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May 2018

Summer Festivals and Concerts for Every Continent

Celebrations worth traveling for in 2018 and 2019

Summer is prime time for getting out. In the Northern Hemisphere, the season runs roughly from June to September. This traditionally warm period offers the ideal climate to go out and explore the world. It’s also great weather for outdoor festivals. Whether you’re in Europe or Australia, Asia or South America, there’s a summer festival and/or concert waiting for you. Below we’ve listed some notable summer festivals that might be of interest. Festivals within countries below the equator, whose summers run from December to March, are chosen in accordance to their summer observance.


Rock am Ring and Rock im Park (Jun 1-3) occur in Nuremberg and Mendig, and, together, is Germany's largest open-air concert series. Internationally renowned artists visit along with over 150,000 guests for this big rock spectacular.

The Running of the Bulls (Jul 6-14) is well known throughout the world. Hosted in Pamplona, Spain, participants race down enclosed corridors as they're chased by bulls. Its thrill comes also from the inherent danger of being chased by large, horned animals.

Rome is no stranger to summer festivals. The Festival di Caracalla occurs during the entire month of July and into August, and it features a series of classical performances of great operatic works. Hosted in the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, its setting is just as magical as the performances.


Love to get dirty? The Boryeong Mud Festival (Jul 13-22) in South Korea might be for you. Started in 1998 by makers of cosmetics who utilised the mud, it now attracts over 2 million visitors to its host city of Boryeong. It all ends with a great display of fireworks.

The Summer Sonic Festival (Aug 18-20) in Japan is held in both Osaka and Chiba. This large music festival series attracts many of the country's best musical artists, as well as performers from around the world. It also allows visitors to savor some of Japan's wonderful culture.

China’s Mid-Autumn Festival (Sep 13) is one of the country’s largest celebrations. The moon cake is a notable item of this holiday, and it can be seen on sale in countries around the world. This festival celebrates the autumn harvest, and bounty always provides a good reason to party. And though it’s entitled “mid-autumn”, it still technically falls into our range of summer this year, so it’s applicable to this list.


The International Festival of the Sahara (May 25-26) is held, as you would guess, in the Sahara Desert in Tunisia. But it's not all sand; the location is an oasis, complete with plentiful palm trees. Cultural celebrations, from horse riding to poetry readings, are held that honor the people of the desert.

The Up the Creek Music Festival (Feb 7-10, 2019) is a South African music festival that invites you to come as you are, focusing on authenticity and an intimate experience. What began as a birthday party in 1999 eventually became an annual festival where anything can be expected. Set in Swellendam along the banks of the Breede River, it offers the visitors the chance to experience great local acts while meeting vibrant people.

AfrikaBurn (dates TBD) is the African rendition of the popular Burning Man festival. The alternative arts gathering hosts over 10,000 attendees in the Karoo desert. Participants create and share their creations and performances, meaning every moment is a new experience.

North America

Independence Day (Jul 4) is a big holiday in the United States that celebrates all-things American. Expect fireworks, big band concerts, hot dogs and burgers on the grill, and plenty of flag-waving.

Similarly, Canada celebrates Canada Day on the first of July. The national holiday commemorates the day the country became self-governing, separating itself from Great Britain. Fireworks, music concerts, air shows, and barbecues are held here as well.

Lollapalooza (August 2-5) in Chicago, IL is a large music festival celebrated annually. It’s also one of the most famous concerts in the world, dating back to 1991. Originally started by the band Jane’s Addiction for their farewell tour, the festival’s popularity ebbed and flowed in the latter 90s, but today it once again runs strong thanks to a resurgence of support.

South America

Rock al Parque (Aug 18-20) in Bogotá, Colombia is not only one of the world's largest music festivals; it's also free! The rock music festival began in 1995 and hosts over 400,000 attendees.

Rio Réveillon (New Year's Eve) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is one of the world's largest beach parties, and it’s a great way to celebrate both the new year and the middle of summer.

Carnaval is perhaps the most widespread South American festival in the world. The Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro (Mar 1-9, 2019) is a huge dance party with religious roots. It's the party before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, when observers traditionally abstain from something or another. With that in mind, the city goes into a massive frenzy of dance, music, and other cultural delights.


The Festival of the Sun (December 13-15) is an outdoor music festival held annually at the Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park at Port Macquarie in New South Wales. Started around 2003, it features a lineup of great musical acts and attracts a notable amount of attendees, occasionally selling out completely.

The Meredith Music Festival and Golden Plains (March 9-11, 2019) is a camping music festival hosted on private farmland in Victoria. While it started small, it now attracts many attendees and popular acts. It's a great concert for those who'd prefer to eschew commercialism and be with like-minded music lovers. Previous notable acts include Bon Iver, Pavement, Cat Power, George Clinton, Yo La Tengo, Ween, Gotye, and Iron and Wine.


Antarctica has more or less the same summer months as Australia, but it really doesn’t matter because you’re not likely to go there for any big festivals. Still, wouldn’t it be fun to attend a penguin party?

We couldn’t possibly list every summer festival from every continent. Let us know if we missed your favorite celebration. Share it with our other readers on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles!