From the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, to Helsinki, Sziget in Budapest, Burning Man and rotten tomatoes in Spain, August is packed with eclecticism, tradition and fun
Baby, it’s hot most everywhere in August. But is it too hot to party? Never!
Music is everywhere. We are connected through the power of music — after all it’s been celebrated since cavemen could tap sticks together. We’re pretty sure that’s true.
FYI, The Dubrovnik festival is still happening in Croatia, until August 25th on the beautiful cool clear Adriatic coast.
Grant Park, Chicago
August 1 – 4
The granddaddy of alt music festivals! Four days with eight stages and 170 bands and acts. Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino and The Strokes headline, and there’s Janelle Monae on her round of International Festivals. That lady does not stop, in her downtime she takes on movie roles.
1-day gen admin $130
4 day gen admin $650
1-day VIP $650
August 2 – 26
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is where it’s all happening through August. This is the place to be for the arts and literary minded. It’s the world’s largest arts festival.
Happening simultaneously, there’s the International Festival, The Arts Festival, The Fringe Festival, The International Book Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which is not a festival per se and has nothing to do with tattoos, but is a series of musical performances and military exhibitions by military members. It’s actually a massive part of what goes on in the more than three weeks of festivities.
Hopefully you have a friend whose castle you can stay in close by. If not (sad!), try here:
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
August 9 – 11
A sunny California vibe with a special selection of artists. Paul Simon, Childish Gambino, the oddly punctuated Anderson .Paak, Twenty One Pilots, Hozier, and Counting Crows are lined up for a very special weekend. A great vibe, and great for culinary appreciative foodies.
Tickets from $155 per day.
August 7 – 13
A very fun festival, held over seven days on 266-acre Obuda Island, on the River Danube. Music, parties, theater, performance and circus art – there are over 1000 shows across 60 stages. It’s music, culture, love and freedom with about 500,000 people. You haven’t lived yet, have you?
Ed Sheeran (he gets around), Foo Fighters (they get around), Florence and the Machine, DJ’s Franz Ferdinand, John Digweed and Martin Garrix, Post Malone, James Blake, Johnny Marr, Naaz, Khruangbin… It’s quite diverse!
There are camping and glamping options, from pre-pitched tents to wooden huts to triangle houses for four.
Day tickets from a very cheap 75 euro.
Way Out West
August 8 -10
Don’t be confused, it’s not way out west, as in the wild west — it’s in the west of Sweden.
Solange, The Cure, Erykah Badu, Neneh Cherry, Kokoroko, Khruangbin, Spiritualized, Stereolab, give you a flavor of what’s happening and the cool vibe, plus it’s an eco-friendly festival. Save the planet!
August 14 – 19
Set around an idyllic lake in the middle of Portugal that you can also float on, this year Four Tet,Tommy Guerrero, and the very talented Ben UFO perform, plus you will be surrounded by a veritable utopia of art and love. Rubber rings are available.
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
August 16, 17, 18
On the site of the original historic Woodstock event on it’s 50th anniversary, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is hosting Friday, Ringo Starr and His All Star Band. Santana and The Doobie Brothers play Saturday. Tedeschi Trucks, Grace Potter and John Fogerty play Sunday.
If you don’t know who Grace Potter is, or you can’t make the festival:
Tokyo and Osaka, JAPAN
August 16 – 18
Japan’s leading music festival takes place in two metropolises: Tokyo and Osaka.
Don’t even bother with Tokyo, it’s sold out. If you’re already in Tokyo, Osaka is 3h 10 mins by train south of Tokyo. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, MGMT, Rita Ora, Snow Patrol will play. The Damned have also reemerged, and so did Bananarama…. Tickets from around $230 per day
The American Folk Festival
August 23 – 25
A traditional American folk festival celebrating New England’s cultural heritage with the music and dance that make up America today. Performances include the very American adopted Afro-Caribbean, Korean Percussion, Columbian Jolopo music, alongside Kentucky Bluegrass, Country, Jazz, and Blues with Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton.
Plus there are three days of craft demonstrations and really yummy ethnic food! What more do you need?
Black Rock City, Nevada
August 25 – Sept 2nd
Leading up to Labor Day weekend for over 20 years, Black Rock City emerges out of a dry arid landscape in Nevada and becomes a temporary nation state of mind, with a vital, impassioned if temporary citizenry.
You can put on your freaky self and prance around in the desert. Each year gets more elaborate and dense, people and activity-wise.
It’s north of Reno in the middle of nowhere set out in a split circle miles wide with grids of camps named after things like planets and clocks, which is supposed to help to pinpoint where you’re camped. Hopefully you’ll take a bicycle, and hopefully you’ve logged where your tent is, or you may not see it again for days, if ever.
It’s crazy hot during the day, and pretty cold at night. It also has impromptu dust storms, so goggles and a face covering device are highly recommended, and fir, fashion-wise, (just kidding) plus desert boots. You don’t need to wear anything else. Really. (except at night, I mean, otherwise you’ll freeze.)
Best way to get there is to fly in to the temporary landing strip on The Burner Express from Oakland, Burbank, Reno or Vegas. Plan ahead for next year if you can’t get tickets or aren’t friends with Elon Musk. Officially it’s sold out…
Rock en Seine
August 23 – 25
A three-day rock festival set in a Parisian 17th Century garden at The Chateau de Saint Cloud next to the River Seine. Established in 2003, and completely fun for the kids (the real kids! There’s a mini rock concert for 6 – 10 yr olds).
Aphex Twin, The Cure, Major Lazer, Johnny Marr and soul RnB sensation Jorja Smith are playing, for the grown ups. Tickets from 69 Euro.
Notting Hill Carnival
August 24 – 26
A big cultural Caribbean Carnival celebration that has been happening faithfully since 1966, when it was also a bit radical, and is now Europe’s largest street party, and it’s free, woohoo!
August 15 – September 1
The largest art festival in Finland is safe for the whole family, with special children’s programs included with world and classical music, circus, dance, theater, visual art, film and a lot of outdoorsy stuff. An arts smorgasbord attracting about 250,000 people a year! You’re missing out! Or are you going?
It’s a mass of color, celebration and sound, parades and floats, costumes, steel bands, reggae, dub, salsa, fried plantains and jerk chicken. Just great fun!
Food fight! Avoid, unless you want a 1945 cultural experience and the world’s most massive and famous people-bashing with tomatoes! Over 140 tonnes of ripe tomatoes are manually leashed from trucks, by everyone in attendance! At everyone in attendance! There must have originally been a reason. If you go, take goggles and leave the luxe togs at home.
Have a joyful month and stay cool!