Where am I Going in 2013?


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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_02Batu Caves Photo by StormChase via Wikimedia Commons

Harbin Ice & Snow Festival (Manchuria, China)

Tower_at_Harbin_Ice_and_Snow_Festival_2012Tower at Harbin Ice & Snow Fest 2012 by Shanghai Killer Whale via Wikimedia Commons

Kumbh Mela (Allahabad, India)

Kumbh-Mela-1998Nagas 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

Back-to-back Moroccan delights – the Fes Sacred Music Festival and the Essaouira Music Festival

Ravi_Shankar,_Fes_Sacred_Music_FestivalRavi Shankar at the Fes Sacred Music Festival by Josiehen via Wikimedia Commons

Then finishing up at the Stonehenge Summer Solstice

640px-Stonehenge_Summer_Solstice_eve_02Stonehenge Summer Solstice by Andrew Dunn via Wikimedia Commons

As the summer goes into full gear, I spend a lot more time in Europe:

the Fusion festival in Germany that is a delightfully European version of Burning Man.

Then, it looks like my father may join me for two studly events involving four-legged animals:

Il Palio in Siena, Italy and Fiesta de San Fermin (Running of the Bulls) in Pamplona, Spain.

Sanfermin2006Men 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

650px-Yagli_gures1Oil wrestlers at Kirkpinar

The World Body Painting Championship in Austria

650px-World_Bodypainting_Festival2World Bodypainting Festival; Artist: Karen Chi Kwan Yiu; Photo: Anne-Charlesworth, www.bodypainting-festival.com

or the World Wife-Carrying Championship in Finland

I may sneak two French celebrations in there: the Festival of the Giants in Douai and Bastille Day in Paris.

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.

_Volumes_Big Daddy_Steve_Rogers_photos_Master Images_Summer_Oher Activities_Yoga_I_Outdoor_Yoaga_1-1Photo: Steve Rogers/Whister Wanderlust Festival

Then, I get to check out a bull’s manhood at the Testicle Festival in Clinton, Montana followed by the infamous Sturgis Road Rally in South Dakota.

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

DiwaliPushkar Camel Fair

and Nanak Jayanti in India

the Naga FireballsLopburi Monkey Banquet, and Full Moon Festival in Thailandand probably finishing off with the Chichibu Night Festival in Japan

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?