2016 Festival Guide

These festivals are worth travelling for 

Coachella Music & Arts Festival

When it comes to attending some of the world’s most beloved annual events, it’s always best to plan ahead. Why not make 2016 the year for checking one or two “bucket list” festivals off your list? Here are three to consider.

The Governors Ball, New York City 

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What to expect: A roaring party with all the cool kids that draws huge names in the world of pop, rock, indie, hip-hop, electronica and more. Plus art installations, lawn games and plenty of delicious food to keep you fuelled all weekend long. 

Getting around: Hop on the Manhattan Ferry, which runs every 15 minutes. Or, take the shuttle from Williamsburg. Purchase tickets in advance for both.

Insider tip: The Governors Ball After Dark concert series keeps the party going at venues around the city. Check the website for the schedule. 

Must book by: Single day tickets sell out faster than weekend passes, so book by mid-April.

June 3 to 5, 2016

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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What to expect: The world’s largest arts festival takes over beautiful Edinburgh for most of August, spilling out into the streets, pubs and restaurants. Choose from nearly 50,000 performances that include concerts, plays, improv and ballet. 

Getting around: Fringe happens at more than 300 venues and many spots are within walking distance. Edinburgh also has excellent public transit that includes a newly opened tramline. 

Insider tip: There are plenty of free and discounted tickets available. Check the festival’s website for details. 

Must book by: Tickets for select events go on sale early in 2016 and the rest are available in June. 

Aug. 5 to 29, 2016

Toronto International Film Festival

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What to expect: A-list actors, big deal directors, Oscar-contender films and lots of eager fans—TIFF has become a world-renowned film festival, luring film buffs and stargazers to the streets of Toronto for 11 days of movie-going, partying and celeb-hunting. 

Getting around: Stay downtown to be within walking distance of most venues. Or, if you’re outside of downtown, stay near the Yonge Street subway line, which takes you right to all the action. 

Insider tip: If you want to spot a celeb, there are designated areas for the public at red carpet venues.

Must book by: It's best to start securing tickets by the end of August and to reserve hotels by May. 

Sept. 8 to 18, 2016

Twenty More Festivals To Travel For:

January

Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec City, January 29 to February 14

What to expect: The world’s largest winter carnival is fun for all ages, complete with a snow sculpture competition, ice canoe races and live shows. 

February

Wanderlust, Oahu, Hawaii, February 25 to 28

What to expect: Yogis of all skill levels gather on the pristine beaches of Turtle Bay Resort for four days of yoga classes, workshops, lectures and musical performances.  

March

Calle Ocho, Miami, March 13

What to expect: The last day of Miami’s 10-day Carnaval celebrations, Calle Ocho is a roaring street party with food, dancing and lots of culture in Little Havana.

St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin, Ireland, March 17 

What to expect: Pretty much exactly what you’d think—public parades, Guinness and revelry in the streets. 

April

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio, California, April 15 to 24

What to expect: Hipsters and Hollywood stars dancing in the desert for two weekends of pop, rock, electronica and indie music.

Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia, April 29 to May 8

What to expect: Hundreds of musical performances and art shows from jazz and R&B superstars and Caribbean artists. 

May 

Boston Calling, Boston, May 27 to 29

What to expect: Boston's biggest music fest is a three-day extravaganza of big-name acts and emerging talent at City Hall Plaza. 

June

Glastonbury Festival, Somerset, England, June 22 to 26

What to expect: A staggering lineup ranging from rock and pop artists to techno, reggae and everything in between. Plus, all the mud and cider you can handle. 

Banff Summer Arts Festival, Banff National Park, Starts in June (through summer)

What to expect: An eclectic mix of performing, visual and literary arts, plus lots of mountain culture. 

San Francisco Pride, San Francisco, June 25 to 26

What to expect: This world-renowned street festival is a massive party complete with a grand parade and exhibitions celebrating the LGBT community. 

Montreal Intl. Jazz Festival, Montreal, June 30 to July 9

What to expect: Two million people flock into downtown for this festival that features 3,000 performers from around the world. 

July 

Calgary Stampede, Calgary, July 8 to 17

What to expect: The city all but shuts down for 10 days of rodeos, cowboys, midways and lots of parties.  

Comic-Con International, San Diego, July 21 to 24

What to expect: Hardcore comic fans, industry leaders and A-list celebrities celebrate all things comics and popular culture. 

Lollapalooza, Chicago, July 29 to 31

What to expect: An eclectic mix of big name acts and exciting up-and-comers putting on a raging show in the city’s Grant Park.

George Street Festival, St. John’s, July 28 to August 3

What to expect: A good ol’ East Coast party complete with live music and dancing in the streets in the heart of downtown St. John’s.

August

Outside Lands, San Francisco, August 5 to 7

What to expect: A huge celebration of music, food, beer, wine, art and comedy, and seriously big-name acts (last year, Elton John stole the show) in Golden Gate Park.

Edmonton Music Folk Festival, Edmonton, August 4 to 7

What to expect: Four days of dancing, eating and tarping at one of Canada's best folk festivals. 

September

POP Montreal, Montreal, September 21 to 25

What to expect: More than 400 artists put on a multi-day festival complete with musical performances, film screenings, fashion shows and art exhibits.

October 

Oktoberfest, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., October 7 to 15

What to expect: The world’s second-largest celebration of Bavarian culture featuring plenty of beer, lederhosen and oompah bands. 

November 

Day of the Dead, Mexico, various locations, October 31 to November 2 

What to expect: A heritage-rich celebration honouring lost loved ones via elaborate costumes, traditional food and street parties.