Summertime is festival season, and August through September doesn't fall short in terms of offerings. Across the world, people gather together to celebrate everything from history, culture, and religion to art, dance, and film. Whether you enjoy a more traditional festival or a more raucous unconventional one, here are some ideas that will get you packing and on your way to what some call a way of life.


"Edinburgh Fringe Performers" by Bob the Lomond via Flickr Creative Commons

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Every August, about 1.6 million people descend on Scotland's normally tranquil capital of Edinburgh to revel in the largest arts festival in the world. With over 30,000 performances spanning drama, comedy, dance, and music, Fringe features something to entice everyone. Enjoy works from classical to experimental (and sometimes controversial) along with street performances and all the local hotspots Edinburgh has to offer for a post-show pint or a bite to eat.

"La Tomatina en Reno_0107_2009" by Reno Tahoe via Flickr Creative Commons

La Tomatina in Spain

Warm up your arm muscles for the ultimate vegetable-throwing event of the year. Every August, over 20,000 people take part in Bunol, Spain's LaTomatina festival, in which participants throw over one hundred metric tons of over ripe tomatoes at each other in the streets. No one is quite sure how the tomato tradition came to be, but who doesn't enjoy a therapeutic food fight? This probably isn't for you if you don't like getting messy.

Photo Credit: Gerard Stolk

World Tango Championships

What better place to compete for the world tango crown than the iconic dance's birthplace, Buenos Aires. Every August, couples from around the world heat up the dance floor in various venues in the city. You can test your talent with free dance classes all over the city, or relax and watch a concert.

Photo Credit: The Style PA

Notting Hill Carnival

The streets of West London come alive every August for one of the city's largest festivals. Started by West Indian immigrants, the festival transforms the Notting Hill area into a full-fledged Caribbean carnival and attracts millions for two days full of elaborate costumes, parades, vibrant music, dancing, and delicious street food.

Photo Credit: Duncan Rawlinson

Burning Man

Calling all creatives and art enthusiasts for the annual celebration of Burning Man, which brings together thousands in the middle of the Black Rock Desert. The weeklong event takes place in a temporary community based on self-reliance - there are no vendors and event organizers encourage participants to leave the area without a trace. During the week, anything goes, as self-expression is explored and collaborative art is created.

Photo Credit: Michael Barker Studio

Toronto International Film Festival

A rival seconded only by Cannes, this top international film festival attracts thousands in lovely Toronto, and highlights both mainstream and independent films from over 70 countries. Famously independent and not-for-profit, the festival is highly influential in the industry; especially with its reputation for generating Oscar buzz.