Editions
Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charrería
End August, 2018 – Early September, 2018 (TBA)
Guadalajara, Mexico
Every August, Mariachis from all over the world gather in Guadalajara to celebrate Mexican folk music and culture. The spectacular 10-day event will feature a colourful opening parade, free musical concerts, theatre shows, street performances, Mariachi-inspired art shows, traditional dances, tequila tastings, galas and a Mariachi competition.
mariachi-jalisco.com.mx
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O-Bon Lantern Festival
12-15 August, 2018 (TBC)
Across Japan
Celebrated nationwide, O-Bon is a much-revered religious festival honouring the dead. Witness Awa Odori dances, as well as candle-lighting and fire ceremonies marking the departure of spirits on the last night. Dates of celebration vary by region.
jnto.go.jp
[Photo: © Tokushima Prefecture/©JNTO]
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Mount Hagen Cultural Show
17-19 August, 2018
Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea
First staged pre-independence as an attempt to unify local tribes, this festival is a celebration of local culture. Admire local arts and crafts, and see elaborately costumed singsing groups congregate to showcase their customs with traditional dancing, singing and kundu drum-beating. Mix, mingle and make merry.
papuanewguinea.travel
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Summer Sonic
17-19 August, 2018
Tokyo & Osaka, Japan
Japanese rock bands and international artists take over two cities for three days of music, dancing and partying. Here, style matters – so up the ante with wacky head gear, chaco-riisu, funky sunglasses, body paint and gig towels. Last year’s edition featured performances by the Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, Rick Astley and Good Charlotte, among others.
summersonic.com
[Photo: K嘛 /Flickr]
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Helsinki Festival
17 August – 2 September, 2018
Helsinki, Finland
Held annually during late summer, Finland’s biggest cultural festival is a treat for lovers of all kinds of arts, showcasing dance, theatre, circus, visual arts, poetry recitals, classical and world music, as well as children’s events at several venues across the city – attracting more than 200,000 visitors each year.
helsinginjuhlaviikot.fi
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Festival of Folk Arts
17-20 August, 2018 
Budapest, Hungary
Mesterségek Ünnepe, held annually in Buda Castle, gathers artisans from all over Hungary – as well as from seven guest countries including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Algeria – to showcase traditional handicrafts from egg painting to wood carving. Enjoy live folk music and traditional dances, interact with carpet weavers, mammoth bone carvers, fish skin sewers and bow makers, buy handcrafted products and learn folk crafts. This year’s theme is embroidery, and the guest of honour is Mongolia.
mestersegekunnepe.hu
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Britney Spears ‘Piece of Me’ Tour
18-24 August, 2018
Manchester, Glasgow, London, UK
Watch global pop star and multi-platinum artist Britney Spears do it again on her ‘Piece of Me’ world tour, as she entertains UK fans with her greatest hits. Pay using your Amex card to get access to hot tickets and backstage tours, with VIP packages reserved especially for card members. Terms and conditions apply.
americanexpress.com
[Photo: Jennifer/Flickr]
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Culture Night
18 August, 2018
Reykjavik, Iceland
From streets to gardens and museums, this free event is celebrated across Reykjavik, marking the beginning of the city’s annual cultural celebrations and bearing testimony to traditional Icelandic hospitality. What to expect: Kids’ events, music, literature, design, stage and visual arts. As they say in Reykjavik ‘Come On In’.
culturenight.is
[Photo: Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson Courtesy VISIT REYKJAVÍK]
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Singapore Night Festival
18-26 August, 2018 (TBC)
Singapore
Here’s your chance to see Singapore in a different light: after dusk for two weekends, interactive light installations transform the façades of the city’s landmarks in the Bras Basah/Bugis area into a magical wonderland. There’ll be late-night events at museums and other venues, plus street music, art performances and acrobatics by international and local artists.
nightfestival.sg/
[Photo: National Heritage Board, Singapore]
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Tango BA Festival y Mundial
10-22 August, 2018 (TBC)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The world’s premiere tango festival presents recitals, tango competitions, live tango orchestras, workshops, tango-themed films, art exhibitions, a product fair, children’s shows, fiestas and milongas in venues all across the Argentinian capital. Don’t miss the emotionally charged grand battle for world title at Luna Park.
festivales.buenosaires.gob.ar
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Montreal World Film Festival
23 August – 3 September, 2018
Montreal, Canada
There will be world premieres, global documentaries, film screenings, a high-profile international competition, Francophone Cinema, a Chinese Film Festival, cinema under the stars and celebs galore at this annual competitive film festival. If you’re part of the festival-going public, you can also vote for your favourites in various categories.
ffm-montreal.org
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Dirty Dancing Festival
24-25 August, 2018 
Lake Lure, North Carolina, USA
There’s no better way for fans of the cult classic film to have ‘the time of their lives’ than to head to beautiful Lake Lure, catch a screening of the movie, take movie-inspired dance lessons on location, watch performances, participate in watermelon-carrying games and the Lake Lift competition – not to mention enjoy the food, beer and wine garden, browse arts and crafts, and get nostalgic! Part of the ticket sales will go towards the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN).
dirtydancingfestival.com
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Anim!Arte Festival
24-26 August, 2018
São Luís, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Showcasing a variety of international short animated films by students from all over the world, the festival is an attempt to encourage innovation in animation among the younger generation. Besides competitive film screenings, festival-goers can attend talks with animation pros, workshops and expos.
vouanimarte.com.br
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The Big Feastival
24-26 August, 2018
Kingham, UK
With three days of delicious feasts and banquets, finger-lickin’ good meals, street food, table sessions, food talks, cookery schools, top chefs at The Big Kitchen, a vintage fun fair, a chance to meet your favourite farm animals, boutique shopping, boutique bars, kid’s activities, music concerts and lots more in a rustic farm setting – this feel-good fest of food and music promises visitors a swell time.
uk.thebigfeastival.com
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Audi quattro Wintergames
25 August – 8 September, 2018 
Queenstown & Wanaka, New Zealand
Looking for an adrenalin rush? Check out New Zealand’s largest sporting event featuring alpine, cross-country and free-style skiing, curling and snowboarding by Winter Olympic, Paralympic and X Games stars. For festival-goers, there’s live music, film screenings, daily entertainment, after-parties, concerts and glittering opening/closing night events.
wintergamesnz.kiwi
[Photo: Winter Games NZ Via Facebook] 
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Glyndebourne Festival
19 May – 26 August, 2018
Lewes, England
Legions of opera fans stream to Glyndebourne every summer, eager to take in old classics and new favourites. This means that, in addition to Richard Strauss’ masterpiece Der Rosenkavalier, there is also Stefan Herheim’s production of Debussy’s only finished opera project, Pelléas et Mélisande.
glyndebourne.com
[Photo: Bill Cooper]
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Full Moon Party
26 August, 2018
Koh Phangan, Thailand
Dance the night away as the Full Moon casts its spell on Haad Rin beach and transforms the place into a full-on party zone, with MCs belting out all kinds of dance music while fire-eaters and jugglers entertain audiences. This is a monthly affair that kicks off at moon rise and takes place on every Full Moon Night, so you can always come back for more all year round.
fullmoonparty-thailand.com
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World Bog Snorkelling Championships
26 August, 2018 
Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, UK
No white sandy beaches and beautiful reefs here, just a 60-yard-long murky trench cut through a weed-infested bog. Participants will need to swim up and down the trench wearing a wet suit, flippers, snorkel and goggles – or fancy dress if they choose. The good part: you don’t need any prior experience or special skills to take part, just a fun-loving spirit. Spectators can enjoy food and drink, a bouncy castle and live music.
green-events.co.uk
[Photo © Crown copyright (2018) Visit Wales]
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe
3-27 August, 2018
Edinburgh, Scotland
53,000 performances. 3,398 shows. 300 venues. At the world’s largest festival of arts, you’ll find creative entertainment of every form including ballet, theatre, dance, opera, comedy, circus, cabaret, kids’ shows, street performances, opera, exhibitions and musicals from emerging and established artists, plus more.
edfringe.com
[Photographer: David Monteith Hodge © Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society]
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Edinburgh International Book Festival
11-27 August, 2018
Edinburgh, Scotland
This mega 17-day-long event showcasing more than 1,000 authors – including novelists, poets, scientists, illustrators, economists, comic makers, historians, musicians, Nobel laureates and Booker winners – features daily book readings and signings, literary workshops and activities for kids.  Not all events are free, but many are. And the best part: it caters to all ages and interest groups.
edbookfest.co.uk
[Photographer: Robin Mair  © Photographer, Edinburgh International Book Festival]
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La Tomatina
29 August, 2018
Buñol, Spain
The world-famous, hour-long food fight that takes place on the last Wednesday of August in a small village near Valencia is sheer excitement from the word ‘go’. Arm yourself with overripe tomatoes as trucks spill supplies into the fight area starting at 11 am, then squash and hurl them at opponents, and swim and slide in the pulp. Wear old clothes. Play by the rules. Goggles recommended.
tomatofestivalspain.com
[Photo: Luís Miguel Braga/Flickr] 
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Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival
30 August – 1 September, 2018 
Piscadera Bay, Curaçao
Enjoy jazz, soul, R&B, hip-hop and Latin sounds with Caribbean flavour, as the North Sea Jazz Festival opens for the 8th time at the World Trade Centre. Headliners for the summer edition include Jason Derulo, Carlos Vives, Sean Paul, Spyro Gyra, the Michel Camilo Trio and Silvestre Dangond (on opening night)
curacaonorthseajazz.com
[Photo: Andreas Terlaak Photography/Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival Via Facebook]
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Birdsville Races
31 August – 1 September, 2018
Birdsville, Australia
Each year, horse racing enthusiasts head to the outback for a fun-filled weekend featuring top-notch thoroughbred races in the red Simpson desert, plus film screenings, fashion contests, live local Australian music, comedy nights, a fun run, cocktail parties, gourmet food and old-fashioned fisticuffs in a Brophy troupe tent.
birdsvilleraces.com
[Photo © Salty Dingo 2017]
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Bali Kites Festival
July – August, 2018 (TBA)
Bali, Indonesia
Every year, the start of the windy season sees the skies of Bali transform into a colourful wonderland filled with painstakingly crafted kites of all shapes and sizes, from traditional to modern, ribbon-tailed and 3D designs of Hindu deities –some even fitted with wind instruments. The main event takes place at Padang Galak beach in Denpasar, where local kite teams and international participants compete in various categories and vie for titles like best design, best launch and longest flight.
