For many around the world, April is a time of renewal. A time to welcome spring and bid farewell to the icy wrath of winter. As such, April is also a month where many emerge from a deliberate period of exile to celebrate the spirit of rejuvenation inherent in the season.
Here are some of the best festivals in April around the world.
A fixture on the annual New Orleans calendar since 1970, the Jazz & Heritage festival is one of the best celebrations of music and culture in the United States. Spread over two weekends in late April and early May on the Fair Grounds Race Course, the festival features a great line-up of music legends, jazz icons and new acts on the rise, in addition to crafts and superb food and beverage tents.
Held in late April at historic Fort Mason, in the Marina District of San Francisco Bay, the International Beer Festival features a slew of craft and artisan beers, great food and special events. Best of all, admission fees go to charity and include unlimited suds and grub.
The event that put Robert De Niro’s beloved neighborhood back on the map in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks is now a staple on the annual film festival circuit. The TriBeCa Film Festival, co-founded by the Raging Bull and Goodfellas star and producer Jane Rosenthal, is dedicated to the recovery of lower Manhattan and the independent film community, though some critics see it as just another vehicle for Hollywood.
Seville’s Spring Fair is one of the most popular in all of Europe and is held every year, two weeks after Easter Holy Week. From traditional parades, concerts and events at the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballer?a, to non-stop tapas and Jerez sherry, the week-long celebration is authentically Andalusian.
Believe it or not, of Mexico’s myriad annual festivals, no other comes close to the Feria Nacional de San Marcos. With some visitor estimates to the central host state of Aguascalientes as high as 7 million people, the feria is massive by any scale. Typical events include bull and cock fights, livestock fairs, rodeos, concerts, casinos, traditional music and citizen awards. All in all, San Marcos is the premier celebration of Mexican culture.
The traditional Thai New Year, Songkran is the most important national holiday in Thailand and is held from April 13 to 15. The hottest time of the year, water fights and purification rituals often break out in the streets, from Bangkok to Phuket. Visits to wats, feasts and pageants also feature prominently.
The Istanbul International Film Festival was the first in Turkey and is by far the most important in the country. The non-profit annual event screens films at theatres all over Istanbul throughout April and promotes the development of Turkish cinema at home and abroad.
A quirky annual event, the International Science Festival is quite at home in Edinburgh, where festivals of all stripes abound throughout the year. The eclectic festival features a host of fun and educational events and exhibits for the entire family.
The three-day arts and music festival held every year since 2001 at Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California is relatively new on the scene but has already made a major impact. In the confines of the Colorado Desert in southeast California, the festival has impressively drawn the likes of Portishead, Madonna, Rage Against the Machine, Massive Attack, Nine Inch Nails and Kraftwerk.
Though April in Australia signals autumn and not spring, with a line-up of over 1,700 performers and a schedule of almost 300 shows, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is a big deal. Second only in scale, scope and attendance to the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, the event kicks off every April 1 with a massive gala at Melbourne Town Hall.
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