6 Festivals That Offer So Much More Than Music
by April Saylor
You love to dance just as much as the next gal, but there comes a time when everyone’s booty-shaking reaches a limit. This year, go above and beyond the standard music festival with one that offers even more for your mind and body.
For decades, music festivals have been a celebrated rite of passage for people all over the world. Is there any better way to kick off the warm months of summer than by dancing with your friends to your favorite tunes? Turns out, there might be.
These music festivals are taking the party to another level with additions to their lineup that will enlighten and inspire. From yoga to career development and even sustainable food, these fests have something for everyone.
1. Tmrw.Tday, Negril Beach, Jamaica, May 17-23
Jamaica’s inaugural culture festival kicks off in May 2017 with a lineup that’ll delight foodies and festies alike. Organizers invite attendees to “free yourself from society’s intolerance through yoga practice, music, dance, mindful eating, sustainable cooking, art, nature and alternative therapies.”
If that doesn’t cover your activity list, there’s also the seven miles of pristine Jamaican beach that serve as the festival grounds. And since seven days of dancing to reggae and house music would be exhausting for anyone no matter how beautiful the surroundings, attendees can check out the organic food festival and hot sauce competition, visit area farms, or catch a wellness seminar or yoga class. Count us in!
2. Astral Harvest, Alberta, Canada, July 14-17
In addition to some bass-heavy EDM music, the daytime schedule at this tiny Canadian festival located a three-and-a-half hour drive north of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, packs some serious punch. In addition to the festival standard daily yoga practice, Astral attendees can brush up their crafting game (woodworking, anyone?) or learn fun movement skills like juggling or hula-hooping at one of the various workshops throughout the day.
If your body needs a rest after grooving, attendees can chill out on the beach next to a river — the perfect scenic swimming spot nestled in the scenic back country. There are also seminars on various topics throughout the week, on some seriously abstract philosophical debates as well as career advice.
3. ARISE Music Festival, Loveland, CO, August 4-6
There are five stages of cross-genre musical acts throughout the weekend (bluegrass, reggae, and rocks bands have all headlined previously), but there’s so much more than music offered at ARISE. Previous festivals have boasted a wild herb seminar, Qi-Gong and yoga workshops, and some truly impressive art installations. The 2017 lineup includes multiple “villages” themed around healing, solutions, and wisdom — places for attendees to explore new ideas and contribute their own.
4. Fashion Meets Music, Columbus, OH, August 18-19
This two-day fest brings some of the best live music to the totally underrated town of Columbus, Ohio… but that’s not all. The runway shows feature national and local fashion designers who walk the catwalk in the “fashion tent” as local DJs spin tracks. Attendance at the 2016 event was relatively low — but that just means shorter wait times for beer and bathrooms!
Want to walk the runway? Sign up here.
5. Art Basel Miami, Miami Beach, FL, December 7-10
Unlike the smaller, more intimate events above, Art Basel is one of the world’s most notorious art fairs (and a huge celeb hot spot). And that notoriety comes at quite the cost: The more “affordable” pieces of artwork go for around $1,000. But if you want to rub elbows with Leo DiCaprio or Skrillex in the Miami heat, this is your chance.
The experts at Everfest say the epicenter of the event takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center, while additional “satellite” galleries and pop-up shops are open across town. The real treat, however, are the dozens of parties, concerts, and people-watching that happens outside of the marketplace.
6. South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin, TX, March 9-18, 2018
SXSW bills itself as “a place for creative people to achieve their goals.” Other festivals might be the perfect destination for those looking to escape the real world, but SXSW embraces it.
The price tag for entry is a hefty one, but the convergence of conference and festival into one is the perfect place to polish your professional chops… and have a great time doing it. The daytime schedules for each of the four festivals (Interactive, Film, Music and Comedy) are chock-full of panels and seminars, and the nighttime events include dozens of parties and showcases.
If you can’t fork over the cash for an official wristband, there are also countless free concerts and parties every year at nearby venues in downtown Austin that are released in the weeks ahead of the event.