[Photo: afriadi alamsyah/Flickr]
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Aarhus Festival
31 August – 9 September, 2018
Aarhus, Denmark
Patronised and inaugurated by HM Queen Margrethe II, the festival transforms the city of Aarhus into an arts and entertainment hub with streets, alleys, museums, galleries and theatres buzzing with activities, from music to architecture and dance to gastronomy. Enjoy delectable Scandinavian fare at the Food Festival by the seaside – a prestigious event that takes place during the festival.
aarhusfestuge.dk
[Photo: Martin Dam Kristensen]
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Chicago Jazz Festival
31 August – 2 September, 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Held annually since 1979 during the week before Labour Day, this free event first launches at the Cultural Center and then moves on to Millennium Park, featuring live jazz music by local talents as well as big names on the national and international jazz circuit across multiple stages. Last year’s highlights included performances by Jason Moran, John Faddis, Ella Fitzgerald, Slavic Soul Party and The Rebirth Brass Band. Listen, dance, lie on the grass, have a picnic and enjoy!
jazzinchicago.org
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Aloha Festivals
1, 15, 22, 29 September, 2018
Hawaii, USA
Celebrating the islands’ traditions and pastimes, Hawaii’s most-loved cultural festival features hula schools, chants, pageantry, Hawaiian music and crafts, island cuisine, a block party and a colourful floral procession on closing day. And best of all: it’s free for all.
alohafestivals.com
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Festival Ciudad Emergente
September, 2018 (Exact Dates TBA)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
What started out in 2008 as a festival to promote youth culture has now become one of the most anticipated free events for all ages in this cosmopolitan capital. Discover live underground music from alternative rock to electro, along with street art, dance, photography, film, poetry, fashion and comedy.
turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar
[Photo: BoNoNoBo/Flickr]    
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The Braemar Gathering
1 September, 2018 
Braemar, Scotland
Presenting one of the most popular Highland Games in the world at The Princess Royal And Duke of Fife Memorial Park, where you can enjoy heavyweight and light field sports as well as Highland dances, pipe bands, solo piping and Celtic singing in equal measure. Look out for the special attractions this year – the Canadian massed pipes and drums, and the Royal Airforce centenary celebrations.
braemargathering.org
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World Nomad Games
2-8 September, 2018
Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan
36 varieties of sport and 3,000 athletes from over 40 countries – that’s how popular this nomadic athletic competition has become ever since its inception in 2014. No Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt here, but there’s plenty of really cool, offbeat action on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul aimed at preserving and reviving the cultural heritage of nomadic peoples – think eagle hunting, stick wrestling, goat-carcass polo, bone throwing and of course, the not-to-be-missed kok-boru. We’re told it’s going to be a full house.
worldnomadgames.com
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London Design Biennale
4-23 September, 2018
London, England
Think about critical issues concerning the future of our planet and its people – such as sustainability, migration, pollution and social equality – while admiring and appreciating art installations, inventions, artworks and creative solutions that explore how design affects our lifestyles, emotions and experiences. The second edition of this prestigious event at Somerset House will see participation from 40 countries, and all presented works will be inspired by the theme “Emotional States”.
londondesignbiennale.com
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Outlook Festival
5-9 September, 2018
Pula, Croatia
Expect to be wowed by both the surrounds and the music: the abandoned fort Punta Christo on the Adriatic Coast and the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre where the opening ceremony will be held make for spell-binding venues, and you can enjoy everything from music to beach parties and boat parties. As far as the line-up goes, the first names are already out and include Bonobo (Live), Wiley, David Rodigan & The Outlook Orchestra, Children of Zeus and more.
outlookfestival.com
[Photo: Samuel Kirby]  
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Feria de Cascamorras
6 September, 2018
Baza & Guadix, Spain
What began as a dispute over the statue of the Virgen de la Piedad between neighbouring towns Baza and Guadix is now a fun and messy chase that recreates the original scuffle, involving paint, tar, grease, oil and eggs. Watch locals smear themselves with oil and then chase ‘Cascamorras’ in an attempt to prevent him from stealing the statue of the Virgin Mary – it’s all in good spirit.
[Photo: Fermín R.F/Flickr]
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Nyege Nyege Festival
6-9 September, 2018
Njeru, Uganda
Inspired by the World Festival of Black Arts, Nyege Nyege showcases the best of contemporary African music. Travel the extra mile for the sheer range, depth and diversity of music, the mouth-watering afro-fusion cuisine and the lush tropical setting. Last year’s edition featured more than 100 acts across 4 stages and attracted more than 5,000 visitors. Highlights included performances by Reniss from Cameroon, Otim Alpha and Leo Palayeng from Uganda and locals Jackie Ekello, Esi and more.
facebook.com
[Photo: Ian Duncan Kacungira]
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The Grand Sumo Tournament
9-23 September, 2018
Tokyo, Japan
Spectate a morning-to-evening professional marathon sumo tournament lasting 15 days in the Ryōgoku Kokugikan (aka Ryōgoku Sumo Hall). Each day begins with low-ranked wrestlers progressing to star performers as the evening rolls on.
sumo.or.jp
[Photo: Kevin/Flickr]
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Ganesh Chaturthi
13-23 September, 2018
Mumbai, India
Discover pujas, processions, fireworks, music and dances galore at this lively 11-day religious festival celebrating the birth of the Hindu Elephant God, Ganesha. Visit Mumbai’s most famous Lalbaug cha Raja, King Circle’s GSB Mandal and Parel cha Raja pandals to see elaborately crafted idols, witness ceremonies and seek blessings. At the end of the festival, the idols are paraded through streets amid much fanfare, and later immersed in bodies of water including nearby lakes and the ocean.
maharashtratourism.gov.in
[Photo: Travelling Slacker/Flickr]
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The Goroka Show
14-16 September, 2018 
Goroka, Papua New Guinea
Originally introduced by the Australian Kiaps in 1957 as a form of cultural entertainment, the festival has now become a major tourist pleaser and takes place during the Independence Day celebrations, showcasing traditional songs, dances and ritual performances by tribal singsing groups.
gorokaevents.com
[Photo: Moss/Flickr]
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Oasis
14-16 September, 2018 
Marrakech, Morocco
Luxury and music festivals rarely mix, but they do at Oasis, held in a stunning resort amidst the Atlas Mountains. Go for the line-up (the first announcements include Derrick Carter, The Black Madonna, Avalon Emerson and Paula Temple, among others), as well as the yoga workshops, hookah lounges, mouth-watering food from Marrakech’s best restaurants, Champagne and cocktail bars, palatial spas – or to simply chill.
theoasisfest.com
[Photo by ALEC DONNELL LUNA of DED AGENCY]
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Europe “Tour The Earth 2018”
14-22 September, 2018
Various locations, UK
Prepare for a memorable evening of contemporary rock: beloved Swedish band Europe will be performing some of their greatest hits as well as feature songs from their new studio album Walk The Earth at select venues across the UK, including Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow and St. David’s Hall in Cardiff. As an Amex card member, you’ll enjoy a selection of specially reserved tickets for the shows. Conditions apply.
americanexpress.com
[Photo: Aphasia83/Wikimedia Commons]
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2018 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix
14-16 September, 2018
Singapore
One of the largest sporting and entertainment events in Asia, and a regular feature on the F1 calendar, the Singapore Grand Prix returns to the stunning Marina Bay Street Circuit this month. On top of the main nightly races – the heart of all the action – attendees can look forward to plenty of off-circuit entertainment in the form of live music concerts by big artists (previous years have included the likes of Arianna Grande, Seal, Duran Duran, Kylie Minogue, Bon Jovi and Maroon 5) and happening after-parties.
singaporegp.sg
[Photo: Robert Nightingale/Flickr]
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Floriade
15 September – 14 October, 2018 
Canberra, Australia
Prepare for a visual and olfactory assault of the heavenly kind, as Australia’s iconic flower show takes over the capital for a month. What to expect? Floral showcases, picturesque morning walks, horticulture talks, arts and crafts, live music, sculptures, guided tours, markets and a not-to-miss Night Fest.
floriadeaustralia.com
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Niagara Grape And Wine Festival
15-30 September, 2018 (weekends only)
St. Catharines, Canada
This festival at St Catharine’s Montebello Park is where you should be if you’re looking to spend a weekend or two sampling wines and culinary treats, participating in wine seminars and winery tours, watching live music concerts, taking part in an invitational annual grape stomp and catching a grand street parade brimming with floats, marching bands and performances.
