"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 season whose possible Indo-European origin means "together" is the perfect time to begin again with new adventures in life. Whether staying local or flashbacking to an exotic locale, peg your next adventure to one of these exciting fests happening around the globe.
Secret Solstice Festival
June 21 to 24
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. Now in its fifth year, the party boasts a stacked musical lineup with Steve Aoki, George Clinton, Gucci Mane, Slayer, Death From Above and Goldlink, among others, as well as intimate sets in offbeat locations. For example, a limited number of tickets are available to watch Iranian DJ Dubfire inside a glacier 80 feet below the surface, Lee Burridge and YokoO at a geothermal pool party, and local Icelandic artists inside a 5,200-year-old volcanic lava tunnel. Try to tell me that doesn't sound fuckin' awesome!
San Francisco Pride
San Francisco, California
June 23 to 24
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 LGBTQIA 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 Strength. SF Pride is a fun and colorful party, but more importantly, it's an event that calls attention to the continued fight for LGBTQIA 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
June 29 to September 2
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. Nick Gynn kicks off the music program on opening night with various residencies taking place all summer.
July 2 to September 23
Starry Night Over the Rhône is one of Vincent Van Gogh's finest works (and this writer's personal favorite), and he painted the masterpiece during a yearlong stay in Arles in the South of France. The place Architectural Digest calls "the art world's new hot spot" hosts an annual summer event where the river town becomes a giant photo exhibition for nearly three months. Launched in 1970, Rencontres d'Arles currently draws about 100,000 people, and the 49th installment features an America Great Again! series (gotta love the French) with photographers Robert Frank, Laura Henno, Raymond Depardon, Taysir Batniji and Paul Graham. Of course, most Americans will flock to William Wegman's adorable dog portraitures.
Boryeong Mud Festival
Boryeong, South Korea
July 13 to 22
One of South Korea's most epic parties involves a coastal beach town, K-pop marathons and the biggest mud fight the world's ever seen. The event that locals call Mudfest started as a way to promote cosmetics made with mineral-rich ingredients from the Boryeong mud flats, but it quickly evolved into the "dirtiest" Spring Break-style party on the peninsula. Thousands regularly partake in the 10-day fest, which features concerts, contests, giant slides, mud fights, mud wrestling, a mud prison, mineral mud baths and beach parties. The all-day activities take place throughout the city, from downtown Boryeong to Daecheon Beach, with trucks bringing in mud from the local flats. For those who can only attend a few days, the final weekend is always the highlight. Think Carnaval meets La Tomatina in a Korean mud bath. Here's a taste of the action.
Northern Nights Music Festival
July 20 to 22
Without question, the festival would be cooler if the bands set up in the dead of winter in the far north and played under the aurora borealis, but Northern Lights still claims a sweet location in a campground next to Humboldt and Mendocino counties. This NorCal fest allows attendees to swim and tube in the Eel River, wander through a towering Redwood forest and (as the festival website photos suggest) smoke lots of local plant life. As far as the tunes, this year's lineup includes Emancipator, Justin Martin, Sage the Gemini, Bad Royale and others.
July 30 to August 5
Are you the type who wishes you did Burning Man in the Baker Beach days? If so, stay ahead of the culture curve by getting your ass to Hungary for one of the coolest parties on the planet. O.Z.O.R.A. features a massive lineup of DJs spinning lots of trance at open-air stages with trippy names like Dragon Nest, Circus, Ambyss and Pyramid. And the "Ozorian" substance of choice is psychedelics, and lots of it. The festival website actually posts information on current drug laws to help attendees avoid issues coming to and from the fest, which, coincidentally, runs shuttle buses connecting Budapest International Airport a few hours away. O.Z.O.R.A. attracts big crowds who can camp for free on site, but mainstream awareness remains limited, and that's a good thing. Check this shit out here, here and here. PRØ tip: Bring an eye mask and earplugs if you hope to get even a second of sleep.
Cornbury Park, England
August 2 to 5
Wilderness is a posh Burning Man x Coachella fest in the Oxfordshire countryside near London where the itinerary includes hot tubs, specialized yoga, progressive art and nude swimming in Lake Majestic. The age demo skews slightly older, but the music runs the gambit from Justice, Nile Rodgers and !!! to saxophonist Kamasi Washington and trap-jazz artist IAMDDB. The culinary lineup includes Israeli-British chef Yotam Ottolenghi serving a riverside dinner, wine tastings with Luca Dusi of Passione Vino and a six-course tasting with Mugaritz alum Santiago Lastra. The seminar topics include From Marijuana to Missiles, How Not to Fuck Up Your Kids, a talk on the evils of the drug war and, for you freaks out there, Clowning & Intimacy. And it gets even crazier with events like sock wrestling, boozy olympics, mass musical benches, giant jenga, the gotta-be-stoned synchronized disco and the absinthe baptisms of Oh My God! It's the Church. There's even a spooning hour. Bonus: Click here to see the time Wilderness got former right-wing Prime Minister David Cameron to act like a liberal.
