"With the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees... I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer," wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby. The month of June moves the Northern Hemisphere from spring into summer, a season whose possible Indo-European origin means "together." This makes it the perfect time to celebrate together at some of the best parties and festivals taking place around the world.
Outpost Los Angeles
Born from the desire to take the traditional “antiquated trade show model” and flip it on its head, the inaugural Outpost Los Angeles features an immersive environment with everything from sprawling plant installations to a greenhouse with a wide array of product demos, panels, workshops and curated conversations. These include workshops like MacGyver a Pipe and panels like How to Build a Cannabis Brand, while the culinary lineup includes a natural wine-guided happy hour, mezcal tasting and kombucha-making class. Also featuring music acts like Neon Indian, Porches and Ana Roxanne, Outpost LA will take place at the 24,000-sq-ft Rolling Greens, a vintage chic outdoor event space in the downtown Arts District.
Self-described as "a festival in celebration of the arts, culture and music by today's women," this 21+ event features female-led music acts like Charli XCX, Lykke Li, Cat Power, Courtney Love and others performing at the State Historic Park. Li (picture here, photo by Chloe le Drezen), best known for the single "I Follow Rivers," is the mastermind behind the modern-day Lilith Fair, and she's one of the co-founders (along with Yola Jimenez and Gina Aglietti) of the main sponsor, YOLA Mezcal. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Downtown Women's Center in Los Angeles.
Indie Spirits Expo
New York, New York
One of PRØHBTD's favorite events, the Indie Spirits Expo, returns to the Penn Club with a stellar line-up of small-batch, independent companies serving mezcal, whiskey, rum, vodka, tequila and other spirits that require patrons to pace their consumption. Expect to see distillers like Scorpion Mezcal, who might give you the option to eat the scorpion at the bottom of the bottle (been there, done that), and The Funk, which promotes itself as "unaged heavy pot still rum" from Jamaica. Click here for examples of spirits from past events.
The American Black Film Festival
June 12 to 16
Started in 1997, the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) celebrates African-American artists in front of and behind the camera, and its 23rd iteration will include Oscar winners like Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) and Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Grammy nominee Ester Dean (Pitch Perfect), panels like About Women and The Come Up: A Conversation with the Stars of NBC, and actors like Jocko Sims (New Amsterdam), Niles Fitch (This is Us), LaRoyce Hawkins (Chicago P.D.) and Ego Nwodim (SNL). Screenings will include the Netflix film Black Godfather and the FX show Snowfall from the late John Singleton.
The Testicle Festival
June 14 and 15
Now in its 26th year—if you can believe that—the Testicle Festival gives Fear Factor wannabes the chance to chow down on animal testicles. In the early days, the lineup included pork, lamb and turkey testicles, but these days it's limited to about a ton of bull balls that are deep fried and served with ketchup-based "cock sauce." What's more shocking is that these events are not just limited to Nebraska. Several take place throughout the year, and they're famously debaucherous, so much so that the Testy Fest in Montana finally threw in the towel last year. We aren't actually endorsing this event, but it's kind of impossible to ignore at the same time.
Long Beach, California
After a 16-year hiatus, Smokin' Grooves made its comeback last summer, and the hip-hop/R&B festival returns again this month to Queen Mary Park in Snoop Dogg's hometown. This year's lineup includes Usher, Erykah Badu (who has a side project called the Cannabinoids), Common, Slum Village, The-Dream, The Pharcyde and a dozen or so others. Some complained that the 2018 event was not as cannabis friendly as one might expect, so hopefully Smokin' Grooves will be more smokin' this year.
Mary Jane Berlin
June 21 to 23
With an estimated four million smokers, Germany already legalized medical use, and like the U.S., certain states allow for the possession of small amounts. On the expo front, Mary Jane Berlin is one of the leaders with an arena-sized event that includes top European companies like Barney's Farm, Sensi Seeds and Royal Queen Seeds. This year's speakers include several medical doctors and Germany's so-called "toughest youth judge," whose experience on the bench convinced him of the dangers of cannabis prohibition. Photo credit: © Mary Jane Berlin / www.offenblen.de.
San Pedro, California
Pennywise and Rancid headline this punk-as-fuck fest that celebrates bikes, boards and bands. Taking place on the waterfront, Gnarlytown includes action sports events like Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus and Chris Cole’s Rail Jam Invitational, while craft beer sessions include tastings by Ska Brewing, Bottle Logic, Three Weavers and others. Since the concert takes place in San Pedro, score cool points by wearing a Minutemen shirt.
June 24 to 25
A new United Nations report found that the U.K. is the biggest producer of legal cannabis in the world, which prompted Steve Rolles of Transform to say, "It is scandalous and untenable for the U.K. government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world's biggest government-approved medical cannabis production and export market." London also hosts a major medical cannabis conference that includes medical doctors, psychologists, parliament members, professors, media and pharmacists, among others. Hopefully this type of event means progress is being made on the legalization front. Photo credit: Aline Aronsky.
