September is a weird month. It should be pretty jam-packed – after all, it’s still basically Summer in the northern hemisphere and it’s finally starting to get warm again in the south – but really the festivals are winding down. Apparently that free market dictates that August is the last crazy month of the year. Or, you could look at it as saving the best for last. Your call. There’s some great stuff coming up too. You can look into even more music festivals near you through this guide courtesy of Music Festival Junkies, but the pickings are a bit more sparse than months past – we’re at the tail end of the major festival season. I’m also trying out a new format, since I know you’re only really gonna be interested in the events on the continent you’re on and thus could feasibly get to. And as usual, subscribe to an easy-to-read Google Calendar version, as well as a downloadable iCal version.
The Elsewhere Man’s Top 5
1st – Umhlanga (Lobamba, Swaziland) – I know you won’t believe this, fair readers, but I’ve spent the vast majority of my adult life as a single man. It’s tough talking to ladies, yo! But apparently, it’s just as hard for them. You’d think so, given how many different courtship festivals there are in this feature each month, where young ladies dance and create art and basically do everything The Game tells you not to to pick up a partner. Umhlanga, the Reed Dance, is Swaziland’s version, where tens of thousands of women come to the royal village to find love. You probably won’t be participating, but hey, if you’ve been single a long time…
11th: Wodaabe Gerewol & Cure Salee (In-Gali, Niger) – If you’ve made it to Swaziland this month to see the Reed Dance, and you’re a bleeding heart liberal that weeps silently for the injustice of women appealing to men, then this is the festival for you. In stark contrast to the image of the fierce African warrior, the Wodaabe people put on a male beauty pageant, complete with painted faces, dancing, and a talent show in front of a panel of all-female judges. But of course, not to be too emasculated, there’s also the Soro, where they try to keep their smiles on while other guys whack them with gigantic sticks. So really, the entire thing is like every frat party you’ve ever attended. But better, because it’s cultural.
26-28th – Lake of Stars (Lilongwe, Malawi) – Last year, the Lake of Stars moved into the City, with a bigger and better projection. This year, they’re taking that production right back to the lake from whence it came. With more art, more music, and a whole new system, the Lake of Stars wants to become the entry port for visitors discovering the heart of Africa and finding out that it’s not all darkness. It’s already been called one of the best festivals in Africa, and it goes down rain or shine. But don’t worry about rain. I hear it’s blessed.
8th: Mid-Autumn Festival (Beijing, China) – The Equinox is a good chance to find harvest festivals all over the world. Hell, if China’s visa situation is giving you trouble, you can just pop on over to Korea (well, one of them, anyway) for Chuseok, which is essentially the same festival. They’re also held all over Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan. But for the biggest and best one, hit Beijing. A festival built around mooncakes and lanterns will be the most fun when celebrated in a city that can afford a bit more than a village. The festival is all about celebrating the Moon (…I just now understand the game Harvest Moon 64), and somehow that includes parades, matchmaking ceremonies, floats, and White Nights-style building illuminations. Hopefully the smog doesn’t play havoc with the lighting.
23-Oct 4th: Vegetarian Festival (Phuket, Thailand) – You know what? No. I’m not going to tell you anything about this festival. You’re gonna go and see it for yourself, because you’re a vegetarian, and you’re looking forward to some great health food and maybe some informational lectures about the benefits of clean living and humane treatment of animals. That’s what you’re gonna go and expect to see. And when you come back horribly scarred (though, as you’ll find out, not as scarred as some), you’ll both hate me and thank me for telling you to go visit. And if you’re one of the strong stomach’d who gains a new appreciation for piercings, well, you’re in Thailand. Bad, drunken decisions come practically guaranteed.
25-October 5th: Navratri (Vadodara, India) – After all the music festivals and body mutilation seminars (hope that didn’t spoil anything for you!) featured this month, it’s nice to have a bit of a quieter time. Navratri is a Hindu holiday celebrating the deity Durga, with ten days to celebrate ten different forms of dancing. The festival itself is actually celebrated five times a year, but the equinox Navratri, called the Sharad Navratri, is the most important. You might not have the largest role here (unless you’re Hindu), but it’s nice to take a break from the raging every once in a while to appreciate some of the more beautiful aspects of the local culture.