niagarawinefestival.com
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London Design Festival
15-23 September, 2018 
London, England
Design aficionados dream of September in London, when the city becomes a hub for creativity and innovation showcasing fascinating art installations, pop-ups, exhibits and products in different domains by established as well as emerging designers. Last year’s edition was one of the biggest to date, attracting 450,000 visitors from more than 75 countries.
londondesignfestival.com
[Image: Villa Walala by Camille Walala. Photo: Andy Stagg]
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Beirut Art Fair
20-23 September, 2018
Beirut, Lebanon
Spot hidden talent, discover unsung artists and explore new trends in modern and contemporary art from the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia at this exclusive four-day event at the Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Center (BIEL). 2017’s edition showcased work from 51 galleries and 23 countries. The upcoming edition will feature a focus exhibition on Lebanese photography, a section titled “Revealing”, in addition to photography awards and a VIP program on Lebanese private collections.
beirut-art-fair.com
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Les Festes de la Mercè
21-24 September, 2018
Barcelona, Spain
There’s so much to see and do at this mega-festival honouring the patron saint of the city – parades, street theatre, concerts, dance, circus acts, kids activities, fireworks, folk dances and pyrotechnics, to name a few among the 600+ scheduled free events.
lameva.barcelona.cat
[Photo: pere prlpz/Wikimedia Commons]
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Life Is Beautiful
21-23 September, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Show some love and spread joy among fellow festivalgoers, for here’s a movement to make life beautiful by way of exceptional music, inspirational talks, top-notch food, pop-ups by Michelin-star chefs, craft cocktails, Instagram-worthy art and do-good acts. 2017’s edition featured performances by Bonobo, Vince, Tchami and Kaskade, among others.
lifeisbeautiful.com
[Photo: Michael Montoya]
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PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai
21-23 September, 2018
Shanghai, China
This highly-curated, cutting-edge boutique fair for collectable fine art photography and moving image returns for the fifth time this September, welcoming collectors and art enthusiasts alike. Last year’s edition was attended by 30,000 visitors and showcased works from 50 galleries in 16 countries and 28 cities across the globe.
photofairs.org
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World Maker Faire New York
22-23 September, 2018
NYC,  New York, USA
Craft enthusiast, tech whiz, hobbyist, tinkerer or student: here’s your chance to join the maker movement and create, meet other makers, inspire and get inspired at “the greatest show and tell” in the world. There’ll be talks, presentations, demos and lots of curiosity and invention fostering activities for all ages. More than 750 makers showcased their projects to more than 90,000 making enthusiasts from all over the world in the 2017 edition.
makerfaire.com
[Photo: Becca Henry Photography/Flickr]
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Shania Twain Now Tour
22 September – 3 October, 2018
Various locations, UK
Calling all Shania Twain fans: The top-selling country music songstress will be wooing UK audiences for the first time in 13 years at the Manchester Arena, Arena Birmingham and The O2 Arena as part of her NOW 2018 tour. American Express card members can enjoy a selection of the best tickets for the show – click the “Reserved Tickets” tab at the time of purchase, then sing along and shake a leg – life’s about to get good!
americanexpress.com
[Photo: alien_artifact/Flickr]
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BALINALE International Film Festival
24-30 September, 2018
Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Workshops, forums, seminars, shows with stars in attendance, and screenings spanning from mainstream to independent films – all make up the programme for this week-long fest celebrating Indonesian and world cinema. The theme for 2018 is “Timeless”, featuring fiction, documentaries, features and shorts that have “an extraordinary ability to communicate the largest human stories as well as the briefest moments of world-changing emotion.”
facebook.com
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Onam
24-25 August, 2018
Kerala, India
Marking the homecoming of mythical King Mahabali, Kerala’s harvest festival is celebrated by offering prayers to the gods, visiting temples, lighting brass lamps, laying colourful ‘Pookalams’ outside doorways, folk dancing, feasting on elaborate ‘Onasadyas’ at home and ‘Vallamkali’ in the backwaters.
[Photo: Renju George/Flickr]
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POP Montreal International Music Festival
26-30 September, 2018 
Montréal, Canada
Over 50 venues. More than 450 bands. 50,000 plus visitors. This year marks the 17th anniversary of POPl and will feature live musical performances across all genres, plus art exhibitions, symposiums, fashion shows, film screenings and all-night parties, too. In the 2017 edition, Royal Trux, Swet Shop Boys and Lady Miss Kier were among the star performers who wooed audiences.
popmontreal.com
[Photo: Flickr
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Galway International Oyster And Seafood Festival
28-30 September, 2018
Galway, Ireland
Welcome to Europe’s longest-running gourmet extravaganza celebrating the annual oyster harvest in Galway – treat your taste buds to juicy bivalves and seafood delicacies, compete in the World Oyster Opening and Shucking Championships, participate in cooking demos, watch musical performances and party the night away in the Masquerade Mardi Gras.
galwayoysterfest.com
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Hermanus Whale Festival
28-30 September, 2018 
Hermanus, South Africa
Come September, marine enthusiasts flock to Hermanus to celebrate the migration of Southern Right Whales with a unique eco-marine fest, in which the giant mammals are the star attraction. There’s enough going on to keep visitors entertained, including whale watching, ocean-themed exhibitions, arts and crafts, sports, live music, a street parade, produce markets and foodie fun.
hermanuswhalefestival.co.za
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Ghadames International Festival
Mid October, 2018 (TBA)
Ghadames, Libya
You’ll get a firsthand taste of local Berber and Tuareg culture at this 3-day festival celebrating the date harvest. Enjoy music, feasts, traditional ceremonies and costumes, dancing in the dunes and, of course, plenty of lip-smacking date-based delicacies.
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London Restaurant Festival
1-31 October, 2018 
London, England
Whether serious gastronome or casual foodie, here’s your chance to go on restaurant hopping tours, partake in chef-hosted lunches and enjoy Michelin-starred and family-friendly festival menus at some of the capital’s best restaurants. Past festivals have included some of the world’s finest culinary talent including Michael Roux, Yotam Ottolenghi and Nuno Mendes.
londonrestaurantfestival.com
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Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP) Festival
1-31 October, 2018 
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
This month-long festival is the destination for all things photography: photo installations, expert-led talks, a photography auction and gala, film series, photobook fair and pop-up photo galleries to cultivate photographic arts in the community. 2018 marks the fair’s 20th anniversary: look forward to free events and exhibitions at more than 100 venues in Atlanta.
acpinfo.org
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Be Pure Live Well Festival
October, 2018 (Exact Dates TBA)
Auckland, New Zealand
Not just for health nuts, but also for all who want a clean and healthy life going forward, this is an immersive festival bursting with fitness boot camps, yoga/Pilates sessions, mood/meditation classes, nutritious cooking demos, wellness discourses for all ages and a buzzing marketplace full of healthy products.
livewellfestival.co.nz
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London Cocktail Week
1-7 October, 2018
London, England
Oh come all ye tasteful! Raise your glasses as the capital celebrates the drink – as well as the creatives behind – it for seven days in October. Festivalgoers can enjoy mixed drinks in 300 of the city’s best bars, as well as participate in masterclasses, guided tastings, supper clubs, meet-the-maker sessions, pop-ups and parties all around London.
drinkup.london
[Photo: DrinkUp.London]
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Level 42 Eternity Tour
2-25 October, 2018
Various Locations, UK
If you missed their sold-out shows in the UK and Europe last year, here’s a chance to catch the ’80s band with mega hits “Lessons in Love”, “Something About You”, “Running In The Family” and “It’s Over” – Level 42 on their Eternity Tour, either in Glasgow, Birmingham, London… or anywhere near you. Amex card members enjoy special privileges. More details on the website.
americanexpress.com
[Photo: Andrew Hurley/Flickr]
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Festival du Nouveau Cinéma
3-14 October, 2018
Montréal, Canada
A cut above the rest, and showcasing all kinds of cinema from offbeat to major works, this film festival has been credited with launching big-name careers as well as maintaining its rigorous standards over time. In the 47th edition, expect immersive VR experiences, as well as 360° installations, performances, live cinema, creative discussions and networking opportunities with artists and professionals, and more.
nouveaucinema.ca
[Photo: Festival du Nouveau Cinéma – FNC Via Facebook]
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Melbourne Arts Festival
3-21 October, 2018
Melbourne, Australia
One of the leading arts festivals Down Under that’s accessible to all, the arts fest is a treat for visual and performing arts aficionados, featuring mostly free events combining music, dance, circus, theatre and art showcases at various venues throughout the city.
festival.melbourne
[Photo: James Henry]
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Frieze London
4-7 October, 2018
The Regent’s Park, London, England
Discover the works of the world’s most prominent artists from more than 160 leading galleries, and be sure to catch the critically acclaimed Frieze projects and talks, music and films – all here at one of the most popular and influential fairs of modern and contemporary art on the planet.
frieze.com
[Photo by Mark Blower Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze]
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Mondial De L’Auto
4-14 October, 2018
Paris, France
Attracting millions of visitors from more than 100 countries, the Paris Motor Show is where you should go if you want to ogle next gen vehicles, famous brands, city cars, electric vehicles, sporty automobiles and other rare or unique models The venue for the event is the Exhibition Park at Porte de Versailles, where car fans can also visit a historic exhibition.
