Location: Venues throughout Austin, USA. The trade show is in the Austin Convention Center.

Dates: Dates vary in early to mid-March

Description: Here’s further proof that things really are big in Texas, with a music festival so large it has almost single-handedly earned Austin the title of ‘live music capital of the world’. Started in 1987, it brings the music industry and performers together for 10 days – bands come to be discovered and music execs come to discover. During the day, industry buffs head to the Austin Convention Center to talk shop at a trade show, and by night more than 1200 acts perform at 50 or so venues across the city. Coupled to the music festival, SXSW has swelled in recent years to include a film festival and conference and a festival for interactive media.

Essentials: Registering for a Platinum Badge (around $800 to $1100, depending on how far ahead you buy it) gets you into all three trade shows, conferences, screenings, clubs and VIP lounges. A Music Badge ($500 to $650) allows entry into the music conference, trade show and nightly gigs.

Local Attractions: If you want more live music just spend an ordinary day in Austin, where bands regularly play at supermarkets, record shops – even at the airport. The Texas State Capitol is 5m taller than the US Capitol.

More Info: sxsw.com

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain



Dates: 14–16 June

Billing itself as a festival of progressive music and multimedia arts, Sónar began in 1993 as a hobnobbing opportunity for the music industry and now attracts 80,000 electronica lovers. The cutting-edge festival is an appropriate excuse to visit Barcelona, where Gaudí built psychedelic buildings in the early 1900s and the Spanish Civil War inspired great literary accounts.


By day you can discover musical genres such as ‘digital concretism’ by checking out the showcases in the Museum of Contemporary Art and Centre of Contemporary Culture. The buildings, not far from La Rambla in central Barcelona, also host technology demonstrations, record and clothes fairs, multimedia art, and film screenings.


By night the chin stroking is replaced by flailing arms when the action shifts to a clubber’s nirvana, with four stages of live acts, DJs and VJs. No wonder the day’s programme starts at midday. The rollcall of international artists who have swung by the Catalonian capital for the event includes Aphex Twin, Björk, De La Soul, Richie Hawtin and the Chemical Brothers.

Essentials: Swot-up on what terms like ‘post-rock’ mean for conversations with electronica enthusiasts.



Local Attractions: If you have any energy left after climbing Gaudí’s modernist basilica, the Sagrada Família, Barcelona has galleries devoted to Picasso and the surrealist Miró, who both spent periods here.



More Info: www.sonar.es

Location: Heimaey, Westmann Islands, Iceland


Dates: Verslunarmannahelgi (first weekend in August)


All over Iceland, bonfires are lit and vodka is shared to celebrate the ratification the country’s constitution in 1874, but Heimay hosts the mother of all parties. Some 10,000 people make like the local puffins and flock to the only inhabited Westmann island for a music festival on the edge of the world.

Scandinavian bands like Sigur Rós take to the stage, but the music is perhaps the least remarkable aspect of the event. For starters, the stage is in the shadow of a volcano, which last erupted in 1973. The chilly climate induces an extreme degree of heart- and hide-warming camaraderie, with singsongs rolling across the site between sets. At night, the festival hotfoots it to the huge bonfire halfway up the volcano. 

Not that there’s much night, of course. Due to its position at the top of the map, Iceland experiences almost endless daylight during the summer, a situation that’s cruelly reversed during the winter. At the festival, roving bands of ‘sleep police’ kindly encourage catnappers not to waste the day. The gangs’ job is easy – most people are more interested in warming themselves with a bottle of vodka or a fellow Arctic beauty.


Essentials: Bring your thermal underwear and a strong constitution.



Local Attractions: Surtsey Island was thrown up by a volcanic fissure in 1963.



More info: Reykjavic Tourist Information Centre: (   +354 590 1550   )




WorldNomads.com - an essential part of every adventurous traveller’s journey. Check out more world festivals at WorldNomads.com

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dates: July 10 – August 31

Each summer, more than 2000 dancers, actors, musicians, writers and artists flock to the city of Dubrovnik to indulge the art-loving world in over 70 performances at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Also known as the Dubrovnik Summer Games, the main events include theatre, dance and folklore, showcased in six weeks of culture and performance.