5-6th: Birdsville Races (Birdsville, Australia) – Australians love their sports, no matter how far into the desert they have to go to find them. Birdsville is a little junket town in Queensland with a population smaller than most movie theaters. But their annual horse race has become popular with people who want a new venue experience, because there’s something appealing about dressing to the nines and then watching that rented tux get absolutely filthy with red dirt. But it’s the biggest thing the little town of Birdsville has going for it, so they put on more events and races for the weeks surrounding the starting gun. If you’re on your way to Uluru, there are worse towns to travel through.
5-27th: AFL Finals Series (Melbourne, Australia) – Like I just said… Australians love their sport. AFL (Australian Football League) isn’t played anywhere else in the world (it’s a bit like rugby), and yet, no matter where Australians are, you’ll find a raging party to celebrate the finals. Last year, I spent them in Hanoi, Vietnam, playing beer pong against a 50 year old man while his kids cheered him on. The hostel bar was packed. So I can only imagine what it would be like in Melbourne, the sporting capital of Australia greater. Games are played in venues all over the country, so if you can score tickets (or shit, even if you can’t – the sports bar’s down the street), you’re in for a great time. Just don’t make the mistake of rooting for the wrong team.
6-27th: Brisbane Festival (Brisbane, Australia) – I damn near almost forgot about this one. I’ve been living in Brisbane for four months now and while it’s a great city, it is yet to truly come alive for me. So it fucking figures that it’s going to do that six days after I leave. Brisbane does have a thriving arts community (the Parklands, where most of it is located, is one of my favorite urban areas ever), and for nearly the entire month of September, everything is put on display: music, food, comedy, movies, art, lectures… literally everything. It’s a bit like last month’s Darwin Festival in that regard, but on a larger scale. The grand finale takes place on the 27th – known as the Riverfire, it’s a giant fireworks show. If you can only make it to one of the events, make it that one. Brisbane likes to call itself Australia’s newest World City, and this is it proving it.
13-October 12: Floriade (Canberra, Australia) – You ask the standard person what the capitol of Australia is, they’re gonna say Sydney. Hell, most people don’t even know Australia even has a Capitol Territory. And while nobody’s saying that Canberra’s the most exciting city this side of Uluru, it’s Spring (oh yeah, it’s Spring down here) Festival is the largest flower festival in the southern hemisphere. There’s rides and stands and events going on in conjunction with the gardening. It’s one of those festivals that’s great for families and couples, but it’s also free, which means that if you’re heading between Sydney and Melbourne around this time, it’s worth a swing through.
27-October 5th – Listen Out (Sydney/Perth/Melbourne/Brisbane, Australia) – It’s a one day festival taking place in four locations, so for the more mobile Elsewhere Fans out there, it’s probably possible to hit them. It’s billed under the made up genre of “IDM,” or Intelligent Dance Music. I’m not sure how intelligent music can be when it’s the kind of event people dope up their brain chemistry to attend, but hey, I like Chet Faker and Flume. Maybe the intelligence is in all the different ways you can try to define it or make fun of it.
1-Oct. 8th – Ibiza Closing Parties (Ibiza, Spain) – As if anybody under the age of 30 needs an excuse to go to Ibiza (which, coincidentally, is usually the cutoff where you become classy and educated enough to pronounce it right). But starting September 1st, the clubs and parties start to prepare for their winter hibernation (read: hangover recovery). And Ibiza isn’t the kind of place to go quietly into that good night. There’s a full schedule leading to the final soiree – pick a party and dance yourself silly.
