Oh February. What would I do without you? Nothing much, since I was born in you. But since I doubt most of you will be celebrating my birthday with me, let’s give you something else to celebrate. How about Carnival? The craziest parties all over the world leading up to one of the longest stretch of strict religious adherence around. Even the devout need to let off a little steam first. There will be Carnival activities somewhere, anywhere you are, but I’ve included a few of the best around. If you’re in the area, you know what to do. And if you’re in Asia, look for the countries still discovering that it’s a new year out here. Alright. Let’s get down to business.
And as usual, subscribe to the Elsewhere Plans Festival Calendar February 2015 via an easy-to-read Google Calendar version, as well as a downloadable iCal version. Don’t forget to tweet any that I missed to @theElsewhereman, and I’ll add them in.
The Elsewhere Man’s Top 5
4-8th – Caravan for Peace/Festival au Desert (Ségou, Mali) – I talked about the Caravan for Peace a bit in last month’s Elsewhere Plans. It’s a traveling festival that latches itself onto other festivals taking place in Africa – the Festival au Desert is the latest recipient. Bet you didn’t know Africa has a kickass music festival, huh? Well, don’t worry, because it doesn’t. Not anymore. The Festival of the Desert normally takes place in Mali, where it proudly lays claim to the title of, “most remote music festival in the world.” It’s even got a bar with the sign. But lately, with violence increasing in the country in what can only be called a War on Fun (it can probably be called other things), the festival has gone into Exile. However, there are different sources on this – so you may need to research to find out where it’s actually held.
12-13th – Festival sur de Niger (Mopti, Mali) – This one’s definitely happening. The Festival sur de Niger (Festival South of the Niger) is a big cultural and arts festival taking place in Northern Africa. There’s music, obviously, but also theatre, dance, and cultural shows. It’s like a mix of the modern music festival and ancient traditions, so you can rock out while feeling like you’re actually accomplishing something with your travels.
12-15th – Sauti Za Busara (Stone Town, Zanzibar) – Half the time musicians talk about Africa, it’s Bono pretentiously pretending he can fix it (sometimes you can’t make it on your own, guy). The other half, it’s in South Africa. Since Mali’s music festival went into fest-xile, there’s not a whole lot of representation from the middle and north of the wildest continent. Enter Sauti Za Busara, a true international music festival that dubs itself, “the friendliest festival in the world,” hosted in Zanzibar, previously famous for Tenacious D’s food order. The music tends to be more worldly, and with the starry African sky above, chances are you’ll feel more worldly too. More than that dick Bono anyway.
13-14th – Ultra (Cape Town/Johannesburg, South Africa) – This is simply destined for greatness. It’s like a perfect storm, with the culture of Ultra (aka, fucked up KandiKids snorting coke off of other people’s vages) as lived out by the kind of culture that barricades its rich folk behind high-security walls to keep out the murderous riff raff. What could possibly go wrong? Besides a large scale version of, “I thought it was a robber in my bathroom”?
1-3rd – Jaisalmer Desert Festival (Jaisalmer, India) – I write a lot about camel festivals taking place in India. They love their camels. The Jaisalmer Desert Festival (also the Rajasthan Desert Festival) is meant to showcase the culture of the region, but a lot of it just ends up with camel racing and mustache shows. These mustaches put Movember to shame, so if you think you’ve really got what it takes to enter (you really don’t), then by all means, get that facial hair waxed.
3rd – Thaipusam (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – Remember that scene in the Dark Knight, where the Joker talks about how knives are a much more intimate way to kill somebody than guns? That’s basically what Thaipusam has going on (especially compared to Pasola), minus the weird death wish (the colorful dress can stay). The festival centers on a pilgrimage to the Batu Caves (Dark Knightu tie-in) while draped in knives and hooks, as a way to atone for sins past. If you’re gonna go, keep in mind that there’s about 300 steps to climb. So if self-mutilation sounds like a gas, but physical exertion is just a step over the line, maybe stay home.
5-8th – Pasola War Festival (Sumba, Indonesia) – For a sport that involves thrusting a giant spear in another man’s face, jousting doesn’t get a lot of respect nowadays (thought I was going in a different direction there, huh?). But apparently, the key to making something cool is to move it to a tropical setting, take away the clothing, and add a lot of war paint and battle cries. The Pasola War Festival takes place on the shores of one of the more remote Indonesian islands, far away from the controlling bodies who may be against people trying to kill each other. It’s a dangerous and exotic festival… and isn’t that what you’re looking for in the first place?
5-11th – Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo, Japan) – Back in the ’50s, a bunch of schoolkids in Sapporo (who, presumably, couldn’t drink the local beer yet) got together and built a bunch of snow sculptures, as kids do. Then, because the Japanese are masters of commercializing damn near everything about their culture, they turned this simple act into a massive, weeklong international Snow Festival on par with Harbin in China. Luckily, this goes a little better each year than the last major time the Japanese and the Chinese competed.
7-8th – Float Festival (Madurai, India) – The Float Festival of Madurai celebrates the birthday of King Nayak, when he took a bunch of idols from temples down to the river for a boatride, because that’s something you do on your birthday when you’re the king. I know I would. Anyway, because us plebes wanted to take place, it became an annual thing to float these idols down the river, and it’s only grown from there to include festivities, dancing, and fireworks over the water.
17th – Maha Shivaratri (Kathmandu, Nepal) – Maha Shivaratri is – can you guess? – the Nepalese Hindu celebration of Shiva, the destroyer/creator god. It’s believed that worshipping him on the day of his wedding will bring positive karma, and since Karma obviously follows the “fresh groceries” rules where the early picks are the best, people flock into the temples starting at 3 AM to get the very best prayers in they can. Then they reward themselves with a full day of revelry, including picking up large weights with their dicks, which, of course you do. Everybody knows tensile strength is one of the primary perks of good karma. Oh, by the way, it’s also the only day on which it’s legal to smoke pot. Don’t let that influence you.
18th – Hadaka Matsuri (Nara, Japan) – Let’s get your hopes up – the name of this festival translates to “Naked Festival.” Let’s get your hopes down – even if there were people you wanted to see naked, you wouldn’t get to – flapping in the wind is sorely forbidden. Even tattoos need to be covered up, so really, it’s the name kind of builds up something that it can’t deliver. Like a McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty. The festival involves trying to grab a spiritual stick in a free-for-all involving sumo wrestlers and Yakuza, which may do a bit to explain why so few foreigners actually attend this thing. Strip down at your own risk.
18-19th – Losar (Kathmandu, Nepal) – If you went to Maha Shivaratri, then you’re already in town, so you’re 100% going to stay for the Tibetan New Year. You’d be a losar to not. On the second day of the festival, Buddhists are required by cultural tradition to come outside and celebrate and wish each other good will. Do you get that? It’s literally mandatory to have a good time at this festival. I don’t know what they’d do if you didn’t, but with all the singing, dancing, and talks from the Dalai Lama himself, there’s no reason to find out.
19th – Tet (Saigon, Vietnam) – As a kid, the only concept of Tet that I had in America was that it was somehow Offensive. I don’t think I even realized it was a real holiday until I actually moved to Vietnam for a few months and was told nonstop by the people how great of a time it is. The Vietnamese New Year is full of festivals all along the entire country, but for the biggest, you’ll want to hit Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. For a smaller, more intimate, but still just as awesome time, try Hoi An on the central coast.
19th – Chinese New Year (Hong Kong) – Hong Kong has never shied away from a celebration. Remember what they did for the Gregorian New Year? I don’t! So imagine how big they’ll treat their own native New Year. 2015 is the Year of the Sheep, and while the entire world rings it in with giant dancing dragons and fortune cookies, Hong Kong will be ringing in the new year like only one of the largest city-states in the world can.
1-5th – Tapati Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) – Easter Island is one of the most remote places on Earth, so chances are you’re not just going out there to get stoned and look at stone heads. Which is good, because if you pulled that here, you’d probably get stoned in the bad way. This isn’t a music festival, and it’s not really even a festival that cares if tourists come. This festival is a celebration of Polynesian culture, the kind of culture that buries gigantic stone people up to their necks and then doesn’t tell anybody why. Maybe they were stoned.
2-5th – Virgen de Candelaria (Copacabana, Bolivia) – The Western side of South America doesn’t get a whole lot of love when it comes to festivals. Being a giant stretch of mountain and desert tends to do that to a place (although it’s not stopping a few places on this list…). But that doesn’t mean they don’t understand the concept. On the shores of Lake Titicaca (heh), the town of Copacabana celebrates the Madonna with a festival on the day of her Purification. With the smaller, more rural culture of the area, don’t expect a blowout like Rio’s throwing this month. Instead, expect an awesome feast and some great times celebrating with the locals.
