Thankfully, the number #1 question I’ve been asked since making the commitment to becoming the world’s premier aficionado of festivals isn’t, “Are you nuts?” Instead, it’s, “Where are you going and can I join you along the way?”
As I learned in December, on my way to the Whirling Dervish Festival in central Turkey, it’s a treat to share insights and joys with a friend at a festival. I was going to that Sufi celebration on my own, posted a note on my personal Facebook page, and next thing I knew, my friend Alana Winter told me she was coming to join me from Pakistan. Serendipity is my middle name when traveling.
My 2013 festival schedule includes:
The intimate, yet soulful Todos Santos Music Festival (where I just returned from – look for this post tomorrow)
Then I hit Asia for 5 weeks and 5 festivals in late January and through the month of February including:
Thaipusam (outside Kuala Lampur, Malaysia)
Batu Caves Photo by StormChase via Wikimedia Commons
Harbin Ice & Snow Festival (Manchuria, China)
Tower at Harbin Ice & Snow Fest 2012 by Shanghai Killer Whale via Wikimedia Commons
Kumbh Mela (Allahabad, India)
Nagas procession at Kumbh Mela, Haridwar by Stefania Zamparelli via Wikimedia Commons
Chinese New Year (Hong Kong)
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival (outside Taipei, Taiwan)
In early May, I’ll be in the mountains of Bolivia at the truly indigenous Tinku festival and then later that month…
I’m in the UK at the scary Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling festival
Hopefully, I don’t break my neck there as I’ve got a full month of travel in June:
El Colacho, the baby-jumping festival in Burgos, Spain
Lajkonik music festival in Krakow, Poland
Ravi Shankar at the Fes Sacred Music Festival by Josiehen via Wikimedia Commons
Then finishing up at the Stonehenge Summer Solstice
Stonehenge Summer Solstice by Andrew Dunn via Wikimedia Commons
As the summer goes into full gear, I spend a lot more time in Europe:
Then, it looks like my father may join me for two studly events involving four-legged animals:
Men prepare to run with the bulls at Festival de San Fermin
In between those two macho events, I will probably choose two of the following three festivals that have a smattering of sexualization attached:
The Kirkpinar Oil-Wrestling Festival on the Turkey/Bulgaria border
Oil wrestlers at Kirkpinar
The World Body Painting Championship in Austria
World Bodypainting Festival; Artist: Karen Chi Kwan Yiu; Photo: Anne-Charlesworth, www.bodypainting-festival.com
or the World Wife-Carrying Championship in Finland
Hope to make it to St. Petersburg for White Nights as well.
Things mellow a little in August as I’m speaking at my friend Jeff Krasno’s hugely successful traveling yoga festival, Wanderlust, in Whistler, Canada early that month.
Photo: Steve Rogers/Whister Wanderlust Festival
I’m entertaining Elvis Week in Memphis and plan to split my last week of August in two doing both Burning Man (my 7th visit in 13 years) and the Telluride Film Festival (as I have to give a speech in Colorado the Friday before Labor Day weekend). I always struggle with the fact that these two festivals happen simultaneously.
The fall will be very busy with the following plans:
Imilchil Marriage Moussem in rural Morocco
Castells Tarragona in Spain
the Galway International Oyster Festival in Ireland
Oktoberfest in Munich
Moulid of Sayyid Ahwad Al-Badwin in Egypt
and Nanak Jayanti in India
I may cap the year (my 40th festival in 24 countries) in the world’s most ascending city, Rio, for the beautiful Reveillon New Year’s Eve celebration. Of course, most of this is subject to change and halfway through I may need to find a body-double to run with the bulls or check out those Rocky Mountain Oysters (a bull’s manhood) at the Testicle Festival in Montana.
Around the world in 40 festivals. That’s what 2013 is for me. How about for you? Care to join me at one of these?