We smile widest when we’re surrounded by other smiles. Songs sound sweeter when we all sing to the same tune. And destinations are at their best when we bring them to life by coming together and finding reason to celebrate.
That’s why we’ve rounded up our well-travelled brains to bring you this month-by-month guide to some of the most uplifting, life-affirming and luxurious experiences taking place all over our world in the coming year. Whatever your interest or passion, whatever tune it is you’re singing, regardless of where you want to go, there are countless reasons to celebrate. So, here are twelve of our favourite forthcoming festivities that will add an extra dimension to what are already some of our most desirable destinations.
January 2017 – Sundance Film Festival – Utah, USA
What began as a small independent film festival in the late seventies has grown to become the largest annual celebration of cinema in the United States. Film fanatics have the chance to join over 40,000 likeminded people in rubbing shoulders with the stars and gaining a sneak peek at the best films of the coming year before they’re officially released. Such is Sundance’s prestige in the motion picture industry that its judges have the power to make or break a movie’s commercial success, creating a huge atmosphere of excitement and anticipation with every screening. But the fun doesn’t stop when the credits roll. Park City, Utah is awash with star-studded, champagne flowing after-parties. In particular the SmileDance Dinner always tends to be a hit with attendees.
February 2017 – Fashion Week – Milan, Italy
One of the big four trade shows in the fashion world, up there with London, Paris and New York, Milan Fashion week poses an unmissable experience for any fashionista. Taking place across various venues in northern Italy’s cultural capital, Milan’s catwalks are graced by models donning hot new trends from well-known designers, ranging from Armani, Gucci and Moschino, to Fendi, Versace and Dolce & Gabana. Aside from the opportunity to meet with other fashion enthusiasts from around the globe, this is an excellent excuse to explore the vibrant city of Milan. Accented by awe-inspiring architecture and numerous classic works of art, this is one of the ultimate shopping destinations in the world – a perfect city break for shopaholics with an eye for style.
March 2017 – Holi – India & Sri Lanka
If you haven’t heard of it already, Holi is a Hindu festival, predominantly celebrated in India and Nepal, but also in various Sri Lankan communities too. The festival of colours takes place over two days, starting with a bonfire on the eve of celebrations, followed by a free-for-all carnival of colours the next morning. Participants cover each other in coloured dry powder and water, creating a spectacular display of colours. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, as well as the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. With the advent of the internet, the festival’s popularity has transcended religion and spread throughout Southeast Asia and even parts of North America and Europe. Celebrating Holi in Sri Lanka is a fantastic way to gain an understanding of why so many people fall in love with this captivating part of the world.
April 2017 – Songkran – Thailand
If you’re heading to Southeast Asia this April, it could be well worthwhile making sure that you’re in Thailand between the 13th and 15th. Songkran is the official celebration of the Thai New Year. Deriving from an ancient Sanskrit word, meaning astrological passage, Songkran has many observed traditions, but perhaps its most widely celebrated aspect is the water festival. Major streets are closed off as thousands of celebrants, both young and old, take part in what is possibly the world’s greatest annual water fight. This is a particularly great event for families with young children hoping to get an exciting taste of Thai culture.
May 2017 – Cannes Film Festival – Cannes, France
Probably the most important date in the global film festival circuit, Cannes has been around for over 70 years. Taking place in late spring on the French Riviera, the festival almost invariably enjoys glorious sunshine as stars from around the globe flock to the red carpet in their hundreds to celebrate the medium of film. Its proximity to Monaco and other glamorous destinations in southern France and northern Italy makes this a perfect event to serve as a corner stoner to a Mediterranean multi-centre trip. Glitz and glamour abound, Cannes Film Festival is the place to be if you’re fond of flowing champagne, luxury yachts and, of course, thought-provoking and innovative cinema.
June 2017 – Hideout Festival – The Island of Pag, Croatia
One of the youngest of our featured events, Hideout is a hub of hedonic activity and a celebration of electronic music. This Croatian festival comprises DJ sets, pool parties, boat parties and art installations, with live coverage from BBC Radio 1. Party-goers assemble on the normally quite Pag Island in the Adriatic Sea for four days of unadulterated fun in the sun that involves dancing, raving and drinking to their heart’s content. With sets this year coming from the likes of Jamie XX, Skepta, Stormzy and Adam Beyer, next year’s line-up promises to be every bit as on trend. If you’re into electronic music, a self-confessed raver or enjoy meeting and mixing with people from all over the world, Hideout is the perfect festival for you.