13-18th – Carnival (Rio de Janeiro/Sao Paulo, Brazil) – And here we are. The big one. The Carnival you’ve always dreamed of visiting, the one so awesome they even make kids movies about it with annoying talking parrots. But you know what? That’s the thing – you already know about it. And chances are if you’re going, you’ve been going for a while. So I’m gonna tell you, check out the Carnival in Sao Paulo. It’s smaller, but more intimate and less well known. Didn’t expect that one, huh? I also may not have had jokes to live up to the hype. Don’t tell.
14-17th – Carnival de Oruro (Oruro, Bolivia) – Lake Titicaca’s popping off so much this month that you’d think it was a bra off a pair of Titicacas at Mardi Gras. The town of Oruro, on the shore of the lake, throws a large Carnival during the regular season. It’s no Rio, obviously, but if you’re having trouble finding your way to the other side of the Andes, then go for the quieter affair with the better stars. There’s really no downside to snuggling up in Titicaca.
16th – Carnival (Port of Spain, Trinidad y Tobago) – If you’re not able to make it to Carnival in Rio, then Trinidad y Tobago is your next best bet. It’s a little more underground, or at least, as underground as you can possibly be when compared to the monstrosity that is Rio’s Carnival. But it still incorporates the same sort of crazy, costumed debauchery on a city-wide scale, without the $700/night hostel dorm rooms.
20-21st – Ultra (Buenos Aires, Argentina) – I hate Ultra. you probably know this by now. Its culture sucks to the level that some cities actively campaign against the millions of tourist dollars in brings in just to keep the people it draws out. And it represents a capitalistic approach to music festivals that doesn’t sit well with me, a diffusion and dilution of the the experience that says that the uniqueness of the event matters less than the profit. But hey, if you’re in Buenos Aires, and there’s not much else swinging through, go for it champ. I’m not your boss.
26-March 1st – Envision (Uvita, Costa Rica) – There aren’t a whole lot of actual music festivals in Central America, so when they do come around you should really consider jumping in, just for the sake of novelty. Generally speaking, when they do show up, they come with the lessons learned of the larger American ones, plus the local flavor. Costa Rica is a beautiful country, so I can only imagine live music in that setting would be magical.
28-March 4th – Vendimia (Mendoza, Argentina) – Harvest festivals have always been a big deal. In America, it usually means some kind of local band playing bad Springsteen covers, a corn maze, and, fuck, I don’t know, a carriage ride or something. In Mendoza, one of the prime grape-growing regions in the world, it includes days and days of massive performances, huge parades, 24 hour parties, and, of course, more wine than you could possibly puke up in a night. It’s so large, that it’s actually spawned offshoot festivals in nearby areas, like the Gay National Harvest Queen, or the Crush of Grapes night. If you went to Ultra recently, this is one way to get a much, much better taste in your mouth.
1-17th – Carnevale di Venezia (Venice, Italy) – We’re still building up to the big one here, but if you couldn’t make it out of Europe, and that coin flip didn’t send you to Viareggio, then chances are you’re gonna be celebrating Carnival in Venice. They’re two sides to the same coin – Viareggio is all about that street level energy. Venice classes it up a bit, becoming a city-wide masquerade ball. Of course, it’s gonna cost a fortune to get into the actual balls, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw on a mask and get in on the festivities anyway. Nothing helps the embarrassment when you get drunk and fall into a canal like a little anonymity.
10-18th – Sitges Carnival (Barcelona, Spain) – Sitges is basically the miniature Ibiza, so it’s no wonder they have a pretty well established Carnival celebration. But you should know before you go: like the Sydney Carnival, the Sitges event is generally known as a gay and lesbian event. And while that’s even more awesome (have you seen those Pride parades? Fierce as fuck), it does preclude a large demographic known as “creepy dudes looking to hit on girls just because the event fosters a culture of undress.” If that’s you, and make sure you take a long hard look at yourself before saying no, then maybe this isn’t the Carnival for you.
