Whether you’re looking for a lunatic food fight, an eclectic costume party, celebrity shoulder-rubbing or the world’s top musical acts, you’ll find it at one of these festivals. Kelli Armstrong points to this year’s best places to have fun in a crowd.
Mumbai & Delhi, India
Marking the arrival of spring, this vibrant celebration sees friends and strangers release coloured smoke and throw coloured powder (with each hue symbolic of an emotion) over each other in a moment of pure freedom.
22 September — 7 October
Also known as the world’s largest folk festival, Oktoberfest actually kicks off in September. Last year over 7.5 million litres of beer were drunk! Filled with rides, lights, entertainment and drunk people in lederhosen, what’s not to love?
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
9 — 17 February
Fantastic floats, flamboyant dancers, costumed revellers and joyous spectators come together at the biggest party in the world. From sunrise to sunset there are riotous blocos (street parties) showcasing Rio’s African and Portuguese culture. Leave your inhibitions behind.
Mardi Gras, New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
9 – 13 February
As Bob Dylan once said, “New Orleans is always a good idea”, and during Mardi Gras it’s bursting with extra bacchanalia. The wildest party in the United States kicks off in February, with sightseers camping for days to witness the super-parades Rex, Zulu, Endymion and Bacchus.
Black Rock City, Nevada, USA
26 August — 3 September
This purpose-built metropolis rejects modernity, with music, art and global revellers coming together in one big dust storm. It’s a cultural phenomenon, with Burners looking to shun reality making the pilgrimage armed with a week’s worth of apocalyptic outfits and a head for psychedelic fun.
Notting Hill Carnival
26 — 27 August
The highlight of summer for Londoners, this street bash has been lighting up the neighbourhood since 1966. Drum explosions, decorated floats, street food galore and carnival dancers get everyone on their feet in a dedication to Caribbean culture.
Palm Springs, California, USA
13 — 15 April, 20 — 22 April
With Beyoncé headlining this year, don’t wait to secure your tickets! Endorsed by celebrities great and small, this ultimate high-class double weekender never disappoints. Stay for the week and socialise at daily packed pool parties that roll well into the night.
Donnington Park, UK
8 — 10 June
Having announced Ozzie Osbourne as the headliner, and followed by an A-list line-up including Judas Priest, Marilyn Manson and Bullet For My Valentine, this multi-stage five-day rock event will please all punters. Day tickets and multi-day passes are available now.
If the idea of getting totally sauced (by tomatoes) sounds like fun, then this tomato war is for you. Armed with ripe fruit, join the food fight to end all food fights.
In between the sweet sauciness, you might be lucky enough to get a hosing down from the locals.
New York, USA
1 — 3 June
This is Gotham’s answer to Coachella. As well as kickass acts (like last year’s headliners Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Flume and Wiz Khalifa), the fest features mini golf, a silent disco, art interactions and life-size board games. There are VIP and Platinum experiences for cashed up punters.