Best Indoor and Outdoor Festivals

Use the Best Festivals Guide to find the best festival for you, your friends and your family too. For centuries, indoor and outdoor festivals have been a way for communities to experience and to celebrate the best aspects of their lives:

  • In many countries, festivals are related to historical events, like the many festivals in France that honor Bastille Day, the French National Holiday on July 14th. The festivals celebrate the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. The country’s many celebrations honor the occasion with fireworks, parades and dancing.
  • The Swedish St. Lucia’s festival on December 13th honors a religious tradition. St. Lucia’s feast day, a Christian holiday, is commemorated by festivals held all over the country that celebrate by choosing a young girl or woman to represent St. Lucia with white robes and a crown made of candles. Flanked by attendants, the St. Lucia procession walks through towns visiting schools, churches and retirement homes to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season and the shortest day of the year.
  • The Chinese New Year festival celebrates the change of seasons and is observed on the first day of the first new moon of the lunar calendar in Chinese communities all over the world. The traditional lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, so the starting date ranges from the end of January to the third week of February. The most important Chinese festival includes celebrations that range from family visits to traditional parades.

No matter what the reason for the celebration, good food, arts and crafts and music have historically been the hallmarks of a town festival, i.e., The Bakersfield Scottish Games. The Best Festivals Guide gives you information about the best indoor and outdoor festivals to attend in the United States and around the world for the music lover, the art lover or the gourmand in you.

Find out who has the best live music festival and where to go for film, kid friendly and historic “theme” festivals, too:

  • Annual blues and live music festivals welcome music lovers with a host of festivals for every melody that moves you;
  • You’ll never go hungry for food or knowledge at a food or heritage festival;
  • Art and film festivals give you an opportunity to purchase art and watch independent films on a budget;
  • Step back in time with Renaissance and medieval festivals for lively theater, good food and lots of arts and crafts;
  • Family-friendly outdoor festivals offer a safe, kid-friendly environment and fun activities the whole family will enjoy;

We’ve compiled this list of the best indoor and outdoor festivals based on information from contributors, and we welcome your input and ideas.

No matter what your interest, there’s a festival waiting for you.

The Changing Face of Indoor and Outdoor Festivals by Dr. Brett Ferdinand of Montreal, Quebec

The face of indoor and outdoor festivals has changed in recent years to cut down on their negative environmental impacts. In particular, they target carbon footprints they were so often known to leave. Indoor and outdoor festivals now reduce or eliminate land damage, utilize materials made from post consumer waste and power greener festivals with biodiesel. Biodiesel is an alternative fuel comprised of non-toxic biodegradable materials like animal fats or vegetable oil. Using biodiesel fuel at festivals produces a significantly reduced amount of event-related carbon dioxide emissions (anywhere from a 20 – 75% reduction) that are harmful to the environment.

Today, many festivals are so dedicated to and focused on supporting eco-friendly efforts that they hire directors to oversee environmental concerns. This allows festivals to plan for a reduction in waste during the festival. The director monitors festival activities related to reducing carbon footprints during the event and reports on environmental impacts once the festival has ended. After the festival, the director can help plan for the next eco-friendly festival, armed with information about the environmental effects of the event.

Many environmentally friendly festivals have gone green and typically feature on-site recycling options and biodegradable utensils and plates at concession stands. Some festivals use eco-friendly tickets made from recycled materials. The overriding goal of the festivals is to continue to work to promote awareness of environmental impacts that occur when large numbers of people travel and gather together in one place for an extended period of time. It will take time, but being proactive and raising awareness about the importance of reducing carbon footprints is a step in the right direction, and gaining momentum, as more and more festivals become green.

Greener Festivals Reduce Our Carbon Footprints by Dr. Brett Ferdinand of Montreal, Quebec

  • San Diego’s 2007 Mardi Gras used alternative fuel made from used cooking oil to power onsite generators at the eco-friendly festival;
  • Bonnaroo, Tennessee’s eco-friendly live music festival, plans to use recycled materials from shows to build event site benches;
  • Live music festivals Lollapalooza and the Warped Tour have both pledged to give back to the communities where they perform; highlights of these  environmentally friendly festivals include educational booths and a backstage recycling program to reduce waste caused by bands and crew members;
  • Musicians like KT Tunstall have started using tour buses fueled by biodiesel fuel to travel to the greener festivals. Pearl Jam committed to supporting environmentally friendly live music festivals in 2003, using biodiesel fuel and supporting efforts worldwide to rebuild rainforests.

How do you travel to the best festivals the US has to offer?

Whether you’re traveling to live music festivals, food festivals, art festivals, kid’s festivals or Renaissance festivals, traveling by plane is the quickest travel option. If you haven’t chosen a festival yet this year, think about coordinating it with a travel incentive program so you can travel for almost next-to-nothing.

How Do You Participate in a Travel Incentive Program?

Contact an industry leader that provides travel incentives to businesses as a way to help them build sales and customers. When you contact them, they can guide you to the business nearest you that is sponsoring a travel incentives marketing program, i.e., car dealerships, restaurants, realtors, credit card companies, timeshares, etc. You, the consumer, benefit greatly because by participating (according to the sponsor’s rules), you are guaranteed the travel package offered for the low price offered. It’s really that simple. There are alot of scams and complaints about travel incentive companies out there so be careful. Look for packages that are legitimate and companies that deliver what they promise.

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