14-17th – Battle of the Oranges (Ivrea, Italy) – When I was a kid, we played a game called “Flinch,” wherein you lob an orange in a high arc at somebody sitting about ten feet away from you, trying to let it fly gracefully before landing directly on the other guy’s junk. Oranges fucking hurt man. So I get most of these kinds of festivals (La Tomatina is on the list), but this is one food fight you should think long and hard about before attending. There are nets set up to protect spectators, but at a certain point, you need to be okay with taking a block of OJ to the noggin.
15-17th – Carnaval de Binche (Binche, Belgium) – The Carnaval de Binche (Carnival of Binche, come on keep up) actually takes place on the 15-17th, but the city takes so much pride in its tradition that the ball gets rolling a lot earlier than you’d expect. The town’s kind of a blip on a radar that only comes to life during this season, like nearby Boom during Tomorrowland, so it’s pretty anxious to show off. It’s like that kid in kindergarten who just really wants you to see his macaroni picture, only in this case that kid made the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel out of macaroni and paste. So you stand there kind of flabbergasted, taking it in, a single tear of beauty falling down your cheek, while the kid sits back down and starts eating glue again.
16-22nd – Maslenitsa (Moscow, Russia) – Leave it to Russia to just have to do Carnival different from everybody else. Their version of the festival takes a lot of influence from pagan traditions, especially revolving around the banning of dairy and meat during the Lentern period. Maslenista is the last week before this period, leading to it’s other name – Pancake Week. It’s the last week orthodox Christians can enjoy a couple of flapjacks, as well as the last week for drinking and parties. As such, Maslenista is your chance to really get down with your comrades before they shut down for the month. It’s celebrated all over Russia, but chances are you’re gonna have a better time in Moscow than some gulag in Siberia.
19th – Chinese New Year (London, England) – So obviously, if you’re planning on making Chinese New Year a major part of your life plan, then Hong Kong is the place to be. You can’t do Chinese New Year like China. But if you don’t feel like dealing with obstructive visa laws and long flights, then you can still find a party in London. As the second biggest celebration in the world, this one spills out of Chinatown and into the stuffier parts of town. So for once, you won’t have to worry about getting sneered at after asking for a few simple directions on the Tube.
20th-March 28th – Strong Beer Festival (Munich, Germany) – Back in the 1600’s, when monks were fasting for Lent and had to survive on liquids only, but it was still too cold to have a beer outside outside, they brewed “doppel” strong beer to pass the time. This is, essentially, the first instance of “I’m skipping dinner so I can get drunker tonight.” This evolved into the Strong Beer Festival. I doubt there’s a person in the world that saw pictures of the real Oktoberfest and thought, yeah, that looks like the one the pussies visit. Where can I get some real beer? But if you did, if you were your frat’s fastest chugger and couldn’t get drunk off a bottle of absinthe, then maybe the Strong Beer Festival is for you. It’s like a smaller Oktoberfest, in the sense that fewer people could leave standing up.
21-22nd – Dancefair (Utrecht, Netherlands) – The Dutch live for electronic music festivals. It’s like crack to them, and obviously nobody’s gonna choose actual crack.. Dancefair is the logical progression of this, where it transcends from a music festival to a way of life. An Expo. Dancefair is essentially a study of electronic music festivals, so while it contains one as well, there are also lectures, workshops, and other events to help you get beyond sitting in your mom’s basement, coming up with a DJ name and calling yourself established. Keep up the studies, DJ Sea L1onz.
22nd – Carnevale (Viareggio, Italy) – At a certain point, a lot of these Carnival/Carnevale/Karny-Ville descriptions are going to start to blend together. I need to decide whether I want to blow my load early on these less famous ones to save my strength for Rio, or assume everybody’s going for Rio and put a little attention on the shyer friend who may be just as hot. It’s like my college bar all over again. The Viareggio celebration is one of the largest (along with Venice) Kernelbills in the world, so if you find yourself on the European mainland with no direct flights to Brazil, take solace in the fact that you’re gonna be just fine.
1-15th – Quebec Winter Carnival (Quebec, Canada) – Fair admission of guilt: the Winter Carnival started on the 30th of January. I’m sorry! I know that this basically invalidates all my hard work, but I think that knowing about it is better than not. The Winter Carnival is like the Harbin Ice Festival mixed with Rio’s, well, Carnival. It’s a cold weather alternative to a season most people associate with skimpy bathing suits and samba parades. And hey, it can be that too. Just expect a dogsled to be leading that float.
