These festivals need to be on your bucket list

There are a lot of festivals that happen throughout the year, not everyone is a music festival fan so, we thought that we would put together our top picks for festivals goers that prefer a different kind of performance when looking for a festival to attend.

These were our picks that should go on your festival bucket list for 2019 and 2020:

Directors Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage introduce the World Premiere of Them That Follow by Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage, an official selection of the US Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. © 2019 Sundance Institute | photo by Nick Sammons. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or ‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

Sundance Film Festival

Where: Park City, UT, USA
When: January 23rd – February 2nd, 2020

Why it should be on your bucket list: Sundance is North America’s most famous independent film festival that was founded in 1981 by Robert Redford.  Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization appealing to the non-conformist and rebellious film directors who do not want to play by Hollywood’s rules.

Every winter in Utah you have the ultimate gathering of original storytellers and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives. This annual event includes dramatic and documentary features and short films; series and episodic content; and New Frontier, showcasing emerging media in the form of multimedia installations, performances, and films.

The festival also offers daily filmmaker conversations, panel discussions, and live music events. Since 1985, hundreds of films that have launched at the Festival have gained critical recognition and acclaim, reaching new audiences worldwide.

Located in a relatively small town, first time attendees may be surprised by the lack of glamour of where the films are shown, but there is a certain buzz about sitting in an old theater watching a film while sitting beside an actor about to hit super-stardom. If you love edgy, powerful films, Sundance may be just what you are looking for and you should get this festival on your bucket list.

For more information on this event: http://www.sundance.org/festivals/sundance-film-festival/about

Follow on Twitter: @sundancefest

Follow on Facebook: @sundance

Follow on Instagram: @sundanceorg

Mardi Gras

Where: New Orleans, LA, USA
When: February 25th, 2020 

Why it should be on your bucket list: Mardi Gras is synonymous with hedonism and debauchery, and with a motto of Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll), it’s no surprise that this is probably the wildest party in the United States.

It may be a surprise to some however, that Mardi Gras is the official final celebration of about a month or so of parties named for just one day, Fat Tuesday, which is the last day before the period of Lent, the Catholic period of introspection and sacrifice. But whatever your religion – everyone is welcome!

Visitors are encouraged to explore New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions. To eat oysters and king cake, watch parades roll down St. Charles Avenue and tag along with marching krewes as they wind their way into the Quarter from New Orleans historic neighborhoods.

So grab your purple, green and gold (the festivals official colors representing justice, faith and power) and take to the streets for one of the biggest parties of your life and one that should definitely be on your bucket list in 2020.

For more information on this event: https://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/when-is-mardi-gras/

Follow on Twitter: @MardiGrasNOLA

Follow on Facebook: @MardiGrasNewOrleans

Follow on Instagram: @mardigrasneworleans

Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival

Where: Kentville, NS – Canada
When: May 29th – June 3rd, 2019

Why it should be on your bucket list: Well first it is in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.  Furthermore, the festival welcomes in Spring and opens the tourist season in the Annapolis Valley.  It is a springtime celebration with communities from Windsor to Digby coming together to celebrate the Valley’s traditions and agricultural heritage that was established in 1933 when the town of Kentville hosted the very first apple blossom parade.

The festival draws tourists to the area to take in a number of festival events, such as the Grand Street Parade, Children’s Parade, Coronation for Annapolisa, and the Apple Blossom Concert are complimented by other social events, such as dances, barbecues, and old-style home-cooked dinners at church and community halls, and other social affairs in towns and villages throughout the length of the valley.

The Apple Blossom Grand Street Parade is one of the largest parades in Canada, drawing close to 100,000 people along the route from New Minas to Kentville is one not to miss, plus throw in a visit to one of the many wineries, cideries or craft brewers in the area and you will see why this one is one of our top picks.

For more information on this event: http://appleblossom.com/

Follow on Twitter: @AVABF

Follow on Facebook: @avabf

Comic Con International

Where: San Diego, CA, USA
When: July 18th – 21st, 2019

Why it should be on your bucket list: With the rise in popularity of animated films, western cartoons and Anime as well as video games and other fantasy novels, the franchise of Comicon has been growing over the years since the 70’s. Basically, this festival features a four-day event that is held at San Diego Convention Center in California.

A wide variety of different genre in the fantasy world are all over the place during the whole event. Some famous movie and TV personalities can also be seen in this big event.

The cool part here is not just meeting your idols but also by partaking in the hype of the fantasy world by cosplaying your favorite characters, talking with strangers and making friends with the same enthusiasm as you. It’s a four-day event where you can act like a child and have fun like you don’t care about the whole world.

For more information on this event: https://www.comic-con.org/

Follow on Twitter: @comic_con

Follow on Facebook: @comiccon

Follow on Instagram: @comic_con

Just for Laughs

Where: Montreal, QC, Canada
When: July 13th – 28th, 2019

Why it should be on your bucket list: At Just for Laughs, their mission is very simple, it’s three little words: MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY.

For comedy lovers there is no other festival in the world better than Montreal’s Just for Laughs. The event takes place at the end of July and if you visit you get to split your sides laughing, see some celebrity comics and tour one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Comics who have played Just for Laughs include: Jerry Seinfeld, John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson and Canadian homeboy favourite Russell Peters. It’s one of the best festivals in the world for comedy lovers ands why it is one of our best picks!