mondial-paris.com
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Austin City Limits Music Festival
5-7, 12-14 October, 2018 
Austin, Texas, USA
Inspired by a similarly named concert series, this two-weekend fest pairs impressive music acts with an arts market, sumptuous food and drink and kid-friendly fun. 2017’s headliners included Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance The Rappers, Bonobo and Solange among others.
aclfestival.com
[Photo: Sydney Gawlik]
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Festival Of Lights
5-14 October, 2018
Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s iconic landmarks will come alive for the fourteenth time, as light artists from all over come together to transform the city into a glowing wonderland filled with light art and installations. Expect spectacular displays, breathtaking animations, 3D-mapping on building facades and more. Best way to explore: Take a running/walking/carriage lightseeing tour.
festival-of-lights.de
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Rocking The Daisies
5-7 October, 2018
Darling, South Africa
This is an extremely popular, eco-friendly festival centred on indie and electronic music with a dynamic line-up of musical acts, comedy, film, art and multi-sensory experiences. Go there for the cosy camaraderie and top-class entertainment and build memories to last a lifetime. New in the 13th edition: A women’s-only campsite and an upper cap of 15000 attendees but featuring more international artistes than before.
rockingthedaisies.com
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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
5-7 October, 2018
San Francisco, California, USA
If you’re going to be in the Bay Area in sunny October, make sure you don’t miss this 3-day gathering at Golden Gate Park, where you can lay out blankets and picnic chairs on grassy lawns, sit back and relax with chilled beer, listen to big-name bluegrass and country music bands perform live, and nourish your soul. It’s a fully free event, thanks to the philanthropic efforts of late billionaire and festival founder Warren Hellman.
hardlystrictlybluegrass.com
[Photo: Tom Hilton/Flickr]
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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
6-14 October, 2018
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Not many festivals can be enjoyed lying down, staring towards the skies – but this one can. Wake up early, head to the 360-acre Balloon Fiesta Park – the scene of all the action – and watch a sea of hot air balloons rise up against the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Don’t miss the Dawn Patrols, balloon competitions, laser light shows, AfterGlow fireworks and Mass Ascensions.
balloonfiesta.com
[Photo: veesees/Flickr]
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Fiera Internazionale Tartufo Bianco D’Alba
6 October – 25 November, 2018
Alba, Italy
Truffle connoisseurs, take heed: For eight weekends in autumn, the Italian truffle mecca will be overflowing with the prized white fungus and prestigious truffle events focussing on design, art, culture and gastronomy. Go truffle hunting with locals, and watch medieval parades. Enjoy the best truffles from Langhe, Roero and Monferrato at the World Market, and participate in prestigious cooking shows, debates, workshops and wine tastings – and don’t miss the donkey race. Kids can look forward to the wooden Restaurant and the children’s kitchen.
fieradeltartufo.org
[Photo: Alessandro Baffa/Flickr]
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MassKara Festival
8-28 October, 2018
Bacolod City, Philippines
“Smile through your tragedies” – that’s the message of this festival, held in “The City of Smiles” in the Philippines each October. Originally started in the ’80s to spread happiness during a period of gloom, today’s festivities are marked by residents wearing smiling masks and participating in parades, street dance competitions, beauty pageants, drumming contests and sporting events. There’s word that the 39th edition will be bigger and better than before, with many new activities and events. Stay tuned.
masskarafestivals.com 
[Photo: TanoyPhoto/Flickr]
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Frankfurt Book Fair
10-14 October, 2018
Frankfurt, Germany
For five days in October, professionals and bibliophiles descend in droves upon this 500-year-old fair to buy, sell and peruse books as well as participate in a variety of book activities, from talks to signings and readings. Georgia will be the Guest of Honour country at this year’s fair, so there’ll be plenty of Georgian creatives, authors and thinkers as well as publications, readings, discussions and exhibitions.
buchmesse.de
[Photo: Frankfurt Book Fair/Marc Jacquemin]
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Creativ Festival
11-13 October, 2018 
Toronto, Canada
Get your fill of sewing, quilting, beading, knitting, felting, crocheting, stitching, spinning, weaving and scrapbooking at the country’s largest consumer show. Whether beginner or pro, there’s sufficient opportunity to learn and grow. Look forward to workshops, seminars and opportunities for hands-on instruction, tips and techniques.
csnf.com
[Photo: Christine Urlas/Flickr] 
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Círio de Nazaré
14 October, 2018 
Belém, Brazil
Brazil’s largest religious and cultural festival attracts millions of pilgrims to join in a procession and ‘go on the rope’, pulling the statue of Our Lady of Nazareth to its final resting place in the Basilica amidst fireworks, singing and the sound of bells. Don’t miss the iconic Festa da Chiquita party on the eve.
ciriodenazare.com.br
[Photo: Jeso Carneiro/Flickr]
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Halifax Pop Explosion
17-20 October, 2018
Halifax, Canada
True to its name, this fest is an out-and-out blowout and will earn you brownie points for attendance. Discover new music talent, attend expert-led round table discussions, build ties with industry professionals, soak in some culture and enjoy some good independent music from different genres. Last year’s 25th anniversary performances featured Japandroids, Lido Pimienta, Charlotte Day Wilson, Cloud Nothings and more.
halifaxpopexplosion.com
[Photo: CHR!S SM!TH]]
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Amsterdam Dance Event
17-21 October, 2018
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Shake a leg, spot current music and dance trends, attend parties, panels and meetings, participate in debates and dialogues, and keep abreast of the latest developments in electro music and its sub-genres at the world’s biggest annual gathering of electro music artists, fans and industry reps. Previous line-ups have included Paul Van Dyk, Marcel Dettman, Robert Babicz and Jeremy ‘Underground Paris’.
amsterdam-dance-event.nl
[Photo: Mark Richter]
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Newkulele Festival
19-21 October, 2018
Newcastle, Australia
Tis’ the place to be for anyone with a passion for the uke! Festivalgoers can look forward to feature concerts, community performances and diverse workshops at a new venue: Newcastle City Hall. Previous editions have featured international artists such as James Hill and Anne Janelle (Canada), Nico’o and the Kapiolani boys (France), The Nukes (New Zealand), Peter Moss (England), Mark Nelson (USA) and Ukulollo (Italy).
newkulelefestival.com
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Jamaica Food And Drink Festival
20-28 October, 2018 
Kingston, Jamaica
Mouth-watering recipes from celebrity chefs, plus food truck parties, food booths, fine spirits and artisanal cocktails, pork delicacies, hearty seafood, urban crafts and kids activities – all highlight October’s Food and Drink festival in Kingston, and are the main reasons why the global crowds descend here.
jafoodanddrink.com
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Jidai Matsuri
22 October, 2018 
Kyoto, Japan
Consisting of a large costumed parade that moves from the Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace) to the Heian-jingu Shrine, the festival is quite literally a lesson in Japanese history, invoking ancient costumes and customs from various periods. Keep your camera ready – the event is a brilliant opportunity to see Kyoto’s traditional handicrafts from up close.
jnto.go.jp
[Photo: ©Kyoto Convention Bureau/© JNTO]
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John Fogerty and Steve Miller Band
25 October, 2018
Various Locations, UK
Blues fans: Don’t miss Grammy-winning Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John Fogerty, along with Steve Miller Band – 2 class acts on a single stage – at the opening night of the Bluesfest 2018 in the O2 Arena. Amex card members will enjoy exclusive access to the best show tickets reserved especially for them.
americanexpress.com
[Photo: Dena Flows/Flickr]
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Art Taipei
26-29 October, 2018
Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei’s leading, laid-back modern art fair returns for the 25th time, exhibiting diverse works from Asian and international artists in a wide array of mediums, including ink paintings, photography, multimedia installations, sculptures and oil paintings. Last year’s edition had 650,000 visitors in attendance and included 123 galleries.
art-taipei.com
[Photo: ART TAIPEI 台北國際藝術博覽會 Via Facebook]
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Morobe Show
27-28 October, 2018
Lae City, Papua New Guinea
At Lae City’s largest annual event for the culturally minded, watch motorcycle stunt shows, rodeo style events, traditional beauty pageants, livestock competitions and tribal Sing Sing groups in traditional costumes, alongside other agricultural, industrial and commercial show activities.
morobeshow.org.pg
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Polar Circle Marathon
27-28 October, 2018
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
The coolest and most challenging marathon on Earth – in the Arctic Tundra where the starting temps are -15°C, ice sheet running is mandatory, and frostbite is a reality. Runners will traverse glaciers, the silent Arctic desert and icy, rocky landscapes. Required: Layers of merino wool, spikes and a truckload of perseverance.
polar-circle-marathon.com
[Photo: Albatros Adventure Marathons]
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The Village Halloween Parade
31 October, 2018 
New York City, New York, USA
Put on your creative thinking hats, design your wildest costume, get into gear and join in the iconic parade overflowing with giant puppets, professional bands, dancers and artistes at the Big Apple’s largest public participatory affair. With a theme that goes ‘I AM a Robot’, the 45th edition will delve into the blurred lines between humans and robots.
halloween-nyc.com
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Día de los Muertos
31 October – 2 November, 2018 
Across Mexico
Not to be confused with Halloween, this is a religious and cultural celebration celebrating life and honouring the dead that takes place in many Latin American countries but more so in Mexico. Expect mock funeral processions, mariachi music, cemetery tours, costume parades, dancing, street art, and even all-night parties.
