20–April 14: Cherry Blossom Festival (Washington, DC)
March 27: Holi (Worldwide, especially India & Nepal)


Many Dutch people wear orange – the national color – and sell their secondhand items in a “free market” during Koninginnendag, a national holiday in the Netherlands. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
April
April 12–14 & April 19–21: Coachella (Indio, California)
April 11-14: Masters Golf Tournament (Augusta, Georgia)
April 13–15: Songkran Water Festival (Thailand)
April 17–28: TriBeCa Film Festival (New York, New York)
April 25–28: 5Point Film Festival (Carbondale, Colorado)
April 30: Koninginnendag or Queen’s Day (Netherlands)


Up to 50 men work together to carry their church’s patron saint around the main square in Cusco, Peru during Corpus Christi. [Photo credit: Blogger Libby Zay]
May
May 4: Kentucky Derby (Louisville, Kentucky)
May 15–16: Festival de Cannes (Cannes, France)
May 20: Corpus Christi (Worldwide)
May 23–26: Art Basel (Hong Kong)
May 24–27: Mountainfilm Film Festival (Telluride, Colorado)
May 25-28: Sasquatch Festival (Quincy, Washington)
May 26: Indianapolis 500 (Speedway, Indiana)

2013 marks the 100th anniversary for the Tour de France. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

June
June 13–16: Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tennessee)
June 13–16: Art Basel (Basel, Switzerland)
June 14–16: Food & Wine Classic (Aspen, Colorado)
June 21: St. John’s Night (Poznan, Poland)
June 24: Inti Raymi (Cusco, Peru)
June 28–30: Comfest (Columbus, Ohio)
June 29–July 21: Tour de France (France)

The annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Visit Istanbul, Turkey, at this time and see a festival-like atmosphere when pious Muslims break their fasts with lively iftar feasts at night. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
July
July 6–14: San Fermin Festival (Pamplona, Spain)
July 9–August 2: Ramadan (Worldwide)
July 12–14: Pitchfork (Chicago, Illinois)
July 17: Gion Festival Parade (Kyoto, Japan)
July 18–21: International Comic Con (San Diego, California)
July 19–22: Artscape (Baltimore, Maryland)
July 24–28: Fete de Bayonne (Bayonne, France)

Festival-goers get their picture taken at a photo booth during Foo Fest, an arts and culture festival held annually in Providence, Rhode Island. [Photo credit: Flickr user AS220]
August
August 2–4: Lollapalooza (Chicago, Illinois)
August 10: Foo Fest (Providence, Rhode Island)
August 26–September 2: Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, Nevada)
August 31–September 2: Bumbershoot (Seattle, Washington)


More than six million people head to Munich, Germany, for beer-related festivities during the 16-day Oktoberfest. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
September
September 5–15: Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)
September 13–15: Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (Telluride, Colorado)
September 21–October 6: Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany)

Around 750 hot air balloons are launched during the nine-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. [Photo credit: Flickr user Randy Pertiet]

October
October 4–6 & 11–13: Austin City Limits (Austin, Texas)
October 5–13: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
October 10–14: United States Sailboat Show (Annapolis, Maryland)


During Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), family and friends get together to remember loved ones they have lost. Although practiced throughout Mexico, many festivals take place in the United States, such as this festival at La Villita in San Antonio, Texas. [Photo credit: Blogger Libby Zay]
November
November 1–2: Dia de los Muertos (Worldwide, especially Mexico)
November 3: Diwali (Worldwide)
November 8–10: Fun Fun Fun Fest (Austin, Texas)
November 11: Cologne Carnival (Cologne, Germany)
November 28: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (New York, New York)
TBA: Punkin Chunkin (Long Neck, Delaware)

The colorful holiday of Junkanoo is the most elaborate festivals of the Bahamian islands. [Photo credit: Flickr user MissChatter]
December
December 2–3: Chichibu Yomatsuri (Chichibu City, Japan)
December 5–8: Art Basel (Miami, Florida)
December 26–January 1: Junkanoo (Bahamas)

So, what did we miss? Let us know what travel-worthy events you’re thinking about journeying to in the coming year in the comments below.

USA Summer Music Festivals 2012

Summer feels like music festivals. Music festivals feel like summer. The two are interchangeable for me despite the fact that music festivals take place year-round. But while some festivals stake their claim on the cooler months, most of them schedule out consecutive days of music (and fun) during the summertime. Because of this, you’ll never make all of the summer music festivals in one summer, but you can make a few of the good ones. What follows is a list of some of the best-looking music festivals for summer 2012.Sasquatch
When: May 25-28
Where: The Gorge, George, Washington
Who: Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, Tenacious D, The Shins, Beirut, Feist, The Roots, Pretty Lights, Girl Talk, Metric, Explosions In The Sky, The Joy Formidable, Santigold, St. Vincent, Mark Lanegan Band and more.

Bonnaroo
When: June 7-10
Where: Manchester, Tennessee
Who: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish, The Beach Boys, Bon Iver, The Avett Brothers, Skrillex, Feist, Ludacris, The Temper Trap, Alice Cooper, Tune-Yards, St. Vincent, The Black Lips, Battles, Santigold, The Antlers, Bad Brains and more.

