Top 5 Festivals/Events

Below I have listed my top 5 events or festivals that I have been to and experienced since I have been traveling around this great big world of ours. I hope that it encourages any or some of you reading this to get out there and experience some of the amazing and unique events that I have been lucky enough to. If you do manage to get to any of these, please do share your experiences with me, as I love hearing other people’s stories just as much as I love telling mine.

  1. FIBA World Championships 2010, Istanbul, Turkey – The World Championships of basketball with the best teams from around the world, although not always bringing the best players they can because of other commitments which is disappointing to say the least, is a great sporting experience. While it wasn’t until the final 8 teams where the games started to get more interesting, it was still quality basketball that was on show from world class players and superstars from leagues around the world including the NBA (American National Basketball Association). It wasn’t until the host nation, Turkey, played though that the stadium became electric and the majority of the crowd was on the feet, yelling, screaming, singing and cheering on their country. It was truly incredible seeing the 15000 seat stadium packed to its capacity and nearly the entire crowd singing along to the Turkish National Anthem and to be involved in an event like that. Something every basketball fan should see, or any sports fan to see the World Championships for their favourite sport.
  2. Fuji Rock Festival, Niigata, Japan – Since going to the Fuji Rock Festival I have been to a number of music festivals throughout Australia but none of them even come close in comparison to this. With music over 3 days, 12 stages and over 100 artists to go along with over 120000 people, nearly 20000 camping in over 8000 tents high in the mountains of Japan on the Naeba Ski Resort. The only downside to the festival is the fact you have to spend so much time to get from tents, to stage to stage which can sometimes lead to missing out on some of the artists you would have liked to see. There is never a shortage of great artists though from all around the world, and sometimes playing all through the night throughout the weekend. This coupled with the friendliness of the Japanese makes this definitely one that should be experienced if you like music festivals.
  3. San Fermin Festival, Pamplona, Spain – In particular, on part of the festival, which was The Running of the Bulls. This is one of the most intense, scary, crazy, fun, and enjoyable things I have ever done. The fact that it can give you such a huge range of different feelings all at the same time is incredible. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, running down a cobblestone street with thousands of other people while 600kg bulls chase you, but it gets the adrenalin running, and doesn’t stop for a couple of hours. If you like a rush then it’s for you! The rest of the festival was nearly all just as crazy, especially the opening ceremony where the idea is just to cover everyone’s clean white clothes with as much sangria as possible. Oh, and of course drink as much sangria as possible!
  4. Oktoberfest 200th Year, Munich, Oktoberfest – The world’s biggest beer festival, where the population of Munich more than quadruples with over 7 million people visiting and over 7 million litres of beer being drunk. If you like beer then this will be heaven, and even if you don’t, you will still have an amazing time. It’s not all about the beer. There is also the array of different foods to try, of course mostly German, as well as carnival activities like rides and sideshows, plus the sheer size of the place and the beer halls along with the atmosphere of the entire festival. Even if you don’t drink/like beer you still must go inside one of the beer tents and enjoy the amazing experience of singing, dancing, yelling, screaming and chatting with the locals and anyone else you bump into. Being that I went for the 200th year anniversary I am not too sure if it is always on that large of a scale, but I guess I will find out in 2011 when we make our way back, complete in traditional dress. Note: It was exactly the same in 2011. No different at all which was much to my liking!
  5. La Tomatina, Bunol, Spain – WOW! La Tomatina was one of the craziest, most intense, fun and exciting experiences in my life. It is something that can be described and seen in photos but can never really truly be understood until you experience it for yourself. It involves a lot of waiting to get to the main event of the tomato throwing festival involving over 45000 people (in 2010) which can only start when someone reaches a leg of ham on top of a 10 metre high pole covered in grease and fat. Once it does start it is just pandemonium with trucks full of thousands upon thousands of tomatoes dumping them out for people to throw at anyone they wish, no matter if they know them or not. It’s not often you can get away with throwing a tomato in the face of a random stranger and get away with it, but chances are in all the commotion they wouldn’t know who did it anyway. After all the tomatoes are thrown, making your way back through the town with thousands of other people all completely covered in tomato pieces and tomato juice, smelling like someone has just vomited all over you and getting washed off by locals from their balconies and front doors makes for an interesting walk, especially as you start to peel off all the clothing items you no longer need like shirts and shoes and dumping them in the nearest bin. While being disgusting, everything else makes its one of the more exciting and entertaining experiences and definitely one I would love to do again. My advice: Do it!


Honourable Mentions

These are some other great festivals I have had the pleasure to attend, but didn’t quite make my top 5. By no means does this mean that they aren’t great, just that I found the others listed above to be better. They are all still great in their own way.

      • Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland – The entire city of Edinburgh comes alive during this time, well, it could be like that all the time but I wouldn’t know, but that is beside the point. The atmosphere is just amazing and you can feel it as you walk through the streets with people everywhere, and performers and shows all throughout the city. For those of you back home who have been to the Adelaide Fringe Festival, imagine that, but as only a small tiny part of the Edinburgh Fringe.

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