3-7th: Outlook Festival (Pura, Croatia) – Just a short time ago, there was the Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica. Outlook is the festival cleaning up those scraps, taking in the lo-fi dubheads who can’t quite afford to hop across the pond. However, it encompasses much more than just reggae, and in fact pretty much any band that’s ever felt its influence is there. Check out Buraka Som Systema, a Major Lazer-esque act from Portugal that I discovered at Splendour in the Grass. By all accounts, this is one of those festivals where the rich British kids on holiday flock, and like the Unknown festival later in the month (and not too far away, either), it’s full of yacht parties and beach raves. You can structure your own festival based one what you want to see, but you’re gonna need to buy some extra tickets if you really want the full experience.
4-7th: Bestival (Isle of Wight, England) – It’s a bold claim, throwing out a name like that. Bestival. Appeals to the arrogant nation in me. If something were to happen and it just wasn’t up to snuff, people would mock them for the rest of eternity. But under curation from DJ Rob da Bank (and wife, Josie da Bank), they’ve been going strong for over a decade now and nothing has taken the title away from them (they’ve won awards for both Best Major Festival and Best Mid-Sized Festival, what?) so by all accounts, they’re holding up their end of the bargain. It’s on my main list of festivals to hit in my lifetime and makes it’s way into the monthly top five, so if you’re anywhere near the Isle of Wight, try to go. Though it’s a bit harder to sneak onto an island.
5-6th: Berlin Festival (Berlin, Germany) – At Splendour this year, I finally had the chance to go see Darkside live. It was one of the single greatest shows I’ve ever been to – heavy, funky, dark, and dancey. They’re on a bit of a festival kick right now, and they’re headlining Berlin Festival this year. And while most of Germany’s festivals are a bit of that heavier rock, this one definitely follows Darkside’s lead. Lots of off-the-wall producers and acts who don’t fit into the usual mold. Plus, it’s in Berlin, one of the best cities in Europe (let alone Germany), so there will be plenty of time for gallivanting if your legs still work after dancing for 48 hours straight.
5-7th: Festival Number 6 (Portmeiron, Wales) – Festival No. 6 is either some kind of post-modern commentary on the increasing ubiquity of the music festival as a concept presented to youth culture through a façade of progress hiding a corporate shadow… or the creators were just lazy as fuck. Either way, congratulations Festival No. 6, you’ve officially surpassed “Music Festival North West” for least creative name. It’s reminiscent of some Levi’s Jeans, which makes more sense since it bills itself as a “bespoke” festival. I assume that means classy, and if you take a look at the pictures, you’ll think so too. For something claiming to be a “small” festival, it definitely has an air of decadence around the venue, and the big name lineup is the nail in the coffin to this thing’s identity crisis. I have no idea. Check it out.
6th: Scottish Highland Games (Braemar, Scotland) – It’s every man’s worst nightmare: being humiliated by a guy in a skirt. But when that guy is tossing a 20-foot log (not what it sounds like, despite the skirt) and pulling twenty other guys into the mud for the tug of war, you’ll be forgiven for stepping aside when he walks through a doorway, kilt twirling ever-so-sweetly in the breeze. The Braemar Gathering is one of the original Scottish Highland Games. While you probably won’t be joining in the games (you weakling!), you’re more than welcome to grab yourself a kilt and buy a round of scotch at the bar. And make sure you congratulate the winner. After all, there can only be one (sorry).
7th: Regata Storica (Venice, Italy) – Venice’s main transport system involves gondolas in the canals, so when you think about it, dedicating an entire day to gondola racing, with all the fanfare they can muster, is a bit like opening day at the Del Mar Racetrack being celebrated with a race of taxi cabs around the track. But hey, playing ridiculous things straight makes the most fun. At the Regata Storica, gondola drivers are in full 16th century costume, with trumpeting announcements. And unlike most regattas, the course takes turns, so you’re actually watching these guys duke it out for a spot and not just getting down a line first.
7th: Joust of the Saracen (Tuscany, Italy) – Remember when going to a Renaissance Fair meant a surefire wedgie come Monday morning math class? Now that the nerds have inherited the Earth, you can finally admit to yourself that dudes on horses in armor thrusting giant metal spears into each other’s faces is actually kind of badass. For Il Saracino (“Joust of the Saracens”), the whole town comes out to dress up in old clothes and watch four horsemen try to kill an effigy in the most glorious manner ever. With the authentic Italian atmosphere, it might just be the closest to living Game of Thrones you’ll ever get.
