Weird and Wonderful Summer Festivals in Europe

If you’re going to Europe this summer, there are some weird and wonderful festivals and events that you may want to work into your itinerary.  Even if you’re not planning a trip, maybe something will pique your interest and you can make plans to attend.  Regardless of your summer plans, check out these European summer festival options.

el-colachoEl Colacho, also known as the Baby Jumping Festival, held June 19th in Castrillo de Murcio, Spain is definitely something you probably haven’t seen before.  It is probably considered to be as dangerous as the running of the bulls.  Taking place at the end of the feast of Corpus Christi, this non-church sanctioned event includes men dressed as the devil in yellow and red jumping over babies placed in mattresses in the street.  The act of the devil’s jump represents the devil taking original sin from the babies.  This dangerous event may not be your cup of tea, but it certainly would make an interesting travel story.

The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts in Somerset, England on June 25-29 is the largest Greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world. The festival offers something for almost everyone.  Whether you spend your time at the large crowded stages hosting artists ranging from Arcade Fire to Dolly Parton or in the calmer Acoustic areas and the Kidz field, you can have the weekend of your summer here.

635_mokumtvThe Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival in Erdine, Turkey from Jun 29 to July 5 is another event that you won’t see anywhere else.  Men dressed in nothing but kisbet (traditional cowhide trousers) are covered in olive oil and wrestle one-on-one.  The last man standing takes the title of Chief Pehlyan and wins the Kirkpinar Golden Belt. This event, which draws thousands of onlookers, is said to be the longest standing annual sporting event in the world.  Who knew?

The Roskilde Festival in Zealand, Denmark is northern Europe’s largest music and cultural festival will be held June 29-July 6.  This festival is run by a non-profit agency with proceeds benefitting children and humanitarian programs throughout the world.  This year the Rolling Stones will be performing on the stage originally designed for one of their tours in the 70s.  Part of the experience includes camping.  At the center of each camping area you can cook, shop, shower, get any help or information you may need, and just chill and meet other festival goers.

sea-danceThe Exit Festival in Serbia (July 10-13) and the Sea Dance Festival (July 15-17) can be experienced one after another.  The Exit Festival, which was first held in 2000, stared as a student movement, fighting for peace and democracy. Exit has been named the best major European festival. Perhaps because of the broad lineup it offers every year.  This year, for the first time, the three-day Sea Dance Festival in Montenegro will follow up the Exit Festival. New stages will be added, including  Reggae, Latino Dance, and Silent Disco where  festival organizers say that people with dual frequency headphones will dance till dawn.

secretgardenparty

The Secret Garden Party  (July 24-27) in England, isn’t really a secret.  Its main attraction isn’t necessarily the music.  This year’s theme of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” will set the mood for gaiety and unusual events.  You can go to the Guerrilla Science area with a human rat maze, a giant paint fight, a dance off and more.  Boutique camping is offered, which allows festivalgoers to have direct access into the park each day.  As mentioned, this is not your normal music festival, as massages and facials are also available.

The Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary (August 11-18) was voted Europe’s ‘Best New Festival” in 2013.  This year, the festival will be hosting a new venue, The Campfire state where both amateur and professional musician can try out to play songs at the big fire. The World Village will be an area that not only hosts world music bands, but also hosts Roma, Afro-Latin and Hungarian programs.  New artist will be performing in this area.  During the day, the World Village will host many different workshops.

La Tomatinatomato-fight, held in Bunol, Spain on the last Wednesday in August, must be the world’s biggest food tight.  More than one hundred tons of over-ripe tomatoes are brought into the center of town.  20,000 people then wait for water canons to be shot off.  This signals the start of a one-hour tomato fight.  If this doesn’t appeal to you, you can participate in other activities of the one-week festival, including music, parades and dancing.  The night before the food fight, participants compete in a paella-cooking contest.

These are just a few of the many festivals occurring throughout Europe this summer.  Check them out.  If you go to any of them, consider getting trip insurance. . .  you might want it after a giant tomato fight.