10 of the World's Greatest Festivals That Aren't Glastonbury

Didn't get tickets to Glasto this summer or perhaps you've had enough of the old routine? Why not try something completely different this year...
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Didn't get tickets to Glasto this summer or perhaps you've had enough of the old routine? Why not try something completely different this year...

Amsterdam Grachtenfestival, Holland

Amsterdam's unique geography allows for some picturesque concert-going, but this festival has grown from a few performances along the major canals to about 150 classical music concerts — many of them free — in private apartments, off-beat museums, warehouses, public parks and, even, on boats. There's a special concentration on programs for children; and the event culminates with the famous Prinsengrachtconcert, staged on a pontoon in the canal of the same name.

Helsinki Festival, Finland

August 2010 marked only the second incarnation of a program that's designed to shine a spotlight on the wide array of Finland's visual and performing arts. On the night of August 27, everybody takes to the streets to avail themselves of the waning but still lengthy white nights.

Venice International Film Festival, Italy

Held every year on the Venetian islet, the Lido, since 1932, the Venice Film Festival is the world’s oldest celebration of cinema. Founded by Count Guiseppe Volpi, this annual event takes place between late August and early September and its highest award is known as the Golden Lion. Previous winners include Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake in 2004 and Brokeback Mountain in 2005.

Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, USA

This event offers a showcase for internationally known and locally based dance, music and theatre artists, who perform in theatres, on the streets and in non-traditional venues, such as bars and parking garages. Founded in 1997 by local arts producers Nick Stuccio and Eric Schoefer, the annual festival now lasts for 16 days, starting on Labour Day weekend (prior to first Monday in September).

Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival, USA

Held annually over Labour Day weekend at the 74 acre Seattle Center, this festival offers a range of music, film, comedy, spoken word, dance, theatre, performance art and visual arts exhibits. Tickets are sold as day or weekend passes, with most including entry to all performances.

Toronto Film Festival

Some 300 films are showcased throughout the city, as well as a few in the barely-opened, long-awaited, Bell Lightbox theater, which will soon serve as the event's homebase. Highlights of the 35th annual festival include the opening film, "Score: A Hockey Musical," a lighthearted look at the Canadian national identity; and a new documentary, in 3D, by Werner Herzog.

Munich Oktoberfest

Billed as the world’s largest fair, this traditional, often rowdy celebration of Bavarian food, beer and music attracts some six million visitors each year in September. To make the event more palatable to families, organizers implemented a policy in 2005 that restricts the louder Schlager-style music to 6 pm and later, and mandates a lower decibel level for the daytime hours.

Seoul Drum Festival, South Korea

The centrepiece of this 12 year old event is a series of drum performances and a street parade that feature 20 national percussion teams and seven other groups representing countries including Japan, France, India and Mexico. The festival takes place in the last weekend in September.

Setouchi Art Festival, Japan

New site-specific projects, from 40 plus artists, on seven sparsely-populated islands in Japan's Inland Sea, throughout October annually. The main focus remains Naoshima, which has been an arts destination for about a decade. On Inujima, an old copper refinery has been turned into the grounds for an elaborate meditation on the work and life of Yukio Mishima, while on Shodoshima, several old kabuki theaters will be used to unveil new plays.

Lake of Stars Malawi Festival, Malawi

This event seeks to attract visitors to Malawi and promote cultural dialogue through musical performances bringing together local and international artists. Line-ups have included acts as diverse as London-based indie rock band the Noisettes, the Zimbabwean guitarist Oliver Mtukudzi and British DJ Eddy Temple-Morris.

For more from GF Explorer head to the website atwww.glenfiddichexplorers.com, or to create and share your own lists visitwww.glenfiddich.com/explorers

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