Refugee Food Festival
Around the world
Now in its fourth year, the Refugee Food Festival is a global event (15 cities, nine countries) in which restaurants open their doors to refugee chefs who are given an opportunity to showcase their culinary cultures. The exact dates for this global event vary, but most take place on or around World Refugee Day (June 20), and participating cities include Paris, Cape Town, New York, Madrid, Geneva and Copenhagen, among others. Started in Paris with the support of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the festival strives to reduce stigma regarding refugee status and encourage the integration of refugee chefs into their new communities.
Gnaoua and World Music Festival
June 20 to 23
The town that some might call the "Cartagena of Morocco" (i.e., fortressed city on the ocean) is home to what others have called the African Woodstock. Referencing the landmark 1969 fest might be a stretch, but Essaouira was part of the Hippie Trail, and Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Cat Stevens and Frank Zappa all spent time here. And to quote Morocco World News, the city's modern hippies "decided to turn away from the age of conspicuous consumerism and rigorous traditions towards a more organic mode of living, embracing handmade crafts, natural hair, altered states of consciousness mainly induced by hashish and LSD, and bohemianism." Now throw in a 22-year-old fest with international artists playing jazz, blues and a West African rhythmic music called gnaoua, and we're guessing you never thought you'd be this excited about a world music festival before.
Firefly Music Festival
June 21 to 23
Each year, the Dover International Speedway transforms into a hippie pop-up that includes a camping option, supper clubs, art installations, a silent rave and an exceptional music lineup. This year, participating artists include Tyler, the Creator, Travis Scott, Panic! at the Disco, lovelytheband, Courtney Barnett, Kygo, Brockhampton, Alison Wonderland, Post Malone, Tank and the Bangas, Vampire Weekend and Protoje, among others.
Photo credit: Pearcy Proper.
Secret Solstice Festival
June 21 to 23
The summer solstice celebrates the sun's highest position in the northern sky and marks the official start of summer. For Reykjavík, the northernmost capital city in the world, this means nearly 100 hours of continuous sunlight, and the Secret Solstice Festival ensures those hours are put to good use. This year's lineup includes Pussy Riot, Robert Plant, Patti Smith, Rita Ora, Martin Garrix, Sugarhill Gang and others, as well as intimate events in offbeat locations like a 5,200-year-old lava tunnel, a geothermal pool and Europe's second largest glacier. Try to tell me that doesn't sound fuckin' awesome!
Howlin' with Harris Hot Summer Southern BBQ
Los Angeles, California
The Billy Harris Dinner Series features some of the best culinary events in the country, and the upcoming Howlin' with Harris brings California and Tennessee together for a good cause. The daytime feast features a Southern-inspired menu from Los Angeles-, Nashville- and Memphis-based chefs Ray Zone (Howlin' Ray's), Burt Bakman (Trudy's Underground BBQ, SLAB), Tandy Wilson (City House), Andy Ticker (Hog & Hominy), Michael Hudman (Hog & Hominy), Nyesha Arrington, Valerie Gordon (Valerie Confections) and the ice cream masters over at Milk Bar. The $100 ticket price includes mains, sides, apps, cocktails, wine, desserts, coffee and matcha tea served on communal tables (so no waiting in lines), and the proceeds from a live auction and corporate sponsorship benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Angelenos know that Ray's and Trudy's in particular are among the city's most coveted eats, so expect this event to sell out fast.
San Francisco Pride
San Francisco, California
June 29 to 30
In June 1970, about 30 people marched down Polk Street to City Hall, followed the next day by a "gay-in" at Golden Gate Park. This march quickly turned into an annual event that's considered the nation's largest gathering of LGBTQ+ individuals and their supporters. Past themes had cool titles like Year of the Queer ('93), Queerific ('01), Out of Many… One ('82) and Rightfully Proud ('88), and this year's parade celebrates Generations of Resistance. SF Pride is a fun and colorful party, but more importantly, it's an event that calls attention to the continued fight for LGBTQ+ rights and equality. This makes it all the more important for everyone to support the event and let the community feel the love and acceptance they deserve.
Obonjan Island, Croatia
Obonjan Island is quickly becoming the new Ibiza. The tiny 136-acre island in the Adriatic Sea sat lonely and abandoned until 2015 when British festival organizers turned it into a premiere destination for in-the-know Millennials who love yoga, electronic music, swimming, sunbathing and stargazing. While partying certainly happens, Obonjan embraces natural wellness in an island setting where guests must be at least 18. Accommodations include luxury tents and wooden lodges with forest and sea views, and the yoga classes are of the more progressive variety.