Rediscover your love for jazz, explore the galaxy through immersive artworks, or dance to the world’s best music at one of these festivals.

Summertime is probably the favourite time of the year for those who don’t care much for staying indoors. It’s the time to travel to the best parts of Europe and the Northern Hemisphere, bask in the sun and get a fresh tan, and basically check off your summer bucketlist.

It’s also a popular time to visit a festival, especially the music, arts and culture kinds. Whether you’re interested in rediscovering your love for jazz, exploring the galaxy through immersive artworks, or dancing to the world’s best music, here are 15 festivals to experience this summer.

Rainforest World Music Festival (Kuching, Malaysia)

Let’s start off the list with our motherland, specifically in the heart of the Borneo jungle. Every year, the Rainforest World Music Festival brings together world-renowned musicians from major continents and indigenous musicians from deep within the mythical island of Borneo for a celebration of music amidst nature. Guests can participate in afternoon informative workshops and enjoy evening performances, while relishing in a variety of food and drink stalls, an arts and crafts area, as well as the neighbouring cultural villages. W

Dates: July 13 to July 15

You may also like: Kyoto Protocol, Altimet, Bil Musa and more spread Good (Malaysian) Vibes

Paris Jazz Festival (Paris, France)

Held over four weekends at Parc Floral in Paris, this annual festival draws jazz fans from all over the world to its vibrant grounds. It has become known as one of the largest jazz festivals in France, ever since it was founded by two jazz music lovers in 1994. Expect big names as well as emerging talents in the international jazz scene, young and veteran alike, including Lauren Cugny, Éric Séva, Hugh Coltman, and more. W

Dates: June 30 to July 22

World Bodypainting Festival (Klagenfurt, Austria)

If you’re impressed by the work of makeup artists on the face, wait until you see it at full-body scale. Witness the art of bodypainting like never before at the largest bodypainting festival, held annually at Lake Worthersee in Klagenfurt, Austria. There will also be music performances ranging from hip hop to reggae and electronica, art installations, bazaars, and circus shows accompanying the World Bodypainting Championships. W

Dates: July 12 to July 14

Flow Festival (Helsinki, Finland)

Dubbed the Nordic countries’ coolest music festival, Flow is all about “bringing music from old school legends to topical newcomers”. Like mainstream international music festivals (take Coachella, for example), Flow consists of several distinctively themed stages – all located at the historical Suvilahti former power plant area in Helsinki. Dance the night away to electronic music at the Main Stage designed to fit up to 25,000 people, or other smaller venues, such as the Balloon 360° stage, the new Resident Advisor Front Yard and the laid-back lawn area Backyard. W

Dates: August 10 to August 12

 Tomorrowland (Boom, Belgium)

Speaking of mainstream music festivals, who can forget Tomorrowland’s record-breaking attendance of 400,000 people last year? The People of Tomorrow will return again this month with over 100 international DJs and artists as well as 16 state-of-the-art stages centred around the theme: The Story of Planaxis. W

Dates: July 20 to 22 and July 27 to 29

Boryeong Mud Festival (Boryeong, South Korea)

As crazy as it sounds, the Boryeong Mud Festival is all about getting down and dirty in mud. It’s the largest international festival in the country, pulling in a record-breaking amount of foreign visitors. Guests can enjoy mud baths and massages, take part in a variety of survival mud games and obstacle marathons, and paint themselves in coloured mud. After all that muddy fun, there’s the Daecheon Beach nearby to swim or rock out to pumping K-pop and EDM beats. W

Dates: July 12 to July 22

Gion Matsuri (Kyoto, Japan)

Taking place annually in Kyoto, Japan, the Gion Matsuri is a massive parade of floats. Its long, uninterrupted history dates back to 869, when the procession was attributed to a religious ritual of appeasing the gods following a severe plague on the land. The modern-day version has little religious significance, but still continues the practice of selecting a local boy to represent a divine messenger. The child cannot set foot on ground throughout the days of procession (13th to 17th July). The three nights leading up to the parade, known as yoiyama, will see food stalls lined up on the streets. During this time, girls dress up in traditional wear (yukata) and residents open their homes to exhibit family heirlooms. W