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Sharjah International Book Fair
1-11 November, 2018 
Sharjah, UAE
An eleven day celebration of books. 1.5 million titles. Over 2 million visitors. Expect to see and listen to distinguished authors and connect with readers from all over apart from browsing a large repository of titles from a variety of disciplines. There’ll be cultural activities, children’s events, specialized programs and a cookery corner to keep festival-goers entertained.
sibf.com
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SOFA
1-4 November, 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Held annually at the Navy Pier, the windy city’s popular and well-attended Sculptural Objects Functional Art + Design festival presents three-dimensional artworks in different media including ceramics, wood, glass, fibre, jewellery, metal, design, painting, photography, and paper. Not to be missed are the lecture presentations from renowned art critics, museum curators and artists.
sofaexpo.com
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Design Festa
Mid November, 2018 (TBA)
Tokyo, Japan
A biannual ticketed event for professionals and amateurs and also one of Asia’s largest art fairs, it attracts more than 12,000 artists from different backgrounds from wood carvers to musicians and showcases 100% original and uncensored works. For those with a creative spark, this is the place for mental stimulation.
designfesta.com
[Photo: hélène veilleux/Flickr]
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Denver International Wine Festival
1-3 November, 2018
Denver, Colorado, USA
The festival allows visitors to experience a wide array of wines as well as culinary tastings just before the holiday season begins. And there’s a lot of decadence involved from a food and wine pairing competition to wine tastings, winery tours and even educational seminars.
denverwinefest.com
[Photo: Christopher J Davies]
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Pirates Week Festival
2-18 November, 2018
Various Locations, Cayman Islands
This is Cayman Island’s favourite annual festival where bearded buccaneers in bandanas swagger through the streets and participate in floats, parades and an invasion featuring 3 life-size pirate ships. Of all the venues, the one at Georgetown is the grandest, pulling crowds from everywhere. There’ll be fireworks, dancing, pageantry, delicious food and drink, fun events for kids and sporting activities.
piratesweekfestival.com
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Kenu and Kundu Festival
2-4 November, 2018
Alotau, Papua New Guinea
This annual celebration of culture is marked by a convoy of war canoes (kenu) with warriors in traditional garb paddling to (kundu) drum beats followed by races, music, dancing, traditional and modern drama performances, band contests, art and craft displays and fireworks in Milne Bay. Festival-goers can also enjoy canoe rides once the races have concluded.
nationalkenukundufestival.com
[Photo: PNG Tourism Promotion Authority]
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Artissima
2-4 November, 2018 
Turin, Italy
The Turin-based experimental fair for contemporary art returns to the Oval for its 25th anniversary with a title ‘Time is on our side’, focussing on various forms of time e.g., fast and slow time, past and future, time for dialogue, time for art and time for listening to sound (look out for a new section on contemporary sound). 2017’s edition saw a total of 206 galleries from 32 countries and 52000 visitors.
artissima.it
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Melbourne Cup Carnival
3-10 November, 2018
Melbourne, Australia
The city, literally, comes to a grinding halt during the week-long event – chock-full of fine fashion, delectable food and wine, endless entertainment and iconic races. Watch the parade in the city centre on the eve of the fest, dress in your finest and compete in the fashion contest, watch the thoroughbreds in action on race day, feast on gourmet delights and entertain the family on Stakes Day – it’s a not-to-be-missed experience.
flemington.com.au
[Photo: Chris Phutully/Wikimedia Commons]
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An Evening With King Crimson
3 November, 2018
London, England
A shout out to all progressive rock fans: The highly influential English rock band from the late 60s – King Crimson will be playing at the London Palladium as part of their ‘Uncertain Times’ European Tour with Robert Fripp, Bill Rieflin, Gavin Harrison, Pat Mastelotto and Jeremy Stacey as band members. Did you know that American Express cardholders are eligible for special tickets that include central seating, Q/A with a band member as well as souvenirs and merchandise?
axs.com
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Diwali
5-9 November, 2018
Across India
Celebrated widely across the sub-continent by lighting clay lamps and fireworks, worshipping Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth, making and distributing sweets, exchanging gifts and visiting friends and family, the festival marks the victory of good over evil and is the most important on the Hindu calendar.
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Seed Food And Wine Week
7-11 November, 2018
Miami Beach, Florida, USA
You’ll find everything sustainable and plant-based at this annual Miami event – from cooking demos to craft beer and spirits tastings, upscale celebrity chef dinners, urban gardening events, health seminars, yoga, a 5K run, kids’ activities and even a veggie burger battle. Look forward to seeing talented chefs, celebs, athletes and authors – all under one roof during the five-day affair.
seedfoodandwine.com
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New York Comedy Festival
5-11 November, 2018 
New York City, New York, USA
Calling all comedy fans and laugh seekers: Some of the biggest names in stand-up comedy entertain audiences at the Big Apple’s funny festival each year. The cast for the 15th edition is awaited but if the past performers here (e.g., Aziz Ansari, Bill Maher, Amy Schumer, Jessica Williams, Chris Hardwick, Patton Oswalt, Trevor Noah and Tracy Morgan) are anything to go by, then it’s safe to expect a world class line-up this year as well.
nycomedyfestival.com
[Photo: Courtesy of New York Comedy Festival] 
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Iceland Airwaves
7-10 November, 2018
Reykjavik, Iceland
The biggest draw here is the immersive local acts that tap into the local grassroots music scene as well as the wide variety of venues from small record stores to art museums where they’re held. Don’t miss the free off-venue events – without queues or tickets but featuring the same stars. The line-up for the 20th edition has already been announced and includes Agent Fresco, Girl Ray, Jade Bird and Kiriyama Family.
icelandairwaves.is
[Photo: Júnía Líf Maríuerla]
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Le Guess Who?
8-11 November, 2018 
Utrecht, Netherlands
Featuring a curated line-up of performances from emerging artistes to legends, the festival is held at eclectic venues throughout Utrecht including churches, galleries and theatres and transforms the quaint college-town into an electrifying hub for experimental music. The satellite events encompassing film, visual art, photography and markets held at restaurants, cafés and wharf cellars around town are just as entertaining.
leguesswho.nl
[Photo: Juri Hiensch]
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Räbechilbi Turnip Festival
10 November, 2018 
Richterswil, Switzerland
For one day in fall, the town of Richterswil celebrates the humble root vegetable (Räben), carving it into breathtakingly beautiful shapes from birds to flowers and more and parading the resulting art as lanterns in processions and floats through town amid complete darkness.
vvrs.ch
[Photo: Jonathan Jones/Flickr]
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Düsseldorfer Karneval
11 November, 2018 – 6 March, 2019
Düsseldorf, Germany
Be there at the start of the carnival at 11:11 am on 11/11 when Hoppeditz awakes continuing all the way up to Ash Wednesday in March. Watch parades with floats of every conceivable form, highlighting politics, culture and satire and delighting and entertaining onlookers on the banks of the Rhine.
comitee-duesseldorfer-carneval.de
[Photo: Cittanova Düsseldorf/Wikimedia Commons]
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Buenos Aires Jazz.18 Festival Internacional
14-19 November, 2018 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Discover the local jazz scene, jams, masterclasses, workshops, special productions, outdoor concerts, dance floors and special productions as the international jazz fest that encompasses everything from swing to jazz fusion and nuevo tango snakes its way through multiple venues across the city. Featuring international artists as well as expat locals, the festival includes ticketed as well as many free events.
festivales.buenosaires.gob.ar
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Eastside Culture Crawl
15-18 November, 2018 
Vancouver, Canada
This community engaging event attracts more than 500 visual artists and crafters including weavers, potters, jewellers, glassblowers, sculptors and photographers to showcase their works to a burgeoning number of visitors at various venues in the area from Columbia Street on Victoria Drive to the waterfront. There’ll be all sorts of workshops and demos, talks, installations, exhibitions and even hands-on activities for kids.
culturecrawl.ca
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Strawberry Fields
16-18 November, 2018
Tocumwal, New South Wales, Australia
There’s a plethora of activities to partake in despite the small size of this EDM festival outside Melbourne: participate in sunset yoga sessions, swim in the river, discover a jazz quintet, admire art, sip oriental tea or enjoy some quiet time. Although the line-up is yet to be announced, there is news of bigger and better things planned for the festival’s 10th anniversary.
strawberry-fields.com.au
[Photo: Duncographic Via Strawberry Fields/Facebook]
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San Francisco International Hip Hop Dancefest
16-18 November, 2018
San Francisco, California, USA
The critically-acclaimed and non-competitive SFIHHDF attracts the best professional dance companies from around the Bay Area and across the world to celebrate the artistry of the hip hop dance movement. Last year’s iteration included high-energy performances by Medea Sirkas, Nasty Ray and Soul Force Dance Company among others.
sfhiphopdancefest.com
[Photo: Kyle Adler]
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Edinburgh’s Christmas
16 November, 2018 – 5 January, 2019 
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Indulge in the highly anticipated and marvellous festivities in and around the city centre. You’ll witness a Christmas wonderland chock-full of stunning light illuminations, famous local choirs, ice skating, markets and rides, including the Big Wheel and Star Flyer. edinburghschristmas.com
[Photo: Ross G. Strachan Photography/Flickr]
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Shame
16, 30 November, 2018
Portsmouth and London, England
Hot on the heels of their successful debut album ‘Songs of Praise’, British post punk band Shame will return to the spotlight with live performances at the Portsmouth Pyramid Centre and the O2 Arena. As an American Express card holder, you’ll have the option to buy reserved tickets for the show. Conditions Apply. More details on the website.