8-12th: Unknown (Rovinj, Croatia) – At a certain point, music festivals can start to blend together until the only difference is location. If you subscribe to that school of thought, then you can still do worse than a coastal forest in Croatia. But with its giant art installations and killer lineup, Unknown elevates above the rest. It’s also one of the only festivals in the world to offer more than just camping on-site. We’re talking four-star apartments for rent within a minute’s walking distance to the festival grounds. Combine that with the yacht parties taking place just offshore all weekend, and you’ve found yourself the trust fund baby’s festival. Buy your way into whichever VIP section you want – the bar for really ballin’ it up has been raised.
13th: Paris Techno Parade (Paris, France) – My least favorite part of music festivals is walking between the stages. Sure, there’s some good people walking, but the stages are where it’s at. That’s the problem solved by the Paris Techno Parade, because hey, if you’re gonna be dancing like a madman, why not move forward while you do it? The PTP is a giant street party through the roadways of Paris. Think the Zurich Street Parade, minus all the copious nudity (so much for the City of Romance…). True to France, it celebrates Liberté, Diversité, Rhythmicité. And when you’ve reached the end of the parade, there’s another festival, Dream Nation, for all the people whose drugs haven’t quite burnt out yet.
13-21st: London Design Festival (London, England) – London has one of the richest histories of design in the world. It’s the only city where you can find a beautiful centuries-old cathedral perched directly next to a gigantic dildo skyscraper. The London Design Festival celebrates such a rich (and phallic!) history with 9 days of workshops, lectures, art exhibits, and street installations all over the city. Design extends to too many different things – food, advertising, art, architecture, hell, even gardening – and the LDF has space for them all. Some of the best pieces are in the major tourist destinations (Tate Modern, Trafalgar Square), but don’t discount some of the back alley establishments. There’s art everywhere.
19-24th: Les Festes de la Merces (Barcelona, Spain) – It’s pretty clear that music festivals are the lifeblood of my travel ambitions. But sometimes the best festivals aren’t nearly so… restricted. For La Mercé, the entire city goes crazy. Over four days, there’s something like 600 events – from swimming races in the harbor to fun runs, from free concerts to parades. And those are just the normal ones. There are also papier-mâché giants roaming the streets and human pyramids in the squares. The human pyramids involve dozens of people and can rise over 40 feet into the air, so at least you know the person at the top won’t be blowing over with those balls of steel weighing him down.
20th – Egremont Crab Fair (Egremont, England) – This fair was established in the 1200s. And like all things from the Dark Ages, it’s weird and a little backwards. Sure, some of it is fairly standard festival fare: the music, the food, the art. It’s the competitions that really make you scratch your head. The greased pole climb isn’t exactly the most complicated thing in the world (though obviously not the easiest either), but then there’s the gurning competition. You stick your head through a horse collar and twist your face into the most ridiculous shape you can, then snap a picture for all of your friends to laugh at for the rest of your life. It’s the kind of thing everybody has done in the privacy of their own home but would normally never reveal in public – just like all the other worst parts of the Dark Ages.
20-Oct 4th – Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany) – Look, you know what this is. Hot chicks in dirndls serving twelve pints of Spatenbräu at a time, prost!-ing your maßkrüge so hard it shatters, sloshing all over your sauerbraten and laugenbrezel. You know, basic stuff. It’s the biggest fair in the world, so if you haven’t heard about it, chances are you don’t drink beer anyway. Just make sure you’ve got a handle on how to get home. There’s a reason every picture of Oktoberfest you see is taken during the daytime – at night, there are too many people passed out facedown in the shot. And if Germany’s win in the World Cup says anything about their ability to party, it’s that this year is going to be huge.