Reggae on the River
Humboldt County, California
August 3 to 5
Launched in the mid-1980s, Reggae on the River is one of the longest-running reggae music festivals with historic lineups that included some of the genre's top names. The annual event that locals simply call “Reggae” started as a concert to benefit the nonprofit Mateel Community Center, which an arsonist had burned down. Two years ago, local law enforcement shut down Reggae's Wonderland's Cannabis Lounge, but the fact that they would even try to host such a booth pre-Prop. 64 should speak volumes (as does this video). The fest has since announced new cannabis-related partnerships, so once again there will be more than just good vibes in the air.
August 10 to 11
Haven describes itself as "a festival for the senses that will merge experiments in art, music, food and beer," and the people behind the event are indeed heavyweights: NOMA and Agern co-founder Claus Meyer, Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, and Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of the gypsy-style microbrewery Mikkeller. The event itself takes place on the outskirts of Copenhagen with a musical lineup that includes Brockhampton, Arcade Fire, Ariel Pink and Kraftwerk in 3-D, while the beer, food and art lineups have yet to be announced. Check out this video from 2017.
August 10 to 13
"Engage the hearts and minds of those present in the finding of The Beloved in each other; and furthering our ability to cooperate to make that appreciation tangible on earth," so says point No. 1 on Beloved's list of Primary Objectives. Now that they answered the "can I bring weed?" question, consider these cool festival specifics: There's only one stage to facilitate a shared experience, and the 2,500-ticket limit ensures the event remains modest in size. The carefully crafted musical lineup might not feature names you know, but that's because the focus is on what the organizers call "sacred and healing music" from around the world. This art, music and movement event on the Oregon coast is the epitome of Millennial hippiedom as evidenced by these short videos here, here, here and here. We bet you can't make it through all four without lighting a joint.
San Francisco, California
August 10 to 12
The country's largest independently owned music festival celebrates its 12th anniversary with a lineup that includes The Weeknd, Janet Jackson, Florence + The Machine, Beck, Future, Smokepurpp, Gang of Youths, Odesza and dozens more. Outside Lands also rocks a mean culinary lineup with Dumpling Time, The Farmer's Wife, Hawker Fare, Ayesha "Go Warriors" Curry's International Smoke, Petit Marlowe (with truffled brie grilled cheese sandwiches) and the Michelin-starred chefs from Rich Table serving porcini doughnuts with raclette sauce. Can you light up? Cannabis is suspiciously absent from the FAQs, which says you cannot bring "illegal substances" but "you may bring in medical prescriptions as long as your name is clearly on the prescription label and you have a valid ID." If you wanna try, hide your stash and bring your medical marijuana card.
Germany's annual pro-cannabis parade turns 22 this year with the motto "Education Not Prohibition." More than 10,000 people took part in the march last year, and the organizers expect many more in 2018 as the push to end prohibition sweeps the globe. The event starts and ends at the iconic Neptune Fountain in the Alexanderplatz public square, and it will include live music, topical speakers and an open mic. Hopefully the DJs can drown out the open mic…
Koktebel Jazz Festival
August 16 to 19
Koktebel is a famous nude beach in Crimea, but when Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014, the famed music fest faced serious issues highlighted by this Moscow Times headline: "The Battle for Crimea Plays Out in Jazz." The festival took place on a nude beach in what was a cannabis-friendly hippie town, which didn't fly in the new Russian Crimea. Pro-Putin and -Trump stooge Dmitry Kiselyov replaced it with a "jazz party," while the original fest headed west to Odessa. The new location might include fewer fully nude attendees, but you've still got the high tunes, the beautiful Black Sea and quite possibly the occasional spliff, especially since this year's lineup includes reggae icons Inner Circle.
August 16 to 22
In 2015, Forbes published seven reasons why Rototom is "the world's best reggae festival," and while cannabis was not directly referenced, we file it as part of reason number four: The Consciousness. With a nod to Jamaica's Reggae Sunsplash, the quarter-century-old festival features forums, panels, film screenings, artisan workshops and a Pachamama space to reconnect with Mother Earth through such elements as "medicinal plants, the value of the seeds." The festival obviously includes music, and this year's artists include Protoje, Ben Harper, Julian Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Fat Freddy's Drop.
August 23 to 26
If you love jam bands, god help the people in your carpool, but you'll definitely want to hit Oak Ridge Farm for what might be the best jam-band fest on the planet. Dead & Co. headlines two nights, reuniting with Branford Marsalis on night two, while Umphrey's McGee plans to jam with drummer Jason Bonham. You also got Widespread Panic, George Clinton, Sheryl Crow, Matisyahu, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, among others. The camping-only fest includes a sober section for avoiding more than just Virginia rye whiskey.
Black Rock City, Nevada
August 26 to September 3
In the early years, Burning Man was free, and the ticket cost never topped $100 in the 1990s as participation grew from 250 people in 1991 to 23,000 in 1999. In the past few years, tens of thousands of people have taken part in the gathering, which now sells out every year at a much higher price point. The original gathering took place 32 years ago during the summer solstice at Baker Beach in San Francisco, but the annual event moved to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert in 1991 (following dual gatherings in 1990). This year's art theme is I, Robot based on the 1940s writings of Isaac Asimov.
The 1978 film Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was a surprise success that spawned three sequels, but the B-movie sensation cannot take credit as the first tomato attack. In August 1945, an overturned vegetable stall at the Giants and Big Heads parade (a real thing) turned into a spontaneous tomato fight, and the young men who initiated the food fight deliberately started another the following year. A tradition was born, and when arrests failed to stop the momentum, the city eventually conceded. Today, the annual La Tomatina is a tomato-throwing festival that's arguably the largest food fight in the world. We recommend leaving the designer white threads at home.
Product Earth Expo
September 1 to 2
The U.K. is the largest producer of legal cannabis in the world, despite prohibiting both medical and recreational cannabis at home. That's some serious British bullshit right there. But let's focus on the positive, which is that the Product Earth Expo is returning for another year to promote global developments in the hemp and cannabis industries. Located in Abbots Ripton, the event will include music, seminars, exhibitions and even camping. The U.K.-based, California-importing Humboldt Seed Organization is the main sponsor.
September 6 to 9
Cascamorras is a weird-ass fiesta in the Granada province, but the event obviously has appeal since it celebrates its 525th anniversary this year. In a nutshell, the neighboring towns of Guadix and Baza became enemies over a statue of the Virgen de la Piedad. Per the legend, it was decided that Guadix could claim ownership of the statue if a runner could make it to the church while dodging paint splatter from the Bazan townspeople. (You see where this is headed.) Centuries later, the town recreates the challenge in a giant messy race involving thousands of people. Videos here and here pretty much say it all.
L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade
No event brings together the top local talent like L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade, inspired by a young cancer patient named Alex who started a lemonade stand to raise money for research. She sadly passed away in 2004 at age eight, but her spirit lives on in this annual fundraiser that has already raised millions for pediatric cancer research. Taking place on the UCLA campus, the 2018 event will feature such culinary stars as Michael Cimarusti (Providence), Evan Funke (Felix), April Bloomfield (Hearth & Hound, Spotted Pig), David Lentz (M.B. Post), Nancy Silverton (Osteria Mozza) and Tyler Malek from ice cream titan Salt & Straw.
September 14 to 16
"The future of music festivals" (per Forbes) returns for a fourth year to the ancient city of Marrakech bringing together thousands of EDM fans from across the globe. The female-founded fest allows dance music fans to enjoy artists like Carl Cox, Ben Klock, Damian Lazarus, DJ Koze, Peggy Gou and local legend Amine K. in an intimate setting under the starry African night sky. New for 2018, Oasis introduces a poolside stage where music fans can sunbathe, groove and enjoy locally sourced teas. Marrakech is famous for hookah lounges and culinary delights, and this festival will have plenty of both. All hail the return of the hippie trail!
September 14 to 16
Location, location, location: Expogrow takes place across the river from France in a coastal town in Spanish Basque country. Mic drop? For those who are harder to impress, Expogrow is a three-day cannabis festival with 180 exhibitors, 1,200 cannabis professionals, guest speakers and live concerts across 130,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor exhibition space. Past live performers include Cypress Hill, Third World, Marea and Lee "Scratch" Perry with Mad Professor.
Sonoma County Grape Camp
Sonoma County, California
September 16 to 18
This is what you might call boot camp for wine nerds. The three-day immersion gives participants a chance to harvest grapes, tour Sonoma's gorgeous vineyards, savor local farm-to-fingers gastronomy, learn about the winemaking process and take wine-blending classes. Needless to say, you'll probably want to bring aspirin for the hangovers.
Gnaoua and World Music Festival
September 21 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." Now throw in a 21-year-old fest with international artists playing jazz, blues and West African rhythmic gnaoua, and we're guessing you never thought you'd be this excited about a world music festival.
David Jenison (email@example.com) is Editor-in-Chief at PRØHBTD.
Photo credits: Jess Stewart Maize/Lens Fare Photography Studio, Max Talbot-Minkin/Flickr, Julia Seeliger/Flickr, Peter Kirkegaard/Haven Facebook, Tomatina/Wikimedia, Boryeong Mud Festival, Northern Lights Music Festival, Oasis Festival/Solovov Photography, Obonjan Island, Max Pixel, Asgeir Helgi, Wilderness and Notimix/Flickr.