Festivals are no longer synonymous with mud and rain. Plenty of summer gems across Europe provide smaller, warmer gatherings enveloped with stunning scenery and offering luxurious accommodation. With only 500 attendees, the SunSplash festival in Antalya, Turkey is a good example of the growing trend. Hosted by a five-star, beachside hotel, SunSplash is a continuous party with world-renowned DJs and the comfort of an excellent night’s sleep at the end of it. Interspersing the revelry, guests can refresh with inclusive daily yoga or treatments in the onsite spa, attend music workshops, or even hike to the summit of nearby Mount Tahtali.
The Calgary Stampede was dreamt up in 1912 by Guy Weadick, a famous cowboy and vaudeville entertainer, who loved the culture of the old west. Now, this not-for-profit community organisation continues the dream, presenting an extravaganza of rodeo, singing, dancing, canvas carriage derbies and agricultural displays. The site is divided into themed areas: Bell Centenial Plaza houses talent acts; Western Oasis celebrates the beauty of western countryside; the Indian Village explores Alberta’s cultural roots; and Draft Horse Town lets visitors encounter horses up close. The Stampede Parade is a big highlight, covering two miles and featuring bands, floats, riders and celebrities.
Although Sweden is sometimes reluctant to consider ABBA its main export, this recently opened museum reveals a soft spot for the band. Visitors will be able to peruse the band members’ most famous costumes, gold records and a vast collection of memorabilia – including Benny’s piano and the tiny helicopter from the cover of The Arrival LP. Beyond ABBA, the museum houses a Swedish Music Hall of Fame, celebrating such successes as The Knife, The Cardigans and Swedish House Mafia. A further exhibition gives an overview of Swedish pop music, from 1920. But the highlight has to be singing along to ABBA classics with life-size holograms of the famous four.
As August begins, the streets of Scotland’s capital are quickly covered with a cascade of artists, mimes, comedians, dancers, jugglers, actors and thousands of tourists begging to be entertained. Every bit of venue space is appropriated for festival use, offering punters everything from cabaret to physical theatre, via improvised comedy, acrobatics and spoken word. Although there will always be entertainers flogging free shows, be sure to book advance tickets for your favourite acts as the big names sell out fast and there’s nothing worse than trying to surreptitiously slip out of a ten-person audience while an amateur comedian crashes and burns in an uncomfortable half hour of total silence.