axs.com
[Photo: Paul Hudson/Wikimedia Commons]
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Africa International Film Festival
18-24 November, 2018 
Lagos, Nigeria
AFRIFF showcases short films, feature films, documentaries, animated films as well as student films from all over Africa. At this week-long cinema fest, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to network, watch screenings, attend movie premieres, workshops, master classes and more.
afriff.com
[Photo: Adeoluadeniyi Photography]
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Escape to Margaritaville
16 February – 18 November, 2018
Marquis Theater, New York City, USA
Parrotheads will be particularly pleased, as Jimmy Buffet’s all-time classics get special treatment in this Broadway musical by Tony-winning director Christopher Ashley. The romantic comedy follows a singer-bartender’s escape to a tropical island paradise, where he falls in love with a career-minded tourist. American Express seating and preferred seating are available to all card members and eligible card members, respectively. Blackout dates apply. More details on the website.
online.americanexpress.com
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Montreal Bach Festival
22 November – 7 December, 2018 
Montreal, Canada
So called because it celebrates Johann Sebastian Bach – one of the finest composers of all time. There’ll be orchestras, choirs, ensembles and performances by music soloists from all over, educational programs and a not-to-miss evening gala that’ll transform the charming city into a musical wonderland. 2017’s edition featured The Thomaner (choir), Antje Weithass (violinist) and Serhiy Salov (pianist) among other world class performers.
festivalbachmontreal.com
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Christkindlimarkt
22 November – 24 December, 2018 
Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland
Ready your bags for a month of quaint Christmas shopping at Zurich’s main train station and Lucerne railway station. As one of Europe’s largest indoor festive markets, it has more than 100 stalls showcasing everything from speciality food to traditional Swiss crafts, plus a Swarovski crystal-laden Christmas tree, carolling choirs, light displays and more.  TIP: Visit at the beginning or end of the day to avoid crowds. christkindlimarkt.ch
[Photo: ©Zürich Tourism]
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Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Lantern Festival
23 November, 2018 (TBC)
Chiang Mai, Thailand
This is a festival that lets one release life’s negativities by letting lanterns into the skies and banana leaf floats into the water. Witness colourful parades, pageantry, music, lantern crafting contests, fireworks and lip-smacking Thai food before the lantern ceremonies begin.
[Photo: Magalie L’Abbé/Flickr]
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Pushkar Camel Fair
15-23 November, 2018
Pushkar, India
This fascinating livestock fair and cultural festival held during the auspicious Full Moon attracts hordes of visitors, camels, horses and cattle from all over Rajasthan. The atmosphere is vibrant, bursting with dancers, musicians, holy men, fortune tellers and, of course, camel traders. Watch camel races and moustache competitions, go for a stroll through the camel camp, shop at handicraft stalls and take a dip in Pushkar Lake at dawn to purge your sins.
[Photo: Saurabh Chatterjee/Flickr]
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Monkey Banquet Festival
24-25 November, 2018 (TBC) 
Lopburi, Thailand
Visit the ancient Phra Prang Sam Yot temple and see one of the world’s weirdest banquets – for monkeys. After dancing and music, a lavish feast of rice and produce is laid out for more than 3000 long-tailed hungry macaques who’ll generally abstain from nastiness provided you’re willing to part with the goodies.
[Photo: ThailandPhoto/Wikimedia Commons]
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Bagan Temple Marathon
24 November, 2018 
Bagan, Myanmar
There’s no better way to soak in the meditative and mystical charm of temple and pagoda-rich Myanmar than by participating in a full and half marathon whose courses run through the exotic and unspoiled Burmese countryside. TIP: Go prepared – routes can be hot, sandy, hilly and dusty.
bagan-temple-marathon.com
[Photo: bagan-temple-marathon.com]
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Amsterdam Light Festival
29 November, 2018 – 21 January, 2019
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Light Festival returns to the Venice of the North for its sixth edition, with stunning light sculptures created by several Dutch and international artists, illuminating the River Amstel, the Canal and other iconic locations. Take a canal cruise or a walking tour to soak in the spectacular sights. amsterdamlightfestival.com
[Photo: Janus van den Eijnden]
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Timaru Festival Of Roses
30 November – 2 December, 2018
Timaru, New Zealand
The Festival of Roses is definitely a treat for the senses, with all sorts of enchanting activities ranging from public and private garden displays, rose shows, floral art work, rose-themed tours, music, dancing, theatre, kids’ events and a new night market.
festivalofroses.co.nz
[Photo: South Canterburynz/Flickr]
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Apokalypsa
30 November, 2018 
Brno, Czech Republic
If techno, hard techno, tech house or minimal music is your jam, don’t forget to mark this one-day, three-stage music festival at Bobycentrum on your calendar. The music is upbeat, the atmosphere is electrifying and you’ll be dancing like there’s no tomorrow. Look forward to performances by Henry Saiz, Daniela Haverbeck, Gregor Tresher and Ben Sims at the upcoming fest.
facebook.com
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The Big Design Market
30 November – 2 December &  7-9 December, 2018
Sydney & Melbourne, Australia
Christmas shopping just got a whole lot easier, as Australia’s premier design show opens for the holiday season, showcasing the best of Australian and international design from fashion and accessories to children’s toys and food. In addition, there’ll be free activities for kids, fun workshops and art installations by guest artists. thebigdesignmarket.com
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Rage Festival
30 November – 8 December, 2018 
Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
Featuring new and established talent, this is the East Coast’s most power-packed, multi-genre music festival held at various venues, including the hottest clubs, most happening beach bars and biggest arenas in the region. EDM talent Stephan Bodzin, Teddy Cream and others kept audiences thoroughly entertained during last year’s festival. ragefestival.co.za
[Photo: Rage Festival South Africa Via Facebook]
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Contact Winter Music Festival
Late December, 2018 (Exact Dates TBA) 
Vancouver, Canada
Extraordinary electronic music. The world’s biggest DJs and producers. A standout venue (BC Place) with advanced theatrics. Nearly 28,000 visitors. This festival has become buzzworthy for all the right reasons. The line-up hasn’t yet been announced, but 2017’s headliners included Marshmello, Armin van Buuren, Carnage, Alan Walker and Tchami. contact-festival.com
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Metro Cooking DC
1-2 December, 2018 
Washington, DC, USA
Gourmands  and show-goers: indulge in this 2-day gourmet extravaganza, sip spirits, sample delicacies, learn a tip or two at Taste Talk workshops, meet award-winning chefs, and culinary legends and cookbook authors present their mouth-watering specialities. Look out for Emeril Lagasse, Lidia Bastianich and more. metrocookingdc.com
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Christmas Wonderland
1-26 December, 2018
Singapore
Who says because it’s in the Far East, it can’t have all the trappings of a white Christmas? Check out the festivities at the Gardens By The Bay: massive light installations, magical snowfalls at the Spalleria, Asia’s tallest Christmas tree, luminarie light sculptures, circus acts, Santa’s Grotto, a skating rink, a festive market, carnival games and rides – and you’ll want to be there all evenings in a row, kids in tow. christmaswonderland.sg
[Photo: Christmas Wonderland]
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Angkor Wat International Marathon
2 December, 2018 
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Certainly not “run of the mil”l – this scenic and purpose-driven marathon winds its way through the ruins of the ancient Angkor Wat Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Proceeds benefit landmine victims and support the ban on use of antipersonnel mines. Last year’s edition witnessed a record participation of 5,000+ runners from 76 countries. marathons.ahotu.com
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Paris International Fantastic Film Festival
4-9 December, 2018
Paris, France
If you’re a fantasy or horror movie aficionado, PIFF promises complex, nail-biting quality flicks with its exciting line-up of feature films, international and French shorts, as well as rare films and classics. Held at the Max Linder Panorama movie theatre, this is one of the best and biggest screens in Paris. pifff.fr
[Photo:©PIFFF-FredAmbroisine]
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Def Leppard UK Tour
4-17 December, 2018
Various Locations, UK
Hungry fans of the legendary British rock band are in for a real treat, as the band will be performing at various UK locations after a 3-year gap. Band members will regale audiences with all songs from their multi-platinum Hysteria album, as well as their past hits. Pay using any Amex card to get access to the best tickets reserved for card holders – so even if it’s a high-demand or sold-out show, you may still get a seat. americanexpress.com
[Photo: Craig Simon/Flickr]
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Krampusnacht
5 December, 2018  
Klagenfurt, Austria
If you haven’t already, here’s your chance to see dozens of costumed men dressed like Krampus (St Nicholas’ devilish sidekick) run wild in the streets, wearing terrifying masks, carrying horsetail whips and chasing laughing onlookers. Be good or prepare to wake up in Krampus’ dark lair!
