The ultimate guide to themed festivals

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

That a teenager or a twenty-something should attend a music or other kind of festival before family obligations and lack of money tie them down is almost a rite of passage. But there are so many festivals going on these days, it can be tricky knowing which one is worth the trip.

Go for the ones with a theme

All festivals promise the same thing. A chance to hear some great live music and to mix with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people who all want to enjoy the festival experience, expose themselves to new delights and make new friends. It is also a chance to be a little wild. If you see the festival as an opportunity to dress up you can even be a little silly, whether you deck yourself out in an animal onesie for the kookiest of festivals or look around at the huge selection of sexy adult costumes to make sure you do not look out of place at more adult events.

Perhaps the easiest way of deciding which festivals to attend is to work out which of the themes attract you. For example, if you consider yourself to be a nature and music lover who enjoys the great outdoors, then the Global Dance Festival in Morrison, Colorado, has a stunning backdrop in the form of the 868-acre park of Red Rocks. Performances take place between huge, sheer rock monoliths, the Ship Rock and the Creation Rock, of the Rocky Mountains, which look incredible beneath the festival lighting. It attracts plenty of big-name performers, with past lineups including Celine Dion, Metallica, Coldplay, and U2.

San Francisco hosts one of the most diverse festivals on the planet. Outside Lands, held in Golden Gate Park, offers its visitors wine tastings, beers selected from around the world, a variety of food available to taste and explore, as well as art and music. Artists appearing at this festival have included Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Arctic Monkeys, and The Killers. There is also a big environmental vibe to this festival, with opportunities for you to volunteer to keep the entire area clear by becoming a Trash Talker, a person who checks that the trash bins are being used and educates other festivalgoers about how the festival engages in recycling.

For those of you whose inner child is still kicking, wanting to be let out, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee is the one you should head for. Not only can you experience some great music, with past artists including Elton John, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, and Lionel Richie, but you can also go to the movies, play computer games at Xbox One, and take part in outdoor activities such as the Bonnaroo Run and play on water slides.

Whatever your taste in music, art or food, there is bound to be a festival out there that suits you. They may be one-day affairs or last for an entire weekend. It is up to you how long you stay, and how you entertain yourself once you are there.