21st – Cow Ball (Bohinj, Slovenia) – So, I’m not one to judge. Everything is a reason to celebrate. But the people of Bohinj really stretch for it when they throw the Cow Ball, a giant celebration… to their cattle. To be fair, it’s really more of an alpine celebration, with yodeling, cheesemaking, dancing, music, and everything that makes a festival great. But the centerpiece is still the cows coming back to pasture. So I hope you like milk. Or at least White Russians. Though you shouldn’t need the latter to start showing off your yodeling skills.
25-28th: Galway Oyster Festival (Galway, Ireland) – Ireland’s oyster festival must have a bit of a younger sibling complex, seeing as it’ll never top St. Patrick’s Day in the world’s eyes. Which is a shame, because it’s still one of the biggest and best festivals in Europe, with shucking competitions, parades, music… and of course, all the seafood you could eat. Plus, it’s Ireland. You can expect all the pubs to get in on the action.
28th: Concurs de Castells (Tarragona, Spain) – The Festes de la Merce earlier in the year has some human towers, but that’s child’s play compared to the biannual Concurs de Castells. We’re talking nine story tall towers of human beings sprouting out of the ground like some grotesque palm tree. And for the coconut, because this is the country that baptises babies by Evil Kinevaling them and child welfare means nothing, each tower is topped by a child. Nine stories up. A child. This festival was recently named by UNESCO as one of the best forms of intangible heritage and culture in the world, so now we’ve got UN-sanctioned child endangerment in the mix. Awesome. What’s better is these things are stadium level sporting events during the festival, so if you’ve got a morbid sense of curiosity, you’re in luck.
6-7th: LouFest (St. Louis, Missouri) – LouFest doesn’t exactly break new ground in the creative naming department (swear to god, it’s a September thing), but for a relatively small festival, it’s bringing in some big guns. OutKast (though even Andre admits he’s selling out at this point), Arctic Monkeys, Grouplove, Kelis… it’s actually a pretty similar, and at times better, lineup than Splendour in the Grass, and considering it’s only two days and a quarter of the price, the experience gets packed in. They’ve also got the Nosh Pit, where you can pick up gourmet food far beyond what you’d expect from the standard dry pizza festival fare.
9-14th – Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival (Fredericton, Canada) – I’ll admit, a lot of the festivals I suggest aren’t the most family-friendly of affairs. They’re usually the kind of place where you can practically trip and fall into a big bowl of drug-addled 20-somethings. So allow me to get classy. The Harvest Festival in Canada has expanded beyond its Jazz and Blues roots – you can hear everything from hip-hop to pop there – but it retains its intimate atmosphere, with a collection of small venues hosting 400+ acts over the course of six days. There’s just something about jazz and blues that make you want to dress nicely and drink an expensive glass of wine. So take a break in your debauchery and get a little bourgeois.
12-14th: Blues & Brews (Telluride, Colorado) – Hot off the back of the Telluride Film Festival comes the Blues & Brews Festival. It’s like the ultimate town for the snob that only watches art house flicks and only drinks that special craft brew double fermented in a dead goat’s nutsack. Still, if you can put up with that population, there are a lot of really good beers on site (over 170 of them, actually), and the music is damn good. Unlike most festivals that stray away from their eponym, B&B keeps the blues and guitar sounds flowing, with Peter Frampton, George Clinton, and Bombino being some standout acts. If you need any more convincing, just think. Colorado is gorgeous this time of year.
12-14th: Riot Fest (Chicago, Illinois) – When I was a kid, I thought I was a punk. I listened to bands like Blink-182, Brand New, and Yellowcard. Of course, I wasn’t actually punk – I dressed like my good ol’ mother told me to and ate my vegetables – but the music at least defined my middle school experience. So Riot Fest is a bit like a time machine. All of those great bands (who admittedly kept making music after I was over them) are coming back together, and they’re bringing their friends from ska, metal, hip-hop, and even some quieter indie. So if you want to break out and rage against, I don’t know, some machine somewhere, then this is your stop.
