European Music Festivals You Shouldn’t Miss
If Europe is known for its food, palaces and fashion, it is equally famous for music festivals across the length and width of the continent from the Isle of Wight to Croatia. If you love classical music, there are music festivals in Europe to satiate your appetite. Jazz or rock music, you name it, there is a festival going on somewhere. What you have is an experience beyond compare. There are dozens of music fests but a few are worth a mention.
The Prague Spring Festival
Held each year in Prague in the Czech Republic during the months of May and June, the Prague Spring Festival draws connoisseurs of classical music from around the world to view stupendous performances by acclaimed artists. History has been made and will continue to be made at this festival where performances are held in the National Theatre, the Municipal House, the Estates Theatre and the State Opera. Some of the greatest composers and conductors to have performed at this outstanding festival in Europe are Leopold Stokowski, Paul Hindemith, Pierre Boulez, Herbert von Karajan, Charles Munch and Karel Ancerl. If you are in Eastern Europe you may not want to miss some legendary violin, piano or cello performances.
Festival Chopin, Warsaw
Each year the Fryderyk Chopin Institute organizes the festival Chopin in Warsaw where world renowned classical artists perform to an enthralled audience listening rapturously to some timeless music. Held in the latter part of August, so if you happen to be in that part of the world and love classical music, Warsaw should be on your list.
The Isle of Wight Festival, UK
This is a different kettle of fish, aimed at contemporary music lovers. Started in 1968, the performance by Bob Dylan in 1969 drew an epic crowd of 200000 and since then it has been getting better. Jimi Hendrix, The Who and the Doors are but a few of the outstanding musicians to have given the Isle of Wight Festival a permanent place on the map of music festivals in Europe. It comes together in June and you can buy camping or non-camping tickets.
Open’er Festival, Poland
If you like rock, pop, reggae and electronic funk, Gdynia in Poland hosts the Open’er Festival, one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. Held in July at an open airfield, the music starts late afternoon and goes on till the wee hours of the night. It is more than a festival, it is a meeting ground for cultures and you can take the opportunity to enjoy the countryside as well.
Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland
You have jazz in Poland, in Germany and across the face of Europe but the Montreux Jazz Festival held in Switzerland each year is unarguably one of the best known. The festival took root in 1967 and has been the venue for inspiring performances by top jazz artists from all over the world. Claude Nobs is credited with having initiated this festival in Montreux that has seen the likes of Miles Davis, Quincy Jones and BB King perform to enraptured audiences. The festival lasts all of 16 days across 12 venues, 10 of which are free. Unbelievable though it may sound, about 1000 musicians perform during these 16 days, playing 1000 hours of music to over 230000 jazz lovers from around the world. Don’t miss it for the entire world if you happen to be there at the right time.
Photo by steveiow on Flickr