Festivals and Why You Should Go

Every year between the 11th and 28th of March, Glasgow hosts the Magners International Comedy Festival. This year looks to be even better than the last with comedians such as Tommy Tiernan, Jim Jeffries, Dave Gorman, Jimmy Carr, and Frankie Boyle attending amongst others. In past years I’ve either been travelling or poor, so I’m pleased to say that I’m going to be seeing a few gigs this year!

I’m lucky in that I grew up close to Edinburgh where hundreds of international acts come every year for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I only ever really go to see the comedy acts, so it’s good to have another great Festival located so close that is dedicated purely to this. I’ll be interested to see how the atmosphere compares with Edinburgh. The acts are definitely of a similar quality and I will be writing a review on the festival as a whole in the coming weeks. In the mean time though, if you are interested in attending or passing through Glasgow at that time, then I’d advise you to book your tickets now as many have already sold out.

Festivals in my opinion are a great excuse to travel. Whether they are comedy festivals, music festivals, or more of a mixed bag, you just can’t beat the atmosphere they present. Even if you have no money, in most city based events like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Melbourne, or Montréal, there are normally some free shows or street performers that you can go see. I sometimes just like going for a walk and soaking up the atmosphere, and chatting to the many revellers.

With music festivals you usually do need to fork out a bit of cash for tickets, at least in Europe anyway. I recently bought tickets to Scotland’s largest music festival T in the Park, which is being headlined by Muse, Kasabian, and Eminem. Two tickets cost me £364 in total which is quite extortionate in my opinion, but I have several friends going and this is one of the few festivals I have not been to yet in the UK. Other Scottish music festivals such as Rockness and The Wickerman Festival are much cheaper but still good quality bands, with the Wickerman focusing more on alternative and independent bands also.

The UK has some great music festivals if you are willing to put up the cash for tickets. Glastonbury is definitely in contention for one of the worlds greatest. The Download festival in Donington offers something for those more into heavy rock and metal, and the V Festival, Reading, and Leeds are also quite popular. Further afield in Denmark, the Roskilde Festival is one of the 5 largest music festivals in Europe. Even better though is that it is run buy the Roskilde Foundation which has run the festival as a non-profit organisation for development and support of music, and culture since 1972.

Aside from all the major festivals in Europe, I have had many great experiences at several local folk festivals which are always popping up particularly in smaller towns throughout the UK. The Pilar Festival that I experienced in Zaragoza was also a highlight and although I am not religious, was an interesting and entertaining event.

My advice to anyone who hasn’t experienced much in way of a festival spirit would be to seek them out. Big or small, you can’t beat the atmosphere of people coming together, singing, dancing, partying, or even just experiencing the talent of a local or international act.

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