Excuse the horrible title pun. It’s trying to distract you from how late this Events calendar is this month. And yes, that last sentence nullifies all the others. I don’t care. I have an astronaut’s jetlag right now, and it’s only fair that you share my pain. I spent the last month of my life parading around the coast of Vietnam on a motorbike, which I hope does something to ease your pain at my absence. At the very least it makes you jealous. Anywho, let’s get to it.
Smaller month, October is. It’s kind of transitory, being the end of the Summer music festival season and the beginning of the cultural – just wait until we start blowin’ it up for the holidays, New Year’s, not to mention Carnaval… So consider this month a time to stop and reflect on what you’re doing to your body and your liver. A festival detox month. It’s no coincidence that I’m spending this month at home in between my Southeast Asia tour and a year in Australia (it’s a total coincidence).
Standard rules apply: getting down and dirty, backpacker crowd, if you’re with a family that’s cool but you’re gonna have some fucked up kids. Leggo.
1-6th – Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany) – The introductory event that needs no introduction. It’s been going on for a while now, so if you’re just arriving, you may need to step over the passed out bodies of the brave men who drank before you. But hey, maybe you could rifle through their pockets and find some money for a few more maßkrüges. Oktoberfest!
1-13th – Ibiza Closing Parties (Ibiza, Spain) – These have been going on for a while, but then again, stores will be putting their Christmas decorations around now too. Just because it’s advertised, doesn’t make it close. But now, in October, the clubs really are closing. So stop ignoring the Drug Dealer Chicken Little, this really is the blowout to prepare for. There are lots of parties to choose from, and chances are your favorite DJ will be performing at one or more of them. So roll a dice and throw a dart, you really can’t go wrong here.
4-6th – Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (San Francisco, California) – There’s a saying: my favorite beer is free, my second favorite is cold. Now, my favorite music festival will probably always be Coachella. But for my second favorite, well, you better believe it’s Free. That means that right now, my second favorite festival is Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Because it’s free! The lineup is great, and so is the venue. Somehow, I think the misty October atmosphere of San Fran lends itself to a bluegrass festival. Something Appalachian about it, without the incest and moonshine. But of course, this is all secondary to the fact that it’s free!
4-6th, 11-13th – Austin City Limits (Austin, Texas) – Named for a PBS special and costing roughly double PBS’ yearly budget (so pretty affordable!), this guy is one of America’s premiere music festivals. Just look at that lineup! Sometimes I feel bad about recommending so many music festivals on this blog – it’s hardly the kind of cultural experience people travel for – but that’s the kind of lineup I can bite my tongue on. And hey, music festivals are pretty much what Texas is best at outside of barbecue and shitty politicians, so you’re kind of getting the full picture anyway.
5-6th – Listen Out (Melbourne/Brisbane, Australia) – With my impending year-long visit to Australia, you may start to see a few more festivals from Down Under popping up on this blog. And who doesn’t love Australia? Listen Out is a single-day music festival (don’t let the dates fool you) that travels around Australia. The Sydney portion has already happened, and if history repeats itself, it’ll be a sight to behold. You might even see Azealia Banks throw a hissy fit and storm off the stage! I guess that cunt is NOT gettin’ eaten. Anyway, pick the closest town and get to it.
4-14th – Vegetarian Festival (Phuket, Thailand) – The Vegetarian Festival of Phuket stems from the belief that avoiding all meat and fish during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese Calendar will bring good health and peace of mind. They celebrate the onset of this good health by mutilating their bodies to shit and back. I mean, who wouldn’t? I celebrate getting over a cold by drinking twelve shots of tequila and passing out on the floor, so I can’t really talk. For the weak stomachs, there are other performances like fire walks, fire works, and fire eating. Basically anything with fire. Bring burn cream.
5-13th – Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico) – For most of the year, Albuquerque is best known for its blue meth and being the hardest town in America to spell. But Breaking Bad just ended (seriously, did you guys see that shit!?), so now we need something else to love. This month, people looking for some Blue Sky can find it literally with the Balloon Fiesta, a ten day hot air balloon festival over a desert that has a lot more to offer than the dead bodies of [REDACTED FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN’T CAUGHT UP]. Seriously you guys, I really love Breaking Bad. Albuquerque. Breaking Bad. Check it.