Outside Lands
When: August 10-12
Where: San Francisco, California
Who: Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Jack White, Foo Fighters, Beck, Skrillex, Sigur Ros, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Passion Pit, Andrew Bird, Franz Ferdinand, Zola Jesus, Die Antwoord and more.

Governors Ball
When: June 23-24
Where: Randall’s Island, New York City
Who: Fiona Apple, Beck, Passion Pit, Kid Cudi, Modest Mouse, Atmosphere, Explosions In The Sky, Built To Spill, Major Lazer, Cage The Elephant and more.

Pitchfork
When: July 13-15
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Who: Feist, Vampire Weekend, Hot Chip, Dirty Projectors, Purity Ring, Grimes, Sleigh Bells, Youth Lagoon, Beach House and more.

Capitol Hill Block Party
When: July 20-22
Where: Seattle, Washington
Who: Neko Case, Major Lazer, Grimes, Youth Lagoon, Cloud Nothings, Thee Oh Sees and more.

Lollapalooza
When: August 3-5
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Who: Jack White, The Black Keys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, At The Drive-In, Black Sabbath, The Shins, Passion Pit, Sigur Ros, The Shins, Bloc Party, Florence + The Machine, Metric, Franz Ferdinand, The Temper Trap, Band of Skulls, Chairlift, White Rabbits and more.

Bumbershoot
When: September 1-3
Where: Seattle, Washington
Who: Jane’s Addiction, Skrillex, Gotye, M83, Awolnation, Keane, Passion Pit, City and Colour, Mudhoney, Low, Heartless Bastards, Lights and more.

Summer Music Festival Style

Budget Travel: Seattle


Summary:

Mention “Seattle” and what’s likely to come to mind are coffee, microbrews, and weather. But look a little closer at the local’s city, and you’ll find a place appreciated for the arts and green space. Defined and inspired by its waterways, evergreen forests, seven hills, and mountains on either side, the Emerald City is a place that begs to be explored by land and sea. It may have a reputation for having the most literate population in the US, but the city is just as unpretentious as it is metropolitan. It has a reputation for its weather, but Seattleites will tell you that it’s not really as rainy as you might expect. Just the same, it’s a city that’s not as expensive as you might expect–Seattle can be a budget destination after all.


Getting In:
You can fly into the Seattle-Tacoma Airport (SEA) on a number of major airlines, including American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, and United, but you’re most likely to find a deal on Alaska Airlines/Horizon or Southwest.

Amtrak trains offer another option–they’ll drop you off at King Street Station in the International district.

Rather than take a taxi from the airport, get dropped off downtown by the Gray Line Downtown Airporter, which departs every 30 minutes (between 5:30 a.m.–11 p.m.). You’ll only pay $11 one-way, or $18 round-trip. Those with a more adventuresome spirit (and a slimmer wallet) can catch the Metro bus ($1.50 off-peak/$2.25 peak hours)–near door 6 of the baggage-claim area.

Once you reach downtown, you’ll definitely want to make friends with the bus. Sure, you could hoof it, but why bother when buses are free within the Free-Ride Area, anytime from 6:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.

Where to Stay:
The only hostel downtown is Green Tortoise, but what a great location it has–right across from Pike Place Market. Their recent relocation has made a huge improvement in facilities and cleanliness, and they offer free breakfast daily (with waffles and eggs), and free dinner three times a week. Dorms come in at $25–36, and rooms are $77–90. Check out their current special: save $4 on the fourth night in a dorm room.

For another reasonable option, head to the College Inn Seattle in the University district. The historic building that dates back to the 1909 Alaska-Yukon Exposition is big on atmosphere. You may have to share a bathroom, but that’s what brings the rates down to $55–90.

What to See:
Here’s a newsflash: there’s more than one viewing tower in town. Everyone knows about the Space Needle ($16), but for half the price you can get a tip-top view of the city from Smith Tower ($7.50). The view from the 35th floor observation deck may showcase more of downtown than the Queen Anne district, but the price is right. Check the calendar in advance to make sure that it’s open.

Spend a weekend morning browsing one of the area’s farmer’s markets–especially the University (year-round on Saturdays) and Fremont districts (year-round on Sundays), where music and crafts are as much of the experience as the fruit-sampling. And of course, there’s the most famous market in town: Pike Place–theatrics and tourists aside, it’s a lively place to find everything from produce and seafood to flowers and crafts.

Pick a day of the week, and you’re likely to find an art walk. Tour the different neighborhoods while you tour the art:

First Thursday: Pioneer Square
First Friday: Fremont
Second Tuesday: Capitol Hill
Second Thursday: West Seattle
Second Friday: Belltown
Second Saturday: Ballard
Third Thursday: Upper Queen Anne

Local museums also help you save a few dollars, but you have to know when to find their free days. The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is free on the first Thursday of the month (and to seniors aged 62+ on the first Friday, and to teens aged 13–19 from 5:00–9:00 p.m. on the second Friday). The Seattle Asian Art Museum is free on the first Thursday of the month (and to seniors aged 62+ on the first Friday, and to families on the first Saturday). The first Thursday of the month (5:00-8:00 p.m.) is the best time to visit the Gehry-designed Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum. Frye Art Museum is always free–every day.

