Best European Festivals in 2010 - August and September
Cowes WeekClick thumbnail to view full-size
Festival of MimeClick thumbnail to view full-size
What's happening at the beginning of August
The town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight, England, plays host to Cowes Week from the 31st July to 7th August.This is the longest running regular regatta in the world. The event started in 1826, and is always held ion the Solent (the stretch of water with the strong double tides, between the Isle of Wight and southern England)Over the years the regatta has been attended by royalty and other world famous personalities, as well as naval warships, super-yachts and square-riggers. Typically, over a 1,000 boats and 8,500 competitors take part, and the sailing activities as well as the onshore events including live music, cocktail parties, and the world famous fireworks on the final Friday of the events, attract around 50,000 visitors. To be closer to the events, you can get aboard a spectator boat (bookings from June onwards) apply to the official web site www.cowesweek.co.uk
The next event starting this month is the International Festival Mimos (Mime) held between the 2nd August and 8th August in Perigueux, France. There will be a variety of brilliant shows with a central theme : movement - including mime, clowning, circus, dance (hip-hop etc..), puppetry, plastic arts and music. The shows are non-verbal and are easily understood by all. Not only shows, but exhibitions and workshops for adults and children. First the festival "IN" composed of professional companies coming from all parts of the world, paid for by the festival, so there is an admission charge for some of the shows, but many others are free. Secondly the festival "OFF" with unpaid companies who perform in the streets, squares and outside cafes (these will probably ask for a contribution at the end of the show) There is an International jury of critics and professional artists who give the Mimos prize of 3,000€ for the best performance.
Hanse Sail in RostockClick thumbnail to view full-size
More August Events
Between the 5th and 8th August we go over to Germany now for the Hanse Sail in Rostock.This is one the largest maritime festivals in Germany. About 200 sailing ships of all types and sizes from many countries visit the coast off the city of Rostock every year. There are several other cultural events but the ships remain the focal point of the festival. Not only can you watch the ships but it's possible to sail them or enter them while they are anchored. Every year about 20 sea-planes come to the festival and they offer you an opportunity to take a 30 minute flight with them. The festival ends with a firework display on the Saturday night.
The FringeClick thumbnail to view full-size
"The Fringe" - Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The Fringe is the worlds largest arts festival. This year it will be held from 6th to 30th August. It was established in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival. The Fringe takes place here in Edinburgh, Scotland, alongside several other arts and cultural events, collectively known as the Edinburgh Festival. The Fringe being the largest attracts events from the performing arts, music, dance, theatre, and in recent years comedy. Last year 35% of shows were comedy. Theatre events range from Shakespeare to more modern works, and attendance last year was over 1.859,000. There were over 34,000 performances by 19,000 performers from 60 countries.Don't miss the ongoing street fair on the Royal mile.
Edinburgh Military Tattoo HighlightsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Interceltic Festival Brittany
Between the 6th and 15th August the 40th Inter-celtic Festival will be celebrated in Lorient, Brittany, France.Celtic music and culture will be celebrated by all the Celtic nations which include, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Galicia and Asturies in Northern Spain and even Australia.Here in the city you will see and hear Celtic traditional, classical, folk, jazz and rock music, complete with singers and dancers. Painters, sculptors and writers are among the other artists taking part. Basically the morning events feature Breton marine music and sea shanties,featuring harps, accordions, pipes and fiddles. Each afternoon hundreds of performers take part in folk and traditional music concerts and dance displays. Every evening there are several big events taking place including rock concerts and the celebrated unmissable "Nuits Magiques", a spectacular display of pipe bands, dancers and fireworks, The last night of the festival named "Nuit de Port de Pêche", is held at the fishing harbour, and features the very best of Brittany's folk and rock bands. In many of the city's bars and pubs you will find musicians giving free performances.
Another "Celtic" festival of sorts is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.Held between 6th and 28th August this year. This 90 minute daily event is set against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, and will feature International performers both military and civilian. You will see Military bands, steel bands, cavalry displays, motor cycle teams, Pipe bands, marching bands, Police dog events, Zulu dancers and more.2010 is the Diamond Jubilee, and performances will be held Monday to Friday at 9pm, Saturday at 7.30pm and 10pm. (no performance on Sundays) Tickets range in price from £16 - £53, and can be bought online from www.edintattoo.co.uk
The Notting Hill Carnival
This annual event has taken place each year since 1966 on the streets of Notting Hill in London.This year the famous Notting Hill Carnival will be held on the Sunday 29th and Monday 30th August from 9am to sunset as usual.