9-13th – Culture Collide (Los Angeles, California) – Another Los Angeles festival! Either we really are a new cultural icon, or I’m just an extremely biased blogger. Either way. This one takes place in Echo Park, which just recently reopened after an extensive renovation (aka, they pulled all the bodies and illegal firearms out of the lake). The place looks gorgeous, and the venues and bars around it are all taking part. And it may be my hometown, but it’s also one of the few festivals that makes a point of being worldly – hence the name. That world may only extend to Europe and New Zealand, but the point stands.
11-19th – Celtic Colours (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) – Man, what this month lacks in quantity, it makes up for in duration. All of these festivals run for a long time, which I like to think is the Universe telling me it’s okay for this guide to be so late this month. Gives you plenty of time to plan. Celtic Colours is yet another music and arts festival in a colder corner of the world, and its more steeped in its own culture. Lots of music and art from around the world, and definitely a lot of families. So those looking to get fucked up, well, at least do it quietly. Sip that crotch vodka discreetly.
12-13th – Corona Capital (Mexico City, Mexico) – It’s alliteration month! So many C’s! That’s three in a row! It’s almost kind of funny how Corona is so Mexican that it’s part of the biggest music festival in Mexico. For some reason, I always thought it was fake American-style Mexican, like Taco Bell and Emilio Estevez. But the misconception makes sense, since this lineup is so whitewashed it’s trying to put a fence up on the festival’s borders. Still, Mexico City is a lively town, and the people are absolute darlings. Not even gonna make another cartel joke – that ship has sailed. Obviously there’s still the worry in a lot of people planning a trip, but this festival should ease that right up. And hey, think of how easy it will be to get drugs there!
16-20th – Amsterdam Dance Event (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – This one doesn’t really need an introduction. It’s Amsterdam, a city known for its lax take on drug use. It’s a dance event, known for being crazy. And it’s five days long. If you’re in the area, it’s not hard to imagine that you won’t be ending up there anyways. But if I still need to sell it (and if you’re not sold already, you’re probably not the type to go int he first place), then I could add that this isn’t so much a festival as it is a conference. It’s got dinners, talks, forums, and everything you need to make you feel like you’re learning something while going out of your mind.
16-20th – Indie Week (Toronto, Ontario) – Seriously, what’s up? All of these are like a week long. Here’s another town-wide music festival, only this one is dedicated to the underground. Which is a noble endeavor; I don’t have the patience to go browsing through every list of “best new bands” put out by heatseeking music blogs. Like, I’m sure the newest Post-Shoegaze hardcore metalstep with a neoclassical blues bounce influence band is great and all, but call me when they have a hit. It sounds bad, I know. I profess to be a music fan. But it’s exhausting. So for the lazy music fans like me, Indie Week is a godsend. You walk around and see all these new bands, and if any of them hit it big, you can claim you knew about them before anybody else! It’s a win-win, really.
18th – Full Moon Party (Koh Phangan, Thailand) – See previous articles for details.
19th – Festival Supreme (Santa Monica, California) – The next two festivals might as well go together. If you’re in California – anywhere in California – you can go to at least one of these. Hell, you could theoretically go to both for a day. We’ll get to Treasure Island next, but let’s talk about Festival Supreme. This one isn’t a music festival – it’s a comedy festival. Pretty unique for this list thus far! Right? It brings in a lot of big names, from David Cross to Adam Sandler to Tenacious D. Those are all really funny guys! And it’s in Santa Monica, which might as well be called The Part of Los Angeles People Actually Like Visiting. There’s nothing quite like a sunset on the boardwalk. The only problem is that it’s not in Venice Beach – a Theatre of Life with professional comedians would be amazing.
19-20th – Treasure Island (San Francisco, California) – This here’s another festival in the “biased California festivals” category. BUT it does have a lot of its own merits. It’s on an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. How cool is that? The island atmosphere and the two day schedule is a bit of a decompression compared to the hustle and bustle of a lot of the bigger festivals. This leads to a smaller, more intimate festival that still brings world class acts. Of course, you do have to deal with San Francisco weather in October, but then again, nobody’s perfect.
