Everyone knows Oktoberfest, Tomorrowland and Running of the Bulls but with over 10,000 festivals every year in Europe, it's hard to know which rabbit holes to travel down. Luckily our mates at Stoke Travel have helped put together a must-do list of lesser known festivals for 2018 that’ll set your jowls quivering and get you saving up your sick days.
10. Secret Solstice - Reykjavik, Iceland (June 21-24, 2018)
Iceland brings to mind long cold nights, big hairy vikings and, the Northern Lights! But at this time of year Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic Circle provides 24/7 daylight which promises an unforgettable experience, especially when combined with the Norse themed decor of the festival (did you know the Vikings loved their psychedelics??). Combine all this with a line up made of established and up and coming artists and the stunningly varied scenery Iceland is famous for and you’re in for one hell of a trip!
9. San Vino Wine Fight Festival - La Rioja, Spain (June 27-30, 2018)
Starts as you’d expect with a good ol’ sangria sesh in the streets the night before the main event with that well known combination of Mariachi bands, pop playing DJs (not at the same time) and of course copious amounts of alcohol. Once everyone’s awake the next day, you follow the procession of locals in tractors to the cliffs of Bilibio where, after mass, a vineyards worth of wine is weaponised in water pistols, sprayers, bottles and peoples mouths ready for war.
If you feel you might take issue with a middle aged Spanish man (or anyone for that matter) spitting wine over you then this is not the festival for you, otherwise you will revel in this delightful health and safety officers nightmare of winey goodness. After everyone has had their fill of wine warring and washed as much as possible out of their hair, another party takes place, this time with two guys in a bull costume shooting fireworks out of their horns indiscriminately.
Sound like fun? Well I can assure you that 2 Blokes 1 Bull is a lot more wholesome entertainment than it sounds. And if the thought of wine starts to make you sick to your stomach join Stoke Travel using code CHEERSDAMESSENTIAL and get free unlimited beer and sangria at their San Vino Campsite!
8. Springfest or Fruehlingsfest- Munich, Germany (April 18 - May 7, 2018)
The sexy, barely legal sister of Oktoberfest. Garnering a “measly” million people vs. the six million Oktoberfest patrons, Springfest offers all the beautiful Bavarian beeriness of its big brother but with shorter queues allowing more time for the serious business of popping a frosty. Time isn’t just saved at the bar though, this more intimate celebration of boozing allows for easier access to the fairground rides, food stalls and loos. And of course, Stoke still offer their famous festival within a festival Springfest Campsite!
7. Hogmanay - Edinburgh, Scotland (December 31, 2017-January 1, 2018)
Elocution, healthy lifestyles and sun tans are not things the Scots have ever been known for but when it comes to drinking, they are in a class of their own. Rumour has it the Romans built Hadrian’s wall after Hadrian lost at beer pong to William Wallace and couldn’t face a rematch.
New Years Eve, or Hogmanay, in Edinburgh is Scotland’s biggest party of the year and guarantees all the whisky swilling, kilt lifting, haggis regurgitating anarchy you’d expect from the world’s biggest sesh gremlins. With everything from traditional ceilidhs to epic street parties, it’s time to brush up on the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne and disregard everything you thought you knew about the English language for possibly the best New Years celebration on Earth.
And if you’re boss has got you back at work on the 2nd, join Stoke in their 24 hour trip from London, you’ll be back by the afternoon of the 1st, with plenty of time to recuperate.
6. Las Fallas - Valencia, Spain (March 15-20 2018)
Las Fallas was Burning Man before it was cool. The festival triples the population of the beautiful city of Valencia as locals and tourists alike build efigies of politicians, celebrities and Jim next door who never picks up his dog shit before lighting them on fire to burn away the winter. The locals aren’t here to fuck spiders either, some of there flammable creations take months to build and are up to five stories high! If you aren’t a pyromaniac, the flaming statues, insane fireworks displays and copious amounts of alcohol will certainly make you one. With millions of people flocking from all over the world to attend, accommodation can be tight, and expeno, join Stoke Travel at their Las Fallas camp and join the biggest party outside the party!
5. Meadows in the Mountains - Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria (June 7-10, 2018)
A four and half hour bus ride into the mountains of Bulgaria will take you to this scenic celebration of art, culture, and escapism. Much less focused on an A-list lineup, this quirky festival offers dancing, workshops and a variety of music all wrapped up in the usual debauchery and delights you’d expect to find in a 4 day party in the mountains of Bulgaria. 8/10 on the hippie scale.
4. Boom Festival - Idanha-A-Nova Lake, Portugal (July 22-29, 2018)
This festival steps up to full 10/10 on the unwashed, dreadlocked hippie scale. Held biannually during the full moon, Boom celebrates psychedelia in one of the most environmentally friendly festivals in Europe or indeed the world, with compost toilets, renewable energy and more permaculture and bioengineering technology than you could shake a didgeridoo at.
This years theme is sacred geometry, the “cosmic architecture that connects all forms of life together.” For the uninitiated these are the numbers and ratios that pop up throughout nature from the milky way to DNA and scientifically proves that Scarlett Johansson is hotter than Kim Kardashian, and that the chick you got with last weekend was a 6 not “definitely a 10 bro!”. If this festival seems like your cup of mushroom tea then get in quick as limited tickets are left.
3. King’s Day - Amsterdam, Netherlands (April 26-29, 2018)
Turns out that King Willem-Alexander is an absolute lad as on his birthday he gives everyone the whole day off so they can have a massive party, and they go hard. The streets are full of bands and DJs, there’s a city wide flea market, and it’s Amsterdam so, you know, weed. So grab the biggest soft toy you can from the flea market, name it Steve and then way when you get lost in the madness of a city wide party you’ve at least got someone to keep you company. This festival is Stoke’s jam, sex, weed and rock’n’roll, join them for a cheap as chips (frites) option to see Amsterdam during King’s Day!
2. Festiwal Tauron Nowa Muzyka - Katowice, Poland (June 28-July 1, 2018)
Literally started in an old mine shaft, this Polish musical extravaganza continues with its ethos of combing modern music in old environments. There’s a bit of something for everyone here music wise from jazz to electronic and having won best small festival of the year in 2010, 2012, and 2014 you could basically guarantee that anyone who attends will have a blast, despite not being able to pronounce the name.
1. INMusic - Zagreb, Croatia (June 25-27, 2018)
One of the best kept secrets of Europe- the line up, location and price honestly don’t add up. Last year had huge rock and alt acts such as Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Kasabian and Alt - J and this years shaping up to be just as good with Queens of the Stone Age, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and The Kills already announced.
Set on Lake Jarun 25 minutes out of Croatia’s capital the festival takes up the three islands on the lake with two islands for camping and the third being home to the festivals many stages, DJ pits and other quirky areas. Spend your days lounging in the shallows drinking surprisingly cheap festival beers (or the home brew wine the Slovenians three tents down swum across the lake) and your nights listening to world class acts, this festival is a must for less than 100 euro if you get the early bird tickets. So forge a doctor’s note, steal your mum’s credit card and pack up your tent to get off the beaten path and experience some of the unique, bizarre and less documented delights that Europe’s festival scene has to offer.
Join Stoke Travel to keep costs down and even further down by booking with CHEERSDAMESSENTIAL to get unlimited booze at the Stoke campsites!
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