Written by larapiegeler
Summer is at it's height, and festival time is here...
The Edinburgh Fringe, which starts towards the end of this month, is definitely a competitor for the spot of most high-profile festival in the UK, but while it’s extensively covered on TV and radio and picked apart in newspaper reviews, you really have to be there to fully appreciate the sense of community, the spontaneity and the thrill of so much talent released in the name of fun.
The opera season at Glyndebourne is far more sedate but no less impressive in terms of atmosphere, offering a spark of that black tie picnic quirkiness that England sometimes seems to have all but lost. Cowes Week (a serious regatta with noble heritage and what amounts to an associated festival) sustains it, too, exploiting the passably dependable August weather to the utmost. And to see the effects of all that lovely sunshine from the air, why not be in Bristol for the beautiful Balloon Fiesta? Make sure you book your ride in advance though… or just enjoy the mass ascents, ‘night glows’, concerts and aerobatics shows.
It’s peak season for festivals in the rest of Europe now as well but in Bunol in Valencia, they’re not as polite about it: if you find yourself there on the last Wednesday in August, the locals will be pelting each other and you with fresh, juicy tomatoes.
If you prefer a romantic, riverside rain of coloured sparks to a splattering of fruit juice, be somewhere in the Rhine Valley wine region between Linz and Bonn for the last night of the Rhine in Flames festival, which leaves images of the massive firework display tinsel-twinkling in the mind’s eye after a day spent wandering the gentle countryside as the season turns.
If nothing but a proper Summer music festival with tents and world food will satisfy you, give the Green Man Festival in Wales a go. All the music with none of the pretention seems to be the order of the day: you’ll hear work by monumentally famous folk, ethnic and rock bands as well as bright and original performances from new talent, and if you turn from the stage for a moment and gaze at the horizon, you’ll see nothing but the overwhelmingly green and pleasant Brecon Beacons.
The Burning Man Festival, on the other hand, is radical in the 1960s sense of the word. Summer solstice desert beach party, venue for wild self-expression and eclectic arts event all in one, it is guaranteed to spawn a surprise or two even for the most jaded festival goer.
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