The Festival concentrates most of its show in the Latin Quarter. During the day street performers delight the crowds and at night the city comes alive with comedy happenings scattered throughout the City.

For more information on this event: https://www.hahaha.com/

Follow on Twitter: @justforlaughs

Follow on Facebook: @justforlaughs

Follow on Instagram: @justforlaughs

Photo Credit: Mike Ridewood / Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede

Where: Calgary, AB, Canada
When: July 6th – 15th, 2019

Why it should be on your bucket list: Well as organizers say, the Calgary Stampede is recognized worldwide as, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”  However, the Stampede is much more than a ten-day long celebration with midway rides and bucking broncos, the Calgary Stampede is a gathering place that hosts, educates, and entertains visitors from around the world during this annual celebration of the region’s western heritage that has been going on since 1912.

Now, what that all means for you, the visitor, is massive rodeos, Chuckwagon racing, a nightly variety show, and concerts.  Aside from that, visitors are welcome to explore the festival’s midway, with a host of entertainment and activities to lose yourself in. Because in early July, this is where the energy of Calgary can be found and why it is on our list and should be on yours this and every year.

For more information on this event: https://www.calgarystampede.com/

Follow on Twitter: @calgarystampede

Follow on Facebook: @calgarystampede

Follow on Instagram: @calgarystampede

Tyne Valley Oyster Festival

Where:  Tyne Valley, PE, Canada
When: July 31st – August 4th, 2019

Why it should be on your bucket list: This is on our bucket list as it is one ofPEI’s best-kept secrets!  Tyne Valley Oyster Festival offers one of PEI’s most exciting events with the Canadian Oyster Shucking Competition, where the best shuckers from all over the country come to compete for a chance to go to the worlds.

This non-profit festival is world-renowned for its rural Island hospitality, anyone that has been to the Island will know and love.  It is amazing to see in person what this small community of 250 does to welcome over 5000 festival goers during the festival to make this one of the best festivals around.  Come for the food and stay for the music as the Rock the Boat MusicFest caps off this festival with an amazing line up of artists!

For more information on this event: http://www.tvoysterfest.ca

Follow on Twitter: @TVoysterfest

Follow on Facebook: @TyneValleyOysterFestival

Follow on Instagram: @tvoysterfest

Glengarry Highland Games

Where: Maxville, ON, Canada
When: August 3rd – 4th, 2019

Why it should be on your bucket list: This side of the Atlantic may be less aware of what exactly ‘Highland Games’ are but let this festival in Ontario be a proper introduction. It’s everything you could ask for in the Scots and Celtic tradition: pipe band performance, competitions in highland dancing and heavies, a tug of war, a fiddling play, a kilt run, and whiskey tastings, to soak it all up.

Some of the massed pipe bands include over 1,000 pipers and drummers, and they are set on making a lot of noise. It’s two days of this sort of partying, set with a ton of Scottish food and activities for kids.

Ready to be quite literally blown away?

For more information on this event: https://glengarryhighlandgames.com/

Follow on Twitter: @TheGHG

Follow on Instagram: @theghg

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Where:  Albuquerque, NM, USA
When: October 5th – 13th, 2019

Why it should be on your bucket list: The hot air balloon rides, do we need to say anymore?  This event, we guarantee, is like nothing you’ve ever seen before in your entire life! Imagine a sky filled with hundreds of different coloured hot air balloons floating in the air. You can turn this imagination into a reality when you visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held every year in New Mexico, and witness over 500 air balloons fly over your head, creating an almost magical kind of atmosphere for the over 800, 000 visitors. Not only watching, but you will also have an opportunity to fly up in a hot air balloon as well! Here, making it one of the best festivals in the US and why we had to select it as one of our top picks.

For more information on this event: https://balloonfiesta.com/  

Follow on Twitter: @balloonfiesta

Follow on Facebook: @balloonfiesta

Follow on Instagram: @balloonfiesta

Nocturne: Art at Night

Where: Halifax, NS, Canada

When: October 11th – 13th, 2019

Why it should be on your bucket list: The streets of Halifax and Dartmouth come alive for this three day/night long festival.  The night that you do not want to miss though is Saturday, October 12. That’s when over 35,000 people take over the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth for what is considered the largest arts night east of Montreal, Quebec.

The standout event includes the Ferry-oke, which is karaoke on the ferry between Halifax and Dartmouth waterfronts, as well as the Anchor Project Program, which brings together both nationally and internationally recognized artists for events throughout the day, and night.

The festival prides itself on patronage, having supported hundreds of artists through grants in the past. And on this one night, the general public is invited to take part in the fun.

The event is free of charge, which means that you have the opportunity see some amazing artist’s work and check out all that the Halifax and Dartmouth waterfronts have to offer without breaking the budget.  Sounds good right?  We thought so, and this is why it is on our top picks.

For more information on this event:  https://nocturnehalifax.ca/  

Follow on Twitter: @NocturneHalifax

Follow on Facebook: @NocturneHalifax

Follow on Instagram: @nocturnehalifax

Attending an amazing festival that we might have missed or you think is worthy of being put in the spotlight, then reach out to us at festivals@spotlightbizmag.com and put the spotlight on your favorite festival for our 2020 list.

Remember to tag us on social media (Twitter @spotlightbizmag / Facebook @spotlightbizmag / Instagram @spotlightonbizmag) and use #festivalfun so that we can share your experience with our readers.