July Festivals

Written by  larapiegeler

Europe in July is liberally peppered with festivals – heady, hazy parties that play out under the adored Summer sun. Food, wine, music and an injection of local pride and passion. What more could you wish for?

More than worthy parallels to our world famous Proms can be found in Ghent and Salzburg, where the Summer festivals cover all the arts – not just classical music – and in Avignon you'll discover a celebration of purely theatre.

Denmark's huge Roskilde festival offers fabulously famous rock and pop acts, and in Copenhagen, Umbria and Nice you can enjoy jazz festivals that stretch their blue notes out into the long, warm evenings – each city bringing its own flavour to the genre. For some all-holds-barred partying, though, head to Berlin for the loud, bright, fantastic Love Parade.

If food and drink should be more than a sideshow for you, try Sancerre's wine festival, Noyon's red fruit harvest event or Saou's Picodon cheese day in Europe – and in the US, make sure you save yourself for the Maine Lobster Festival as you tour the state fairs. Don't forget about the Whitstable Oyster Festival back home, either!

For festivals that give the traveller a true flavour of their host towns, though, you can hardly beat Pamplona's Los Sanfermines (– the violently thrilling Running of the Bulls) and Siena's harlequin-bannered horse race, the Palio. L'Ardia di San Costantino is its less-publicised sister race in Sedilo. Canada's Calgary Stampede will give you a concentrated dose of the Wild West, with rodeo competitions, wagon races and agricultural shows, and Naadaam is Mongolia's closest desert equivalent, comprising macho displays of ancient warrior skills such as wrestling, horse racing, and archery.

The Festa del Redentore, which lights up the summer sky above Venice with fireworks, and Oaxaca's traditional harvest thanks, the Guelaguetza celebrations, are two rather less competition-oriented parties that might perfect your Summer if you'd rather be a little lazy...

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