[Photo: Sangudo/Flickr]
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Art Basel
6-9 December, 2018
Miami, Florida, USA
Get your culture fix at Miami’s prestigious art event, featuring captivating paintings, sculptures, installations and photographs by prolific artists as well as editioned pieces by budding and avant-garde talents. See displays by 200 modern and contemporary art galleries and artworks by 4,000+ artists in the 2018 edition. artbasel.com
[Photo: Courtesy Art Basel]
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Fête des Lumières
6-9 December, 2018
Lyon, France
What started as a vow to honour the Virgin Mary for saving Lyon from catastrophe in the mid-19th century has become an annual tradition of illumination, with candles, light installations, sculptures and colourful projections lighting up the city. A treat for the eyes, the festival attracts millions of visitors from all over France and the rest of the world. fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr
[Photo: Insert Photographer]
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L’Escalade
7-9 December, 2018
Geneva, Switzerland
Celebrating the defeat of the Duke of Savoy’s troops during the 1602 attack on Geneva, L’Escalade provides revellers an opportunity to relive history. Witness giant chocolate cauldron smashings, sip mulled wine, watch grand historical processions and battle re-enactments, enjoy musical concerts, attend exhibitions and browse the city’s traditional markets. 1602.ch
[Photo: KrisNM/Flickr]
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Mevlana Whirling Dervishes
10-18 December, 2018 (TBC)
Konya, Turkey
Lose yourself in the meditative, sacred and entrancing dance ritual performed by followers of the 13th-century Sufi poet and mystic Rumi, under the lights of the Grand Mevlana Cultural Center during the UNESCO-honoured Whirling Dervish festival, celebrating the Master’s life. mevlana.net
[Photo: damian entwistle/Flickr]
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Dominican Holidaze
12-16 December, 2018 
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
With its beachside location, resort setting and holiday vibe, it’s the perfect festival to get your tan on, sip a cocktail and dive into the waters when you’re not soaking in the music performances featuring Umphrey’s McGee, STS9, The Disco Biscuits, Lotus and more at the festival’s upcoming edition. And when the evening concerts conclude, the late-night shows continue at the Palapa. dominicanholidaze.com 
[Photo: John Vantine/Flickr]
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Wonderfruit
13-16 December, 2018
Pattaya, Thailand
Whether it’s art, music, food or ideas, everything is done sustainably and responsibly at this festival at the Siam Country Club in seaside Pattaya. Expect a plastic-free fest with farm-fresh food served in compostable or reusable tableware, cutting-edge and eco-friendly art, sustainably built stages, and health and wellness talks and workshops. wonderfruit.co
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Big Elf Run
15 December, 2018
Vancouver, Canada
Tis’ the time to spread good cheer and join the 4th annual Big Elf Run that takes place in the beautiful Stanley Park 10 days before Christmas. All you need to do is dress up like Santa’s little helper and choose from a 1k, 5K or 10K run. There’ll be an Elfie station for the smartphone generation, hot drinks, a winter wonderland park, dancing and lots of fun. Proceeds benefit Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. runningtoursinc.com
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Giant Lantern Festival
15 December, 2018 – 1 January, 2019
San Fernando, Philippines
This popular San Fernando festival features a collection of colourful, star-shaped lanterns modelled after the Star of Bethlehem called parols, measuring up to 20 feet in diameter. Eleven villages participate in the lantern-making competition, each trying to outdo the other for the grandest parol in the parade.
[Photo: Caryl Joan Estrosas/Flickr]
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Burning The Clocks
21 December, 2018
Brighton, England
Make a paper or willow lantern; parade it through the city and burn it in a blazing bonfire on Brighton beach while reflecting upon your yearly hopes and dreams, in a one-of-a-kind annual community event celebrated during the winter solstice. samesky.co.uk
[Photo: Dominic Alves/Flickr]
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La Noche de Rabanos
23 December, 2018
Oaxaca, Mexico
An annual tradition of displaying intricately carved radishes, the “Night of the Radishes” may have initially been started by Oaxaqueño farmers to attract visitors to the annual Christmas market, but today it’s a competition in itself, pulling in visitors from afar. Note that the entire event lasts only a few short hours, given the perishable nature of the root vegetable – so plan your visit accordingly.
[Photo: Yaya Dada/Flickr]
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Sunburn Festival
25-29 December, 2018 (TBC)
Pune, India
One of Asia’s biggest music extravaganzas will be back in Pune for the third time, with top Indian and international DJs belting out music across genres in the beautiful Kesnand hills. 2017’s line-up featured British electronic music group Clean Bandit, Israeli psychedelic trance music duo Infected Mushroom and several internationally renowned DJs, including Afrojack, DJ Snake and more. sunburn.in
[Photo: SUNBURN Festival Via Facebook]
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Polar Bear Plunge
25 December, 2018, 1 January, 2019
Various Locations, USA, UK, Canada, The Netherlands
Only hardy souls attempt this chilly tradition in which participants take a dip in the nearest ocean or lake when the temps are frigid and the waters are icy cold – yes, during Christmas and New Year in the Northern Hemisphere. Past events have even seen several bare-bodied participants attempt this daring but fun – and sometimes charity-oriented – event.
[Photo: Karen/Flickr]
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Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade
26 December 2018 – 1 January, 2019 (TBC)
Nassau, Bahamas
Sway to the beat of the Maranga drums, watch the elaborate costumed spectacle and join in the colourful festivities of the national cultural parade in downtown Nassau. Look forward to concerts, cultural shows, all-night parties and awards for the best performances and costumes.
[Photo: Andrew Griffith/Flickr]
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Rhythm And Vines
28-31 December 2018
Gisborne, New Zealand
Part of the thrill of attending this New Year’s festival in Waiohika Estate is the variety of activities available: International and local music acts, comedy, art installations, pool parties, rock-sliding and surfing at Taumoto Island. Last year’s headliners included ScHoolboy Q, 2ManyDJs, Baauer, Mura Masa, Big Shaq and A-Trak among others. rhythmandvines.co.nz
[Photo: Haydn Curtis/Flickr]
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SnowGlobe Music Festival
29-31 December, 2018 
South Lake Tahoe, California, USA
Not a typical music fest, SnowGlobe invites you to literally chill out in the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains. Hit the slopes by day and witness electro-pop performances at night, alongside fireworks, live graffiti art and ‘Big Air’ snowboard and ski demos. It’s an experience like no other, combining festival, adventure and New Year’s celebrations. snowglobemusicfestival.com
[Photo: SnowGlobe Music Festival]
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New Year’s Eve Countdown to 2019 In Times Square
30 December, 2018 – 1 January, 2019
New York City, USA
New Year’s Eve in Times Square is unforgettable – but what’s special about this offer is that as an Amex preferred customer, not only will you have an opportunity to attend the Times Square Ball the day before the countdown, you’ll also be able to witness it from the specially reserved R lounge with unbeatable views, and gain access to a surprise New Year’s Eve performance, as well as enjoy premium food and drink. online.americanexpress.com
[Photo: gigi_nyc/Flickr]
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Sydney New Year’s Eve
31 December, 2018 
Sydney, Australia
Celebrate the arrival of 2019 in style: Watch the one of the world’s most technologically advanced firework displays over the iconic Harbour Bridge, plus aerial acrobatics, water displays and the Harbour of Light parade as the year turns. sydneynewyearseve.com
[Photo: miquitos/Flickr]
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Réveillon
31 December, 2018 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Attend Rio’s popular beachside New Year’s celebration – but remember to dress up in white, don’t eat chicken meat and do dive into the ocean, jump 7 waves and make 7 wishes for the year ahead; superstition is taken seriously here. The pyrotechnics and musical entertainment are also spectacular and attract hordes of visitors from all over the world. facebook.com
[Photo: PortoBay Events/Flickr]
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New Year’s Ski Jumping
1 January, 2019
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
For snow sports fans, there are few better ways to jumpstart the New Year than by witnessing the New Year’s Ski Jumping event at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (part of the Four Hills tournament) from up close. There will be more than 25,000 visitors at this World Cup stage, cheering on the world’s best ski jumpers. neujahrsskispringen.de
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Blacks and Whites Carnival
2-7 January, 2019 
Pasto, Colombia
Boosted by UNESCO’s 2009 World Cultural Heritage designation, the Colombian city of Pasto honours a tradition dating back to the Spanish colonial era of giving slaves a day off. Today, it’s a huge and colourful carnival celebration featuring dancing, music and mini as well as massive floats. colombia.travel
[Photo: Nicolás Argoti/Flickr]
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WizardWorld Comic Con
4-6 January, 2019
New Orleans, USA
For Superhero fans, Star Wars aficionados, Trekkie junkies, Potterheads and more, this event is a must-do with leading names in the acting, artistry and animation world in attendance. Last year’s edition included Stan Lee (Marvel comics), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) and Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries and Lost) among many others. wizardworld.com
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Cartagena Festival Internacional de Música
4-13 January, 2019 
Cartagena, Colombia
The 13th edition explores the link between music, sounds and different forms of scientific knowledge and will see several world-renowned classical music artistes regaling audiences with their innovative interpretations of seminal works of composers including Bach. Don’t miss the performance of Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte co-produced with Italy’s Spoleto Festival dei 2Mondi. cartagenamusicfestival.com
[Photo: Cartagena Festival Internacional de Música]
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ASV Dolomiti Balloon Festival
5-13 January, 2019 
Dobbiaco, Italy
The Dolomite mountain range in South Tyrol is as famous for its characteristic jagged, teeth-like appearance as it is for its fabulous winter sports attractions. Catch the opening ceremony, book a balloon trip, soak in the dramatic mountain views and witness special tournaments during the region’s Balloonweek. balloonfestival.it