Since 1950, the charming and whimsical city of Dubrovnik has set a beautiful backdrop to the numerous world-renowned exhibitions. An element in its own right, the city boasts performances in the streets, arenas and plazas for audiences to enjoy the festival in the evening summer air. This combination of setting and talent is precisely what makes the festival Croatia’s premier cultural event and attracts international attention and eager guests to the city.

The festival season hosts a wide range of events from classical ballets and operas to film exhibitions and poetry readings for a lineup that is sure to satisfy every artistic craving. Spectators may be entertained at the theatre by the Festival Drama Ensemble of famous Croatian actors, or be captivated by the Lindo group performing traditional folk dances from Croatian villages.

Also not to be missed are the classical music performances held in the Ducal Palace atrium, known for its acoustics and the world-famous composers and orchestras it attracts each season. Ensconced in ancient city walls, curious visitors and elite artists are together swept up in the inspiration and romanticism of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and its featured exhibitions.

Essentials: A love of European culture and an appreciation for the performing arts are all you need to bring.

Local Attractions:

Take a walk atop the 2km circuit of the medieval city walls to get a bird’s eye view of the red roofs and beautiful vistas of the fortified city. Also, look for battle wounds along the walls, as Dubrovnik was hit in the Yugoslavian war in 1991.

More Info: http://www.dubrovnik-festival.hr/Default.aspx?sec=46



WorldNomads.com - an essential part of every adventurous traveller’s journey. Check out more world festivals at WorldNomads.com

Location: Fair Grounds, New Orleans, USA

Dates: Last weekend of April and first weekend of May

Description: Where else would you want your jazz than in the city that spawned it? After Mardi Gras, ‘Jazz Fest’ is New Orleans’ second-biggest reason to party, a feel-good musical smorgasbord served up on more than 10 stages across two weekends.

Jazz Fest began as a celebration of the city’s 250th birthday in 1968, an event that attracted musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck. After struggling with poor attendance, it moved to the Fair Grounds in 1972 and began showcasing different musical forms in addition to its staple jazz. The event boomed and continues to do so, with headline acts in 2007 alone including Norah Jones, Van Morrison, Harry Connick Jr, Rod Stewart, ZZ Top and Steely Dan.

The Fair Grounds are open 11am to 7pm, but Jazz Fest continues well into the wee hours in bars and clubs throughout the city.

 The festival schedule comes out in January, and it’s wise to make reservations early – entry is by daily tickets. Bring comfortable shoes, sunscreen, a hat, some water and a blanket for chilling out between concerts.

Local Attractions:
 Jazz up your day further by visiting the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park in the French Quarter, recounting the history and culture of the music.

More Info:
 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival ( +1…; www.nojazzfest.com)

St Asaph Cathedral


St Asaph. Clwyd, Wales

End of September

Hosted in the smallest ancient Cathedral in the UK, the festival boasts one of the most intimate settings in which to hear the world’s leading classical musicians.



International music and arts festival held in Norfolk and Norwich, UK in May.

Includes classical and contemporary music, theatre, dance, music, literature.


Snape Maltings
In 1948, British composer Benjamin Britten; tenor Peter Pears, his companion and collaborator, and Eric Crozier, Britten’s frequent librettist, founded the Aldeburgh festival as a home for their touring opera company, the English Opera Group.

The aim of the Aldeburgh festival was to produce fresh interpretations of classic repertoire as well as to rediscover forgotten works. Now more than 60 years old, the festival develops long term relationships with established musicians and younger artists. It attracts audiences and artists from all over the world.

Snape Maltings

The Maltings at Snape is a collection of Victorian buildings, barns and workshops beside the Alde estuary, near the Suffolk Coast. Covering seven acres, the site has restaurants, shops, galleries, guided walks and river trips along the Alde.

The concert hall occupies what had been one of the largest barley “maltings” in East Anglia, used for malting grain until 1965. It is now one of the most important arts venues in the East of England, with a concert hall conversion by Arup Associates, leading British designers.




When: June/July
Where: Gregynog, Wales
Gregynog Festival, or G?yl Gregynog in Welsh, is the oldest extant classical music festival in Wales and takes place each summer atGregynog Hall in the village of Tregynon, near NewtownPowys, mid-Wales.


When: January
Where: Dublin, Ireland

The Temple Bar TradFest is an annual traditional Irish Music and Cultural Festival. The purpose of the festival is to promote Irish musical traditions. The festival takes place the last week of January every year in Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland.