STORIES

Best Fests Around the World for February 2019

By David Jenison on February 10, 2019

Valentine was a saint. You're not. So make your February count for something more than flowers and chocolates with one of these epic global events.


Kumbh Mela
Prayagraj, India
Through March 4

The Hindu pilgrimage has returned to Prayagraj after six years. This particular event is noteworthy since spiritual cannabis use is apparently permitted. When asked about the use of cannabis at Kumbh Mela, Uttar Pradesh Minister Nand Gopal Gupta said there should be no restrictions on spiritual offerings. When pressed on the matter, the politician responded, "It is an event of religious faith. Our government is committed to ensuring that no one is discomforted. We are ensuring that Kumbh will be grand and great." If you are a practicing Hindu who utilizes cannabis as a spiritual sacrament, this riverside ritual is for you.


Chinese New Year
February 5

The Chinese New Year is one of the most celebrated traditions on the planet, with year one dating back about 4,700 years ago on the solar calendar. The Year of the Pig starts on February 5 and kicks off the two-week Spring Festival. Don't expect an overpriced blowout à la New Year's events in Western culture, but do expect fireworks and watch for parades (typically held on Saturdays) and other activities associated with the new "beginning," especially if you live in a big city with a vibrant Chinatown neighborhood.


International Cannabis Business Conference
San Francisco, California
February 7 to 8

ICBC truly has gone international with conferences in cities like Barcelona, Zurich, Berlin and Vancouver, and it returns to San Francisco for a fifth year at the Hilton Union Square. This year's speakers include Mary Patton (Sunniva), Scott Van Rixel (Bhang Chocolate), Alan Brochstein (420 Investor, New Cannabis Ventures), David Hua (Meadow) and California cannabis czar Lori Ajax, among many others.


New Wine Country Distillery Festival
Sonoma County, California
February 9

The inaugural fest shows that Sonoma County is about more than wine by bringing together several local distilleries at Sally Tomatoes in Rohnert Park. The $50 ticket includes local food bites, a cocktail competition and 12 visits to the distillery booths, which include Redwood Empire American Whiskey, Benham's Gin, Sipsong Spirits, Camlow Cellars and Humboldt Distillery, among others.


The Ominous Marriage of Cupid & Psyche
Los Angeles, California
February 14 and 15

PRØHBTD loves Disco Dining Club (main image at top), and its latest dinner doubles as a Valentine feast and four-year anniversary party. The 75-person, indoor-outdoor event features a five-course meal by chef Laurent Quenioux (LQ Foodings), curated cocktail pairings, DiscoVino wine, caviar bumps, theatrical moments, dance numbers, gift bags and late-night Doc Johnson products for those not going home alone. The second night is already sold out so don't wait to buy that ticket. (Next up? A cannabis-themed party in April.)


Canapa Mundi
Rome, Italy
February 15 to 17

Launched in 2015, Canapa Mundi is Italy's largest fair dedicated to cannabis and hemp, and the fifth edition will feature about 200 exhibitors and 30,000 attendees set up across nearly 100,000 square feet of event space. There's even an option for a bike tour that includes stops at various cannabis shops. Most of the companies (but not all) exhibiting at the fair will be Italian, which makes this an ideal place to learn about Italian producers, distributors and consumers in the hemp and cannabis space. Now practice saying that in the mirror and pitch your boss on the need to send you to Rome for the weekend. 


Fête du Citron
Menton, France
February 16 to March 3

Blessed with a special microclimate, Menton produces what many call the best lemons in France, and the French Riviera town celebrates its golden fruit with the annual Lemon Festival, now in its 86th year. Using about 140 tons of lemons and oranges, local artisans create large floats depicting dragons, trains, deities and even famous people that fit into the year's theme. For 2019, the Des Mondes Fantastiques (Fantastic Worlds) theme promises the arrival of otherworldly creatures in bright yellow and orange colors. In addition to the festival, Menton is home to one of the world's top restaurants, Mirazur, which is famous for its homegrown lemons.


Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi, Taiwan
February 19

The Chinese New Year marks the start of the two-week Spring Festival, which concludes with lantern festivals throughout several Asian countries. One of the most spectacular places to enjoy the festival is in the Taiwanese village of Pingxi. Due to natural protection found in the surrounding terrain, Pingxi is the only place on the island where the lanterns are actually permitted to take flight. The festival dates back more than a century, and thousands of people visit the village each year. If you plan to take part, write your wishes on the lantern with a Chinese calligraphy pen before launching the glowing orb into the air.


South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Miami, Florida
February 20 to 24

It's Food Network overload with channel-approved personalities like Ted Allen (Chopped), Anne Burrell (Worst Cooks in America), Giada de Laurentiis (Giada at Home) and superstar chefs like José Andrés (The Bazaar), Juan Manuel Barrientos (El Cielo), Francis Mallmann (1884), Michael Voltaggio (Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse), Daniel Boulud (Daniel), Dominique Creen (Atelier Creen), Bruce Kalman (Square Peg Pizza), Matt Kuscher (Kush), Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster) and Diego Oka (La Mar). For next-level cocktails, Dan Perretta will also take part representing The Aviary.


Bau Nyale Festival
Lombok, Indonesia
February 20

Per the local legend, Princess Mandalika attracted suitors from far and wide who battled for the right to take her hand in marriage, and she responded by throwing herself into the sea. The villagers who followed her into the water encountered thousands of sea worms, which some believed were the princess reincarnated. The tale inspired the Bau Nyale Festival where the Sasak people take to the Lombok beaches to celebrate women as princesses, stage mock battles for their hands in marriage and head into the water to catch sea worms. Prompted in part by February's full moon, the worms make their way to surface as part of a mating ritual, and eating the worms supposedly brings beauty, wealth and sexual vitality. Yeah, there's a lot of weird shit going on there, but it's an excuse to party on the beach and watch people wolf down worms that may or may not make them better lovers.


Montréal en Lumière
Montreal, Canada
February 21 to March 3

The beloved French-Canadian city hosts this major winter festival attended by a million people each year with activities that include concerts, theater, comedy, art installations and gastronomy. The event turns 20 this year with a lineup that includes musical performances by the likes of Dominique Fils-Aimé and Soran, and fine-dining events with chefs like Antonin Mousseau-Rivard and Oliver Perret. This will be the first Montréal en Lumière since the country legalized cannabis.


Speakeasy Prohibition Dinner
San Francisco, California
February 23

The Cannaisseur Series is once again hosting a Speakeasy Prohibition Dinner where guests are encouraged to dress up according to the Roaring Twenties theme. Now in its third year, the dinner starts with low-dose edible appetizers, followed by a non-infused dinner prepared by chef Coreen Carroll and a different cannabis pairing for each of the four courses. All the cannabis is sourced from a local farm, and guests will have an opportunity to sample concentrates at the vapor bar during the opening reception. The $175-ticket price is inclusive of food, drinks, smokes and a gift bag for each guest.


KIND Music Festival
February 23
Desert Hot Springs, California

Miguel, A$AP Ferg, Starcrawler and Reese LaFlare are among the music acts helping launch the inaugural KIND Music Festival, which describes itself as "the first-ever event to embrace California's updated 2019 cannabis regulations and allowing those over 21+ to consume alcohol." The music and cannabis fest will be held on the future site of Tyson Ranch Resorts, a large complex owned by boxing champ Mike Tyson. Vendors will not be selling cannabis, but attendees should not be hassled for enjoying their own stash. 


Envision Festival
Uvita, Costa Rica
February 28 to March 3

Music, art and spirituality come together in Costa Rica where the rainforest meets the Pacific Ocean near Marino Ballena National Park. With an emphasis on personal empowerment and connection, Envision features four days of DJ sets, yoga sessions, spiritual exercises and education, and the festival grounds include a Village Witches Healing Sanctuary, Herbal Elixir Bar and Free Herbal Clinic. Don't expect the bar or clinic to stock the favorite herb of our readers, but getting high is reportedly part of the program for many attendees.


David Jenison (david.jenison@prohbtd.com) is Editor-in-Chief at PRØHBTD. Photo credits: Canapa MundiFête du Citron, SOBE Festival, celebrityabc/FlickrChristopher A. Dominic/Flickr and art_inthecity/Flickr.

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