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Harbin Ice Festival
5 January – 25 February, 2019 
Harbin, China
Billed as the world’s largest ice festival, the 35th edition in the capital of Heilongjiang will open with a theme ‘Pearl on the Crown of Ice and Snow’ and showcase a range of ice and snow-based events. Besides fireworks and four ice theme parks, see giant ice sculptures going up several metres. icefestivalharbin.com
[Photo: Enming Yan/Wikimedia Commons]
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Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
5-27 January, 2019
Hwacheon, South Korea
South Korea’s Sancheoneo owes its existence to the local freshwater Sancheoneo fish, so-called Queen of the Valley. Try ice fishing, even bare hand fishing and partake in several fun activities including ice-sledding contests, snow tubing and several other high-adrenalin sports including snow sleighing, bob sleighing, ice soccer, Bubble suit games on ice  and so on. narafestival.com
[Photo: Myhla Borkowski/Flickr]
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Storico Carnevale di Ivrea
6 January – 13 February, 2019 
Ivrea, Italy
Though most of the carnival takes place in February, festivities begin on 6 January with pipes, drums and marches, as well as fantastic full-costumed re-enactments. Don’t miss the hugely popular and messily spectacular citrusy skirmish, Battaglia delle Arance but remember to wear self-protection gear. storicocarnevaleivrea.it
[Photo: Edoardo Forneris/Flickr]
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London International Mime Festival
9 January – 3 February, 2019 (TBC)
London, England
The epic theatre festival spanning live art, physical and circus-theatre, mask, puppetry, movement and object theatre returns for its 42nd edition to multiple theatre venues including the Barbican and Sadler’s Wells. Last year’s iteration featured 120 performances, 17 international productions and several workshops on film, symposium and visual theatre. mimelondon.com
[Photo: © Jean-Pierre Estournet]
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Bread & Circus – World Buskers Festival
10 January -3 February, 2019
Christchurch, New Zealand
Come one, come all: A world-class line-up of international and home grown buskers and entertainers is expected at the revamped, expanded and reinvented edition of the festival to be showcased on the streets as well as in theatres of Ōtautahi Christchurch. Expect immersive acts, accessible street performances, free events, ticketed shows, large scale spectacle and world-famous busking pitches. worldbuskersfestival.com
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Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival
11-20 January, 2019
Sun Peaks, Canada
Sampling fine wines in a Canadian Alpine town setting is an attractive proposition. Expect a progressive wine tasting experience combining fresh mountain air, wines from 30 wineries and ski village scenery as well as several wine, art and gourmet events paired with British Columbian wines in the festival’s 21st edition. sunpeaksresort.com
[Photo: Sam Egan]
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Ati-Atihan Festival
14-20 January, 2019
Kalibo, Philippines
One of the most awaited annual events celebrated on the island of Panay with inter-ethnic roots stretching back centuries, Ati-Atihan is a major cultural and spiritual fiesta comprising devotional Novenas, a food fest, energetic dancing, face-painting, colourful costume parades, huge floats, street bazaars, fun runs and more. kaliboati-atihan.com
[Photo: mike141213 /Flickr] 
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Jam Cruise 17
15-21 January, 2019
Miami, Florida, USA
Now in its 17th year, the hugely popular Jam Cruise is actually a pretty simple idea: 5 days and nights on a huge cruise liner with port halts at Roatan and Grand Cayman plus music (Umphrey’s McGee, ALO, Galactic etc.), parties and activities galore from theme nights and yoga on board to tropical adventure at ports. jamcruise.com
[Photo: Derrick Lee/Flickr]
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Mercedes Benz Berlin Fashion Week
15-18 January, 2019
Berlin, Germany
The who’s who of the fashion industry will descend on Berlin as one of Germany’s biggest annual fashion events kicks off in January. Though still trailing behind the Big Four, it’s quite the happening place with renowned established and emerging designers showcasing their fashion-forward A/W collections and retailers keeping an eye on the latest trends.
fashion-week-berlin.com
[Photo: Mercedes-Benz Fashion]
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Kumbh Mela
15 January 2019 – 4 March 2019
Allahabad, India
A UNESCO recognised event held every three years in either Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nashik or Ujjain, it’s the largest peaceful congregation of Hindu pilgrims seeking spiritual liberation as well as of visitors wanting a taste of Indian culture. Witness rituals, parades, spiritual discourses and take a dip in the Holy Ganges for a life changing experience. kumbhmela.net
[Photo: Yosarian/Wikimedia Commons]
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London Art Fair
16-20 January, 2019 
London, England
At the Business Design Centre, 2019 marks 31 years of examining and displaying museum quality modern British art as well as contemporary art for one of London’s biggest art celebrations. Besides the main fair, there will be a curated showcase of contemporary photography by Photo50 and fresh artworks by international artists and emerging galleries via Art Projects.
londonartfair.co.uk

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La Tamborrada 
20 January, 2019
San Sebastián, Spain
Every year thousands gather in San Sebastián to celebrate its patron saint’s day with the Tamborrada Drum Parade.The event begins at midnight with a flag-raising ceremony, followed by celebratory drum beating and special events for 24 hours. It may look like a full-on party, but it’s more about celebrating the city’s unity and togetherness.  sansebastianturismo.com
[Photo: Javier Larrea/Donostia San Sebastian Turismo] 
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Mozart Week
24 January – 3 February, 2019
Salzburg, Austria
It’s one of the hottest annual events marking the great composer’s birthday. Several renowned classical musicians present innovative interpretations of Mozart’s works via 60+ events including stage productions, concerts, chamber music, dance, mime etc., exploring the multiplicity of the composer’s personality. Don’t miss performances by Cecilia Bartoli, Mitsuko Uchida, The Vienna Philharmonic and more. mozartwoche.at
[Photo: © Marco Borggreve]
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ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival
24-28 January, 2019
Jaipur, India
The self-styled ‘Greatest Literary Show on Earth’, that has hosted nearly 2000 speakers and more than a million visitors over a decade, celebrates its 12th birthday at Rajasthan’s Diggi Palace. Attend book readings, talks, debates, performances, workshops and interactive activities for all. Past speakers have included J.M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, Paul Beatty and Margaret Atwood among others. jaipurliteraturefestival.org
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Rabinal Achí
25 January, 2019
Rabinal, Guatemala
In 2008, UNESCO marked the importance of the Rabinal fiesta with World Heritage status. Revolving around a Mayan dance drama enacted by locals wearing elaborate indigenous costumes and masks, the festival highlights a pre-colonial battle of war and sacrifice between the Achí and K’iche’ tribes and presents a rare window into pre-Columbian history, culture and religion.
[Photo: MacDawg/Flickr]
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Rainbow Serpent Festival
25-28 January, 2019
Lexton, Australia
Spanning a multitude of genres and with eclecticism at its heart, this music, art and dance festival attracts 10,000 + visitors each year. The ‘rainbow’ in its title plays on its colourful and progressive intent, with a particular focus on nature, community and harmony. Enjoy music, visual and performance arts, bazaars, yoga, panel discussions and more. rainbowserpent.net
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Snow Polo World Cup
25-27 January, 2019
St Moritz, Switzerland
Every January since 1985, St Moritz becomes home to the world’s only so-called ‘high-goal tournament on snow’. For three days of the Snow Polo World Cup, St Moritz’s frozen lake hosts galloping horses and mallet-swinging riders. Witness thrilling matches as reigning champions fight to defend their title and new entrants vie for the prized Cartier Trophy. snowpolo-stmoritz.com
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Wakakusa Yamayaki
26 January, 2019
Nara, Japan
Roughly translated as ‘burning down a mountain’, Yamayaki does just what it says on the tin – albeit in spectacular fashion. Enjoy views of the fireworks and flaming hills from Nara City, facing the hill – dress warm, carry binoculars and arrive early to grab a good spot. jnto.go.jp
[Photo: Chaijiro Hata/Flickr]
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International Hot Air Balloon Festival
26 January – 3 February, 2019
Riviera-Pays-d’Enhaut, Switzerland
The European Alpine balloon festival sees Switzerland take centre stage, bringing hundreds of variously-shaped, soaring balloons together in the Vaudois Alpine skies. Now in its 41st year, there will be hot air balloon rides, model balloon shows, children’s day (on 30th) and spectacular events such as Night Glow’s sound and light show. chateau-doex.ch
[Photo: gcarrard, imagevideo.ch]
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National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
28 January – 2 February, 2019
Elko, Nevada, USA
Celebrate the cowboy culture of the American West as the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering convenes for its 35th anniversary in Elko. Attend readings, enjoy musical performances, folklore and poetry, shake a leg, watch films and participate in workshops spanning everything from barbecuing to rodeo swing dancing. Expect a friendly, engaging and entertaining atmosphere. nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org
[Photo: Jessica Brandi Lifland]
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Up Helly Aa
29 January, 2019 
Lerwick, Scotland
Dating back to the 1880s, Up Helly Aa revolves around Viking leader, The Guizer Jarl. Unveiling the locally built Viking Galley, various marches and much singing concludes with an impressive 5,000-person torch-lit procession followed by the Galley’s and the Guizers’ entry into the burning site. uphellyaa.org
[Photo: Vicky Brock/Flickr]
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Hay Festival Cartagena
31 January – 3 February, 2019
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
Britain’s Hay Festival has been superbly imported to Cartagena, attracting over 160 renowned writers, artistes and thinkers. Look forward to at least 150 programs comprising intellectual discussions and debates, conversations on current affairs, poetry galas, music concerts, visual arts’ showcases and community engaging events in nearby cities from Riohacha to Medellín. hayfestival.com
[Photo: Daniel Mordzinski]
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