Grunge may be dead–even here in its birthplace–but Seattle still loves its music; and it shows in the music festivals–several of which are amazingly free. Northwest Folklife Festival, which will celebrate its 100 anniversary in 2009, runs every Memorial Day weekend and showcases ethnic, folk, and traditional arts. If you’re in town in June, you’ll want to join the Fremont Fair, which rings in the Summer Solstice with a parade, crafts, music, and food. The popular Bumbershoot–every Labor Day weekend–may not be free, but $80 is well worth the range of bands that you can take in with the 3-day pass.

Fresh air is free and boating options are abundant in outdoorsy Seattle. The easiest way out on the water is by taking a ferry to Bainbridge Island ($6.70 round-trip), where a front-row view of the city skyline is guaranteed. Bring your bike with you for an extra dollar, or rent one on the island. Or else, propel yourself on the water. Combine a trip to the Washington Park Arboretum or Gas Works Park with a kayak rental through Agua Verde Paddle Club (single $15/1 hr; $25/2 hrs; double $18/$30) or a canoe/rowboat rental through UW Waterfront Activities Center ($7.50/hr; closed November–January). For a free alternative, set sail on a classic wooden boat through the Center for Wooden Boats–half-hour rides are free from 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. every Sunday.

A Sampling of Labor Day Festivals

There’s more to Labor Day than escaping for the weekend — most cities offer some sort of celebration. If you’ve decided to stick around town, here’s a small sampling of the odd, the crazy, and the large festivals across the country.

Southern Decadence

Known as the “Gay Mardi Gras,” this New Orleans celebration starts partying the Wednesday before Labor Day and doesn’t stop until the Tuesday afterward. The inclusion of “decadence ” in the title barely hints at the indulging and imbibing that go on for six days.

Events include a talent competition (talented kissing counts!), three 12-hour “dance parties” (read: raves), drag shows, and a big you-know-what contest. DJ ChiChi LaRue, better known as a porn director, presides over several events.

Tickets and passes are still available through the official website, and you can find hotel deals there as well.

Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music and Arts Festival

A “bumbershoot” is an umbrella. I didn’t know this until I moved to Seattle, so I’m assuming that you don’t either. And I’m also assuming that Seattle’s largest music festival is named after said umbrella in a sort of crossed-fingers, let’s fool the gods, double-jinx move, wherein naming a festival after the most popular accessory in the northwest ensures that it won’t really rain. (Although the official website claims it’s a “metaphor for the festival being an umbrella for all of the various artists and performers it encompasses.”)

One ticket gets you in to see everthing, although some venues have limited seats. This year’s lineup includes The Shins, Wu-Tang Clan, Sean Paul, Fergie, and Joss Stone. Although music is Bumbershoot’s draw, there’s also comedy, literary arts, and various other performing arts, plus crafts, food and what’s sure to be a rockin’ beer garden.

Tickets are sold out for all three days, so if you’re a last-minute planner you might want to check out Craigslist and eBay for people who’ve had a change of plans.

Chicago Jazz Festival

Significantly more subdued than Southern Decadence, Chicago Jazz Festival nonetheless offers a lot to “get jazzed” (their motto, not mine) about. Three days of free jazz in Grant Park is kicked off by the only ticketed show of the weekend — An Evening with Herbie Hancock.

Chicago Jazz originated as a small festival in memory of Duke Ellington, and eventually joined forces with the John Coltrane Memorial Concert and the Jazz Institute of Chicago to showcase a talented line-up for which 125,000 enthusiasts came. 29 years later the festival still attracts the same kinds of crowds.

Mackinac Bridge Walk

Although it’s not an all-weekend event, the Mackinac Bridge Walk is celebrating its 50th year as something of a phenomenon, attracting close to 65,000 participants in the 5-mile walk. The bridge spans Lake Michigan from St. Ignace to Mackinac City, Michigan, and was an architectural wonder when it opened in 1957. It’s the third longest suspension bridge in the world (although until 1998 it the longest).

The governor-headed walk marks the only time pedestrians are allowed on the bridge. Participants describe the event as celebratory, and one person wrote that “the excitement is palpable.” If you’re in Michigan, it’s not a bad (or expensive — the walk is free) way to spend Labor Day.

No running allowed — if you just can’t walk, wait until May 28, 2008 when the Mackinac Bridge Run is held.

Mountain Man Rendezvous

If you enjoy playing pretend, then this festival could be for you. A historical reenactment of the “mountain man/trapper life,” Mountain Man Rendezvous in Fort Bridger, Wyoming celebrates the old days when trappers convened to sell their furs from the previous winter. Participants raise tepees and buckskin tents, and compete in events like knife throwing, tomahawk throwing, and black powder target shooting. A period food court serves up kettle corn, Indian fry bread, and other dishes from the time (don’t worry, there’s no squirrel). Museums stay open late and historians speak nightly, so you can say you learned something over your holiday weekend. The festival draws a crowd of about 40,000 so you might want to reserve your buckskin tent ASAP.