23-2nd – Galungan (Ubud, Bali) – Good lord, finally something cultural, right? I mean, kind of cultural. Galungan is a holiday that celebrates the triumph of Dharma over Adharma, when the ancestral spirits descend to Earth for ten days. It’s an important time in the Balinese culture, filled with food, music, dancing, and prayer. It’s a time for prayer. Of course, this is also Bali, so if you want it to be crazy, you can be crazy. Now, I don’t disrespecting culture, so use your best sense. This isn’t the time to go puking on somebody’s grandmother. I’m just saying that between the pig slaughters and festive atmosphere, there’s time to find some locals to chat with and learn a little bit over a few beers. A quieter time to be sure, but a good one all the same.
26-27th – Life Is Beautiful (Las Vegas, Nevada) – There will come a day when I do not make a sarcastic joke about Vegas being a quiet town… but it is not this day. So yeah, obviously I don’t know why you would want to go to Vegas. It’s quiet. Syke! Anyway, Life Is Beautiful is a new festival out in Sin City, similar to most festivals, but it’s got the location behind it. It professes itself as having “music, food, art, and learning.” Now, my first reaction was that the only thing I’ve learned in Vegas was exactly how much I can drink before I pass out and get thrown out of a club for getting a lap dance from a middle aged flight attendant, but then I looked at the actual lineup. They’ve got motivational speakers and some really intelligent people there. So if this is their attempt to make Vegas look intellectual, it may actually be working.
30-3rd – Icelandic Airwaves (Reykjavik, Iceland) – Finally, something in Iceland. It’s my brother’s favorite country and I’ve been looking for an excuse to go for some time now. It’s a beautiful land of volcanic landscapes, waterfalls, and crazy geology. Of course, that’s all during the summer. During late October, it could very well be a snowy apocalypse of ice and frosty dander. Why research in advance? Not knowing is the other half of the battle! Anyway, Iceland produces some of the best music out there (Sigur Ros and Of Monsters and Men have been two of my favorite bands ever), so it’s exciting to see a festival with even more. If the next Bjork is out there, they’re in here.
31-2nd – Pitchfork Fest (Paris, France) – Like I said, this has been a pretty light month. For the self-professed cultural capital of the world, Paris doesn’t really have a whole lot of festivals. Even this one is an American import, an attempt to share the love with our cheese-eating (non-Wisconsonian) brethren. That said, it does have some pretty bomb new artists here as well as some older festival favorites. So if you’re in Europe and you’re looking for something to do, there are worse things than a music festival in Paris. Like talking to the locals in Paris. Or doing much of anything else in Paris. Just do the music festival.
31st – Halloween (West Hollywood, California) – Welp. Is this even worth mentioning? Chances are there’s something going on no matter where you are. However, if you’re really looking for a place where the costumes are just an excuse to act like a slut, then look no further than West Hollywood. Ever year, the city turns into one big Halloween party, shutting down the streets for a parade and allowing 100,000 people romp around and tell people their costume is “an irresponsible drunkard” as if they’re being clever. Santa Barbara is a nice second choice, if you enjoy the same kind of thing but with added sexual assault and arrests. But really, no matter where you are, you’ll find something. Ten bucks says there’s already somebody near your street corner handing out flyers for something in the future.
31-2nd – Dia de los Muertos (Oaxaca, Mexico) – Here we go: the big guns. The holiday you REALLY look forward to in October, and it’s not even really in October. Dia de los Muertos is kind of like Halloween, except dressing up like a slutty version of something normal would probably be frowned upon. It’s very cultural but very nice to see. Of course, it has a huge following in Mexico, and Oaxaca may be the best place to experience it. However, you can go anywhere you like and find something of interest.
For Future Reference – Tickets to Glastonbury (Somerset, England) are finally going on sale. At 6 pm, October 3rd, the Coach+Ticket package goes on sale to reward those who are carpooling and saving the environment. Those who hate the dirty libs and know global warming is not only a lie, but a good thing if true, can buy just plain ol’ tickets at 9 am, October 6th.
And that’s it for the guide this month! Definitely a little shorter, but it’s quality, not quantity. Now that I’m home, I’ll have November’s guide out much earlier. Don’t fret, my children. For now, enjoy where you are. Have a good month. Partake of the World.