14th – 9 Mile (Miami, Florida) – Here in America, we’ve got a few states with legalized weed. That’s gotta be the reason we haven’t seen a big weed-oriented festival out of them yet – they’re all too high to organize it. So logic follows that the first big Rasta festival takes place in Florida, home of some of the strictest drug laws in the state. Nothing helps paranoia like that little fact, huh? The organizers really don’t give a shit about that in any case – just take a look at their website. That URL ends with “Ent.” They’re gonna say it stands for “entertainment,” I’m sure, but we all know the truth. Burn those trees down, orcs.
17th – Mardi Gras (New Orleans, Louisiana) – I’ve always been terrified of going to Mardi Gras. My brain has trouble differentiating my hopes – in which the streets are filled with beautiful women throwing their tops at me while I shower them from above with bundles of beads, while a live alligator feeds me shrimp poboy on an speeding airboat – with my expectations, in which a bunch of sad old men look for hot topless women while steadily being scammed out of more and more money by the homeless dudes in the French Quarter. I’m assuming the real thing will be somewhere in the middle (hopefully the poboy gator exists; I’ve already picked out a name), and I’m sure you’ve already got your own ideas about the place. It’s not exactly underground. If it sounds like your scene, check it out. Say hi to Termigator for me.
20-March 1st – Noise Pop (San Francisco, California) – After all those cultural and Carnival parties, I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to write about regular music festivals. Nice shift from the northern hemisphere’s summer, huh? Did you notice that I’m avoiding writing about the actual festival yet? Yes? Okay, sorry. Noise Pop is a multi-venue cooperation through the Yay Area to bring out some awesome music while the area is still a fog-ridden depressothon. There’s some great acts performing this year, so if you’ve ventured out of the sun-soaked refuge of Southern California (serious, great weather so far this year guys), then cheer up with some sweet tunes.
21-22nd – EDC Puerto Rico (Sixto Escobar, Puerto Rico) – Puerto Rico has voted several times to become a state, and every time, Congress has waved the motion by. It appears they need to really prove that they’re fit to become part of the US of A, that their values are ours. And nothing says “American values” like getting the youth of your island fucked up on whatever they can find, throwing them in a cesspool of grime and music, and then judging them for it after the fact. Calling it now, Puerto Rico will be a state as soon as we can figure out how to make them feel bad about themselves for their life choices.
26-March 1st – Wanderlust (O’ahu, Hawaii) – For a festival named after an almost sexual desire for travel, Wanderlust really works hard to build an atmosphere around being okay with staying in one place. The health-and-wellness festival is all about yoga, talks about healthy living, and carrying out that healthy living. So for the backpacker looking for a Full Moon Party in Hawaii, maybe look elsewhere. It won’t be hard – it’s being hosted at the Turtle Bay Resort, and getting to that kind of place is more in line with a CEO’s salary. Now, I’m not saying you should sneak in. But if there’s one thing America can handle, it’s a few more illegal border crossings.
27-March 3rd – Jam in the Sand (Negril, Jamaica) – Jesus, who would have thought that Miami would upstage Jamaica when it comes to a weed party. Florida’s putting on 9 Mile, while Jamaica is putting out this exclusive little party here. It’s a resort-hosted festival, and packages are already in the thousands of dollars, so if you’re gonna go, chances are you’re gonna be hopping a fence. Based on the search terms leading to my website, I’m gonna guess that CEOs aren’t really checking me out. Or maybe they are. I guess “pushkar camel sex party sign up” could have come from any age.
28-March 1st – EDC Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico ) – There’s a movement going on in Mexico, where the people are steadily fighting back against the influence of the cartels, pushing the safe borders of the country into deeper and deeper recesses of the criminals’ hiding places. And just behind that line of noble people, there’s another movement pushing the borders of the Cabo/Cancun tourist havens into those same places. There’s been an explosion of music festivals in Mexico lately, and while there’s probably something to be said about what goes on at music festivals in relation to drug pushing cartels, progress is progress.