Dates: The entire month of July

The Curious Arts Festival (Hampshire, United Kingdom)

Curiousity is the key to experiencing this eccentric cultural festival, which takes place every July in UK’s Pylewell Park. On the quintessentially English side, guests can meet and hear from distinguished historians, novelists, poet laureates, and musicians while sipping gin and tonic on a deckchair. On the other hand, the curious may join a secret midnight bat walk, take up a poker workshop, or Vanish! (what, where, how, we wonder). There will also be music and comedy acts, plus activities for children, so all are welcome. W

Dates: July 20 to July 22

Bluedot (Cheshire, United Kingdom)

Who says science geeks can’t appreciate music, arts, and culture? The Bluedot festival will prove them wrong, or anyone who thinks the subject lacklustre. Featuring music, science, arts, culture and the exploration of the intergalactic universe, the award-winning festival is where science experiments, expert talks, deep space observatories and immersive artworks come to life in the most fun and inspiring way. The best part is, you’ll probably go home smarter after. W

Dates: July 19 to July 22

Fuji Rock Festival (Niigata, Japan)

Founded in 1997, Fuji Rock Festival is the largest rock music festival in the Land of the Rising Sun. It was first held at the bottom of Mount Fuji, but has since moved to Naeba Ski Resort in the Niigata prefecture. Despite the name, it features artists and musicians of various genres besides rock. This year’s line-up includes the likes of Skrillex, N.E.R.D, MGMT, Bob Dylan, and recent Pulitzer Prize recipient, Kendrick Lamar. W

Dates: July 27 to July 29

Lollapalooza (Chicago, United States)

What started as singer Perry Ferrell’s farewell tour for his band, Jane’s Addiction in 1991 eventually developed into an international music festival the world today knows as Lollapolooza. Based in Grant Park, Chicago, the festival features 8 stages, over 170 global acts, Chicago’s best eats, art markets as well as activites for children. Joining an impressive history of lineups this year are Bruno Mars, Artic Monkeys, The Weeknd, Travis Scott, and Post Malone, to name a few. W

Dates: August 2 to August 5

Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Edinburgh, Scotland)

For three weeks in August, the city of Edinburgh in Scotland presents a pulsating celebration of arts and culture. Encompassing almost every creative genre including theatre, comedy, dance, theatre, circus, cabaret, musicals, opera, music, spoken word and more, the Fringe is the largest festival of its kind. It hosts artists and performers from all corners of the globe in more than 250 different venues within the city. W

Dates: August 3 to August 27

Chocolate Winterfest (Tasmania, Australia)

Here’s one for all you chocolate lovers: there’s a Chocolate Winterfest in Tasmania that’s your Charlie and the Chocolate Factory dream come true. Eat, drink, mould, decorate and view chocolate art even as you discover how they’re made from cocoa seeds. You can also participate in family-friendly activities, challenges, and games before bringing home a box (or ten) of chocolates. W

Date: August 12

Related: 7 things you never knew about Tasmania – and why you should visit

Sziget (Budapest, Hungary)

Every August, a small island on the Danube in northern Budapest welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Sziget Festival. More than 1,000 performances across rock, hip hop, metal, EDM, and indie music genres take place at the festival each year. Among the acts to note in 2018 include Clean Bandit, Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, Bastille and Mumford & Sons. Besides the music, guests can experience an exclusive boat party filled with drinks, snacks and mesmerising views of the surrounding Danube river. W

Dates: August 8 to August 15

La Tomatina (Valencia, Spain)

You never know when a food fight can turn into a festival as big as La Tomatina, but that’s exactly how it started. After a participant of the Giant and Big-Heads figures Spanish parade in 1945 fell off it, he began to throw a fit and hurled tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stall at the crowd. They retaliated and it soon escalated into a huge vegetable battle. It then became a yearly tradition celebrated among locals in the Valencian town of Buñol, attracting foreign tourists. Despite legislative bans on the festival in the past, it was officially declared a Festivity of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary Department of Tourism in 2002 due to its success. It is now an annual event held on the last Wednesday of August, involving at least 120 tons of red tomatoes. W

Date: August 29


Images: Courtesy of respective festival organisers