12-14th – Lobster Festival (Los Angeles, California) – It’s hard to imagine the days when lobsters were considered a shit food, the kind of thing you serve to prisoners and the poor (though their logic was sound – we’re afraid of little spiders yet are totally cool with these fuckin’ ocean roaches?). Now you’re lucky if you can afford to eat it once a year. And that once a year is here. The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival is the largest lobster fest in the world and holds the Guiness world record for Most Seafood Served in a Day. They fly in fresh Maine lobster at all hours and cook it on the spot for you. There’s a beach near me in Vietnam that sells fresh lobster, and even that’s, like, $17/kilo. I only wish I could be in LA for this.
13-14th: Forever Never Land (San Luis Obispo, California) – Ya know Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is for sale? The ultimate symbol of a man who simply wanted the opportunity for a childhood is on the market. This has basically nothing to do with Forever Never Land music festival, but if any rich manchildren read this, you’re welcome anyway. Forever Never Land, like Michael Jackson, is all about never growing up. And in that sense, it’s one of the few festivals out there that is strictly 21+. Thank. Fucking. God. The lineup itself isn’t fantastic (Sublime with Rome never lived up to the legacy, though RJD2 is pretty cool sometimes), but the fact that it’s a no children allowed festival gives it all the points it needs. No guarantee there won’t be adults acting like children, though. In fact, it’s borderline guaranteed.
15-16th – Grito de Dolores/Fiesta Patria (Mexico City, Mexico) – Also known as Mexican Independence Day. If you thought Americans went HAM for their country, then you don’t know Mexico. They’re so patriotic, they start the party the day before. At 11 PM on the 15th, the President will utter the Cry of Dolores to signal the beginning of the event, at which point there are parades and music all over the city. If you can’t make it to the capital, there are celebrations in towns all over the country. And hey, maybe it’ll embody so much brotherhood and patriotic goodwill that even the cartels will stop beheading people while you’re there! Party in peace! Ha, just kidding. Like the cartels would stop beheading people. It’s like they get off on that shit. But seriously. Mexico’s a beautiful country, and as long as you’re not stupid, you’ll be fine to visit and celebrate with them.
17-21st: Pop Montreal (Montreal, Canada) – I like to imagine the name of this festival refers to the actual city just popping from this bubble of self contained Canadianality into this monstrous, city-wide riot of music and dancing where women and children huddle behind shuttered windows while the men peak through with their guns (ha, nevermind, Canada) wondering when the chaos will end. But I’m pretty sure it’s actually just the genre of music playing. But hey, whatever works. At least Arcade Fire is playing a hometown show.
19-20th – iHeartRadio Festival (Las Vegas, Nevada) – The last major festival I covered in Las Vegas was Electric Daisy Carnival. I spoke a lot of shit about it and the crowd there, and turns out I was right. Two people fucking died. I don’t think this is endemic of the fact that it’s in Vegas, but iHeartRadio is definitely gonna be a teller. It’s a calmer festival than EDC for sure, and smaller still than the Life is Beautiful festival happening there next month, but whatever effect Vegas has on people… man. It’s gonna be a story, one way or the other. Hopefully what happens in Vegas makes it out of Vegas this time.
19-21st: Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, California) – There’s a lot of jazz festivals popping up around now. Maybe it’s the equinox, the harvest, all that jazz (badum tsh!). There’s just something classy about the Autumn that the genre fits so well. Monterey works in the same way – foggy, breezy, a little mysterious and a little inviting at the same time. Fall is also the perfect time to visit northern California, when the fog banks roll in and the weather gets a bit more wet, turning the evergreen coast into something a bit closer to Seattle than Los Angeles. Keep dry with music and enjoy the pumpkin pie.
20th – Virgin Mobile Free Fest (Columbia, Maryland) – Man, it’s just creative name central up in here. But you know what? I’m okay with this one. You know why? Because it’s FREEE! I mean, if you don’t have tickets then scalping one will probably cost some bucks, but it’s the thought that counts, right? They didn’t have to make it free. Merriweather Post Pavilion is one of the best venues in the world, and the lineup is absolutely stacked for a single-day festival. Fun fact: the 2006 edition of this show was the first music festival I ever attended. I was 16 years old and thought that hippy with the dreads and weird dance moves was just drunk. The times they are a’changin’.