July 2017 – NOS Alive Festival – Lisbon, Portugal
Placed inside NME’s top 12 European festivals, and rated ten out of ten by the magazine’s readers, it only feels fitting that NOS Alive Festival features in our own 12 featured events. The list of huge names that have played here is endless. Bob Dylan, The Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam, Neil Young, The Prodigy, Metallica, Placebo, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, The XX, Florence and the Machine, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Primal Scream, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Radio Head, Hot Chip, Arcade Fire, Pixies and many, many more have all played at this Portuguese powerhouse of live music. Sitting just a few miles outside of Lisbon, NOS Alive is the perfect excuse to acquaint yourself with the smaller Iberian state’s capital, and we’re sure that this year’s line-up will be just as, if not more, electrifying as the ones we’ve seen in the past.
August 2017 – Burning Man – Nevada, USA
Burning Man is unique among other festivals, accurately described as a temporary community who assemble every year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Each of its 65,000 guests follow 10 principles, which include things like: Radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, civic responsibility and leaving no trace. Burning man invites you to discover a new way of living. It’s an eye-opening, euphoria-inducing, eight-day extravaganza of art, music, idea sharing and, ultimately, a celebration of being alive. From its amazing art cars, to the constant generosity of strangers, you’ll soon come to realise why so many of the Burning Man faithful return each year and refer lovingly to this remote area of Nevada desert as home. Every year, a temple is erected in the centre of the site, where festival goers leave messages for lost loved ones, pray and meditate before the final evening, when everybody gathers to watch it burn to the ground. Burning Man is an experience like nothing else on Earth.
September 2017 – Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
You’d be hard pressed to find anybody who hasn’t heard of this Bavarian beer bonanza. At almost 200 years old, Oktoberfest is one of the oldest ongoing festivals in the world. It’s a 16-day folk festival, celebrated with food, music, traditional dancing and, last but quite the opposite of least, beer. The event is so popular that it has been exported around the world, but there’s no better place to enjoy it than at the home of the festival itself, Munich. Aside from large tents filled with hundreds of casks of ale, food and traditional German maidens, Oktoberfest’s thousands of celebrants also enjoy more family friendly attractions, like a fairground along with several spectacular parades.
October 2017 – Sandance – Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai
As part of Dubai’s enduring vision to make itself the number one tourist destination in the world, one of its most iconic hotels, Atlantis, The Palm, hosts an extraordinary music festival multiple times a year, using big name acts to draw even bigger crowds to the apex of its impressive palm island. Past performers include Calvin Harris, Fatboy Slim, Empire of the Sun, Florence & the Machine and Groove Armada. Not only is it a great opportunity to see one of the world’s most captivating hotels, but October is also one of the best times of year to visit Dubai, as the emirate’s climate begins to cool for a winter that’s typically warmer than our best British summers.
November 2017 – Day of the Dead – Mexico City, Mexico
You may have noticed this flowery style of skeletal face painting appearing more commonly at recent fancy dress occasions. This attractive design comes from the Mexican holiday known as Day of the Dead, when families from all over Mexico come together and remember the lives of lost loved ones and honour their memories by making the most of living. Mesoamerican cultures have held rituals celebrating the dead for thousands of years, which, in the latter part of the 20th and early 21st century, have evolved into extravagant carnivals. As the streets fill with music, dancing and laughter – the hearty scent of Mexican street food in the air – you can’t help but feel that this Mexican tradition is actually more a celebration of life than it is about death.
December 2017 – Northern Lights – Lapland, Finland
This natural phenomena occurs all year round in areas close to the North and South Poles. If you’re looking to make Christmas extra special for your little ones next year, then festive destinations don’t come much more magical than Lapland in December. Not only is it the fabled home of Father Christmas, but the amazing aurora flickering overhead adds that extra element of awe to this winter wonderland. The lights are caused by an interaction between the Earth’s magnetosphere and solar winds, but the exact mechanics behind what actually leads to these beautiful light displays is still not fully understood by scientists. The Aurora is also visible in southern parts of Australia, where they tend to adopt a red hue rather than the green colour that we’re all more familiar with. The ongoing mystery surrounding this mesmerising display in our skies really instils a sense of wonder and helps to remind us that there is still so much about our world that we’re yet to understand.
Obviously, this is just a fraction of the amazing events scheduled in 2017’s diary. If you’re feeling suitably inspired to elevate your experience of travel next year but would like to know what else there is on offer, don’t hesitate to get in touch and discover what else is going on in your world.