Members of the Trinidad and Tobago population lead this spectacular Caribbean celebration of London's multi-cultural diversity, in the tradition of Rio.
Last year the attendance was720,000.Pictures speak louder than words so take a look at these fabulous costumes.
September festivals and other events
The first event in September is the Famous Grande Braderie (Street Market) held in Lille, France on the 4th and 5th September, dates back to medieval times On an area of more than 100 sq kms. with more than 1,000 stalls, this is the biggest Flea Market (street market) in Europe. The great thing is that it's open for 23 consecutive hours. There are lots of bargains to be had, and don't be afraid to do a bit of haggling. The street musicians will entertain you as you seek out those bargains. As is the custom in Northern France there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the famous Moules et les frites, (Mussels and chips to us). The restaurants actually compete with each other to see who can rack up the largest amount of empty shells. You will see these black shells in piles on the pavements!
My top tip is; park outside the city and take the Metro into the centre.
The GoldWing Light Parade, also known as "Pose on the Prom", the brightest and best GoldWing event. This annual event takes part in Blackpool, England on 3rd to 6th September, to coincide with the "switch-on" of the Lights, as the Blackpool Illuminations are affectionately called.On Saturday 4th September between 8pm and 9pm, a parade takes place along the Promenade through the illuminations, of brightly decorated and illuminated GoldWings, watched by thousands of cheering spectators. There is nothing else like it in the world. There is also a large display of GoldWings parked on the promenade during Saturday afternoon, and skilled riding demonstrations will take place. There are usually kids events too. All GoldWing bikes and trikes can participate, no need to be a club member. See my hub Best Winter Festivals in Europe 2010 for the Blackpool illuminations info.
The next event is the most famous gathering of The Highland games at Braemar, Scotland, on the 4th September. You can enjoy the stirring music of the pipe bands, piping and dance competitions, caber tossing and other "heavy" events, like tug-o-war, and hammer throwing. The origin of the games dates back 300 years to the Scottish Clan system. The Clan chief would encourage his men to compete with strength, skill and endurance to prove themselves skilled in battle.There are quite a few Highland Games held each year in Scotland, Braemar is the most famous of these.
Now it's off to Venice's Grand Canal, Italy, on the 5th September for the famous Regatta Storica. There is a series of spectacular Gondola races. The day starts with a parade of 16th century-style Gondolas, with the participants dressed in colorful period costumes. Next there are 4 races, one each for men, women,youngsters, and finally the expert gondoliers. After the winners are crownd near midnight, the firework display set to music is set off from pontoons.
Next it's over to Germany for the world biggest annual European Balloon festival, Warsteiner International Montgolfiade, that takes place on from the 4th to 13th September in Am Hillenberg, Warstein, Germany, which becomes a Mecca for balloonists, attracting over 250 teams. It's been an annual event since it's launch in 1986, and now draws more than 200,000 spectators.to this hometown of Premium Beer. There are 2 firework displays and 5 night-glows. The night flights start at 4.30am and the day flights start at 6.30am to 17.30pm
Medieval Fair / Old Vehicles / Okoberfest
Experience the Middle Ages in the Medieval fair in Bouliac, Bordeaux, France on the 11th and 12th September. During the two day fair you can see jugglers, acrobats, stilt-walkers, falconers, knights and medieval games and merchants selling their wares. The Friday evening banquet and medieval spectacle will take place on Saturday 11th September from 11 am to Midnight, and on the Sunday from 11am to 7pm. The entry fee is just €5.
There will be an exhibition of old modes of transport at Ivry-la-Bataille, France (80 kms from Paris) on 25th and 26th September.. All types of old vehicles will be on display, old cars, lorries, motorcycles,tractors and military.
The last of the September festivals is the world famous Oktoberfest,Munich, Germany. This year the 177th Oktoberfest will open on 18th September and finish on 3rd October. This festival was started in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Bavarian Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese, and the citizens of Munich were invited to join in the 5 day celebrations. Between the many events the guests can strole through the beer tents, ride the Ferris Wheel or Water Slide,even visit a haunted house, or see a Flea Circus. Perhaps it's a good idea to take the Festival Tour. The Oktoberfest beer is a variety called Marzen, which is darker and stronger than regular beer, at 6% alcohol. The food on offer varies from spit roasted chicken, duck and goose, to roast pork and roast ox tails, even vegetarians are catered for here, and for the sweet tooth you will find a wealth of goodies here. Oktoberfest is well known not just for it's beer, but for it's music also. Folk music, marches.polkas that make up it's oompah sound.a good time is sure to be had, Cheers!
Look out for the last hub on European Festivals from October to December .. coming soon
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