Every summer brings the same conundrum: the inevitable festival pick. Will it be mud-swaddling in Glastonbury, getting coastal at Bestival or donning the tie dye for Secret Garden Party?
Increasingly though, festival goers are jumping off the staycation bandwagon and venturing further afield to see their favourite acts play amidst a setting of far flung exotica. Perhaps the British love affair with national festivals is dwindling…
Take Yourselves On An Extended Holiday
The UK is grey, damp and generally prone to unpredictable temperatures, and with the rise of the all-in-one experience, greedy festival-goers now have the chance to add an extra holiday on top of the annual excursion by taking a little leap on a plane. These days, the European festival is a rite of passage for many youths, and the travel industry are happily embracing the growing trend by offering the popular trips as travel packages.
A festival abroad boasts the allure of sunshine, intriguing festival grub, and the perks of being surrounded by a group of more-than-usually friendly faces in a new, warm environment. Merging our annual festival excursion with a getaway to foreign shores has become both affordable and increasingly desirable, with an increasing number of choices.
The palm trees of Coachella, the beaches of Benicassim or the looming industrial architecture of Finland’s Flow Festival – more and more we are being swayed to choose festivals for their creative and ostentatious aesthetics. The destination is quickly becoming a festival’s biggest selling point, with the visuals and other-worldliness of the festival ambience become almost as important as the line-up itself. We want big, awe-inspiring sights, and are hardly tickled by a tent in a field now.
Us Brits are allegedly the most adventurous festival goers in Europe, and there’s no better opportunity to tread a festival path less travelled than in a foreign country, where you really get that sense of escapism. Switch off your phone, forget about work, and live in the moment, making the most of the sensory overload that exotic festivals do best.
Save Those Pennies…
Festivals are always a drain on our pockets, and yet an event abroad gives you more value for your money in many senses. Due to the cheaper infrastructure of some countries, a ticket often costs a fraction of the price compared to in the UK, and a cheap flight could still see it being more purse-friendly than transport here.
A golden Glastonbury ticket can set you back over £200, yet an average ticket to an international festival is a mere £120 for a four day pass. A cheeky budget airline flight could cost you less than a train ticket across the UK. You do the maths.
If that wasn’t enough, international music events are increasingly offering festival and transport packages to attract a UK audience. According to a recent Festicket survey quoted on The Guardian last month, 20% of festivalgoers bought everything in one package in 2013, but 95% would like to do so this year. Flow Festival offered 10% off ticket prices exclusively for its UK audience and others offer discounts on hostels and housing. It’s all about really planning and managing the festival trip in advance – the way you plan your annual sun week in Spain, why not chuck in a festival as well to really maximise your holiday experience?
Let’s face it, we all love that feeling that you’ve really got your money’s worth. Plus you can annoy all the unlucky friends who didn’t get a ticket with over-the-top tales of that handsome Scandinavian guy you met while watching The Horrors under a giant balloon in thirty degree heat. It happened, promise.
Keep Those Expectations High!
Nowadays we see a lot more professionalism coming to festivals. An incredible music line-up doesn’t always cut it, so more and more festivals are incorporating art installations, award-winning and world-spanning cuisine experiences, lectures, film screenings and partnerships with fashions brands. Thankfully, it seems we can finally wave goodbye to crappy burgers at a broken picnic bench: we expect more nowadays, and we’re getting it.
With all the cultural draws international festivals bring, the festival arena is no longer limited to the young crowd like it used to be. A spotlight seems to be shining on a more mature, affluent crowd, who want the magical music, the culture, the eco-friendly environment and the tan to go alongside it.
Check Out The International Acts
For most large scale festivals in Britain, the line–ups are pretty solid but what you don’t get are the smaller international acts that you’ve never heard of but blow your mind. Be sure to check out the local talent and you just might discover your new favourite band.
So what are you waiting for? Dust off those passports and get exploring.