There’s much more to this summer’s festival scene than warm cider, soggy tents and yet another comeback tour.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to take part in the world’s biggest food fight, rock it out at the air guitar championships or parade through town in a coffin, this could be your lucky summer. In fact, whatever your dream festival happens to be, the chances are it’s already been thought up and is happening somewhere on Europe’s line-up before the season’s out.
Plucked from across the continent, these festivals – selected by LateRooms.com – range from the inspiringly wonderful to downright weird.
Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons, Chambley, France – 24th July – 2nd August 2015
Looking to be taken to new heights by your festival experience? This awe-inspiring scene will blow you away as colourful hot air balloons decorate the sky. Hundreds of balloons from almost 70 nations are released for this magical event – the largest gathering of hot air balloons in the world – taking place in Northeast France. The impressive display is still relatively undiscovered, with balloonist enthusiasts and locals making up the majority of the audience. If you’re looking for a festival spectacle without the crowds – this could be the one for you.
Try Hotel La Citadelle Metz in nearby Metz with its own on-site Michelin starred restaurant, le Magasin aux vivres.
Festival of Near Death Experiences, Pontevedra, Spain – 29th July 2015
Not for the faint hearted, this festival celebrates life’s close shaves. So if you’ve ever suffered a near death experience, this is your chance to defy death once more – by being paraded through the street in a coffin by family and friends, naturally.
Possibly one of the oddest festivals out there, thousands come together each year to attend Mass in celebration of the Patron Saint of Resurrection, Saint Marta de Ribarteme. Although perhaps a tad morbid in nature the whole festival is very much alive and kicking with activities including fireworks, market stalls, traditional dancing in the street – and of course, tales of near misses aplenty. If you’re looking for a place to crash that’s a little more welcoming than the coffins that abound in the streets, check in to Hotel Inffinit. It’s modern, urban vibe will remind you that you’re very much alive. Phew.
The railway and the central bus station are both reachable within 15 minutes on foot. The urban feel of the venue has been achieved through renovation with elegance and graceful design, both internally and externally. Departing from the formal stringency, concentrating on every minor detail and using high-quality materials, technology, and lighting that plays a key role. The interior decoration is a blend of outstanding design elements, both classic and modern, and creates a spending atmosphere that will leave lasting impressions upon all guests.
World Bogsnorkelling championships, Llanwrtyd, Wales – 30th August
Whilst most festival-goers are generally hoping to keep their wellies clean this summer, those heading to the World Bogsnorkelling championships are relishing the muddier side of festival season. What on earth is Bogsnorkelling, we hear you ask. Well, it’s exactly as it sounds; this sporting event consists of jumping into a water filled trench in a bog and swimming two lengths as fast as possible. The most renowned bog championships in the world (yes, there’s more than one) takes place every August here in the UK in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd with competitors from all over the world taking part. Even if you don’t fancy getting your hands (and everywhere else) dirty, cheering in the sidelines is a memorable experience!
Palio of Siena, Sienna, Italy – 13th August
One of Italy’s most famous annual sporting events, Palio is a horse race set in the heart of Tuscany’s Siena. Far from the grassy enclosures of Ladies Days in the UK, Palio – a 70 year old Tuscan tradition, sees Siena’s historic town centre taken over for the event, with the Piazza transformed from its usual hub of eateries and tourism hotspots into a full on race track. For a true Palio experience, check into Aia Country two or three days before the race and soak in the Tuscan culture. There are a variety of activities on offer – from joining in a traditional street party and dinner in one of the local villages in the days running up to the main event, to joining the parade itself or marveling at the beautiful horses.
Air Guitar World Championships, Finland, 26-28th August
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015, expect this year’s event to be more ‘air-raising than ever before.
The four day event isn’t all shredding and solos either, this year sees a musical comedy show – We Will Dub You – before the championships get under way in earnest. And if your picking motion or knee slide isn’t quite up to scratch, fear not –a series of workshops, and demonstrations from the pros, are on offer to help get you into shape.
Also, the fact that the Championships are taking place in Oulu is reason enough to pay a visit – the northern Finnish city is famed for its cultural vibrancy and stunning scenery.
La Tomatina 2015, Spain,
If swimming in a sea of tomatoes is your cup of tea then La Tomatina is the festival for you. With 20,000 people doing battle with fruit, La Tomatina is the world’s biggest food fight.
With more than one hundred tonnes of tomatoes hurled through the streets during one very juicy hour the festival then often heads to the nearby Bunol River to cool down and clean up. If you’re after a little more luxury for your ablutions, book yourself into the La Carreta hotel. On top of the all-important washing facilities you’ll need, it also boasts an 18 hole golf course and tennis courts for some fun of the non-fruit variety.