20-21st: Sunset Strip Music Festival (Los Angeles, California) – I’ve never understood the allure of Hollywood and the Sunset Strip. Sticking your hands in the concrete molds of a person you’ve never met just doesn’t seem worth the risk of getting shot by the homeless dude who thought you were taking his picture, and the strip itself is famous more for its location and at-times-sordid history than its actual quality. That said, the location is pretty damn cool, so putting on a cheap music festival with a decent lineup there is a no-brainer. And if you get bored, hey, there’s an In-N-Out right around the corner.
20-28th: Beer Week (Los Angeles, California) – And while you’re in Los Angeles, stop by Beer Week. I’ve long said that American beers are some of the best in the world, and I know people agree with me. Now how about a festival with unlimited free beer tastings, just to prove that point? And while LA gets more of a rep for its bloody marys and mimosas, there are lots of dedicated brewers putting out some awesome experimental cold ones. And hey, if beer (and panels about beer?) aren’t your scene, go for the food trucks and entertainment. You don’t think LA puts on a festival and doesn’t go all out about it, do you?
23rd: Equinox (Chichen Itza, Mexico) – Screw harvest parades and jazz. The Mayans really knew how to celebrate the Equinox. At Chichen Itza, home of the gigantic pyramid El Castillo, deep in the jungles of Mexico, you’ll be able to celebrate the new season by watching the shadow of a snake crawl down the pyramid. It may not sound that impressive, and the crowds can kill the effect if you get your hopes up too much, but you’ll be able to find your school of people if you look hard enough. So while many people are standing around to watch, you can dance your ass off while the pyramid is lit up like a giant neon candle. You could, dare I say it, party like it’s 2012.
24-28th: Decibel (Seattle, Washington) – Decibel was founded back in 2003 as a way to introduce people to that new and shocking genre of music, that horrible, child-corrupting tunage known as… EDM. It’s almost crazy to think how much the community of dance musicians has grown since then, but still, Decibel is all about innovation. Don’t expect to see the David Guettas and Calvin Harrises of the world here. Oh sure, drop a molly and go crazy if you want. But the music on display here is far more in-depth and technical than what you might find at a HARD show. Paired with the workshops and lectures about the industry and technology, and you’ve got more of a talent show than a festival. People showing off the batshit crazy material they can come up with, one-upping each other and actually pushing a genre that’s gotten so stagnant even Zedd is getting tired of it.
26-27th: Way Over Yonder (Los Angeles, California) – If you’ve heard the song the festival is named after, you already know what to expect here. This is the sister festival to the Newport Folk Festival, and while it brings in some louder names (Local Natives are headlining this year), it’s still a nice way to spend a relaxing weekend with some good music in a great location. The Santa Monica pier has live music throughout the summer, but this is the culmination of the series. Grab a bottle of wine, lay out a blanket on the beach, and try to stay sober enough to drive home afterwards. Pro tip: the roller coaster is a great way to sober up.
26-28th – TomorrowWorld (Fairburn, Georgia) – TomorrowWorld is the second festival to come out of the now-franchised Tomorrowland brand of electrowhatthefuckitude. The original is still widely regarded to be one of the best festivals in the entire world, and TomorrowWorld needs to live up to the exotic stages of Belgium. I guess Fairburn, Georgia is exotic to somebody. Because nothing says “young, open-minded, and willing to try new things with interesting people of different races” like the Deep South.
28th – Atlantic Antic (Brooklyn, New York) – It doesn’t seem fitting to end the month on one of the smaller offerings I’ve got for you, but the Atlantic Antic hits close to home. The Brooklyn block party turns an entire street into a walking festival. Explore the area, grab some food, check out some art. America’s got some pretty cool stuff.
And thus… September! If you make it to any of them, tweet me @theElsewhereman with some pictures and let me know what you think! See you next month, kids.