Festival magic

Last updated 09:42 15/08/2012

The best cure for the post Olympic blues is to keep partying as if Usain's gold medal run hasn't just ended for another four years. Sporting organisers must have known that when they timed their event to finish just as the Edinburgh festival geared up. If you're a Londoner still sobbing into your Pimm's, get thee to your northern neighbour for a bacchanal fix to ease the comedown.

It's worked a treat for me. I hadn't purposely planned to back up the greatest athletic showcase on Earth with one of its top carnivals of the arts, but I'm sure glad I did. I'm here as the International Festival, Festival Fringe, the International Book Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo pull out the big guns (literally) to wow their audiences. The book festival especially is turning its charm on me.

Deck chairI can already tell most of my time here will be spent reading on the grass in Charlotte Square on one of the ubiquitous literary-quote-adorned deckchairs. All of life's needs are encased in the park's four borders. I can eat and drink here, then peruse the bookshop on one side, before ducking to the other for an author signing. But best of all are the myriad tents where the world's top writers inspire with their craft. All that's lacking is an area for diehard book fiends to sleep.

This is my mecca. And apart from the Olympics, the Edinburgh festival is the first time I've attended a renowned global jamboree. Which of the world's festivals do you dream of? I'm dying to shake my booty along Rio de Janeiro's streets during carnival, watch the bulls of Pamplona chase crazy tourists through the streets, and embrace the spirit world on Mexico's day of the dead. Then there are the big music festivals: Coachella, Glastonbury, Austin's SXSW, and closer to home, New Zealand throws a number of fabulous New Year's Eve celebrations.

We were too late to catch the New Orleans jazz festival but one local told us the city parties hard every day so better to experience that first. Our disappointment at missing the Big Easy's big bash was tempered by chance encounters at a free music event in Atlanta and Montreal's comedy festival. It's not difficult to stumble across a fiesta in Canada's slice of Europe though; they run a different one every week of the summer.

There's something about a carnival that transforms a city. What is usually a staid, sensible place (I'm looking at you, London), opens its arms, beams a smile (even the weather comes to the party) and hands you a drink. Bring on my next chance event.

Carnival

Which big festivals have you been to and where are you dying to go? And is it better to plan for a fiesta or stumble across it?

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4 comments
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Karlos   #1   02:36 pm Aug 15 2012

We stumbled upon one in Bruges called 'Klinkers' which was a nice surprise. Hadn't heard of it and had no idea it was on at the time we were going to be there. Watched some cool bands and there were some interesting events happening all around the city. Also found a few pubs selling beers for 1 Euro so it was good times all around!

fairybread   #2   03:51 pm Aug 15 2012

When living in the Czech Republic, the weekend I went to the city of Brno happened to be 'Pivovarske Dny' (Brewery Days) - a whole lot of great live bands on the town square including a kick-ass ukelele orchestra, heaps of different, really cheap beers, and some great food. An awesome surprise :-)

The Olympics in 2016 has inspired me to hopefully go to Rio then - would LOVE to go for Carnival as well. Definitely on my list!

RenĂ©e   #3   07:32 pm Aug 15 2012

You are bang on the money Amy, you wouldn't want to be anywhere else than the Scottish Capital for the duration of August. The Fringe is pure magic and the Book Festival at Charlotte square is incredibly, literally delightful. Close contender is SXSW in Austin in March, another city that is transformed by the best festival in the world. Oh gosh how i wish i could just go to festivals everyday and night for the rest of my life.

EmJay   #4   03:43 pm Aug 16 2012

CARNIVAL! rio! dying to go!

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