12-15th – Melon Festival (Chinchilla, Queensland) – I’ve never understood Gallagher’s humor myself, but his fame speaks to an important part of our cultural ethos: humans as a species really enjoy beating the shit out of watermelons. Maybe we like to imagine they’re the skulls of our vanquished foes. Maybe it sparks a genetic memory of a time before knives, when cavemen opened their crops with rocks. It’s fun, at least. The Melon Festival involves a whole lot of smashed watermelons. Therefore, it must also be a fun festival. You could just eat them, of course, but where’s the fun in that?
14-March 29th – ICC Cricket World Cup (Australia/New Zealand) – The ICC Cricket World Cup is only held once every few years, and by chance, it’s being hosted in the two countries that go the most batshit (heh) over it. For a sport that can take days to play, Kiwis and Aussies don’t take much in the way of breaks during a match. This year is gonna be a pretty important one, given all the cricket events that have taken place. Expect a huge tribute to Phil Hughes during the hometown matches.
20-22nd – Splore (Tapapakanga, New Zealand) – Count yourselves lucky, kids. Splore takes place once every two years, and you’ve just happened to land on the Good Year. The festival itself takes place in a national park in New Zealand (no idea how they pull off those permits), so the name is pretty apt, since you’ll be ‘sploring the whole damn place by the end of the weekend. The organizers know the people in attendance are naturally going to have a certain affinity for nature, so the whole thing is sustainably based around turning the beach into a giant circus. And it takes a special kind of festival to have a circus with wild animals in attendance in the bush.
20-22nd – Wanderlust (Cockatoo Island, New South Wales) – Wanderlust is spreading. What started as a yoga retreat in Hawaii has become an international phenomenon. And while it still generally appeals more towards older, richer folk who can afford the outrageous ticket prices in the name of feeling “wholesome” (eat your heart out, Bob Marley), there are enough young yogi’s in the world nowadays (if Instagram is to believed, #cleanliving) to justify some interest.
20-21st – Party in the Paddock (Burns Creek, Tasmania) – Tasmania is like the wild frontier of Australia, far removed from the cities of the mainland coast while somehow remaining somewhat free of the Winnie Blues/Holden Commodores bogans of the Outback. I may not have traveled the territory enough. Regardless. Party in the Paddock takes place in the lush north-eastern area of the island, and it’s one of the few festivals around that fully embraces a BYO atmosphere, meaning that while it’s an all ages event, you’re probably not gonna be alone in embarrassing yourself in front of that mother of two over there.
21st – White Nights (Melbourne, Victoria) – White Nights is a 12-hour, 7PM-7AM extravaganza of light and color projected all across the city center. My clearest memory, and that’s not saying much mind you, but my clearest memory of the night involves myself lying on the ground in the public library at 4AM. At this point, people were beginning to filter out, and there was enough room to lie on the ground, watching the projections of a galaxy on the roof. It’d be a beautiful memory if I didn’t slip on a puddle of vomit and break my ass on the way back outside.
21-22nd/28-29th – Soundwave Festival (Touring Australia) – Australia’s got a weird little festival culture. In America, everybody wants a slice of the pie, which leads to exclusive festivals with a lot of name recognition (it’s hard to forget a name like Bonnaroo or Coachella, which read more like sound effects from Batman than names). In Australia, it’s all about touring festivals, so there’s no real exclusivity or difference with regards to what they offer besides the lineup. They tend to blend together when each one hits the same cities each time. Soundwave is the next iteration of this, and it does have a pretty good lineup, so if you’re anywhere it’s hitting you might as well check it out. Unless you’ll be here for the next touring festival in a month.
20-28th – On The Steps (Sydney, New South Wales) – I always wanted to go to a show at the Sydney Opera House. Problem is, they usually don’t play my kind of music in there (not that I mind classical in the right context), and once you’re inside the building, it just looks like another music hall, so where’s the flavor? Apparently, I’m not the only one. For one week in February, a host of shows by modern artists take place right On The Steps of the famous building, so you get to enjoy awesome music with pretty lights projected on the sails you’ve seen in pictures so often.
20th-March 8th – Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (Sydney, New South Wales) – You wouldn’t think a global festival centered on getting half-naked and dancing through the streets would need an iteration specifically for the gay crowd, right? But here we are. This version of Carnival marches through the Sydney Harbor area, bringing in the best parts of a Pride Parade and Mardi Gras into one big, barely contained package. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s in Australia, where I swear to God they put something in the water that makes the entire population about 30% better looking by default. Not that that helps me at this festival, since, you know…