Here are 12 of the most popular August festivals around the world that you will want to add to your travel bucket list!
August is the perfect time to travel and there are many great celebrations in August around the world. There is no better way to immerse yourself in local culture than by participating at a festival. The memories of everything you experienced will stay with you forever.
There are so many amazing festivals in the month of August around the world to experience, so here is our bucket list pick of the 12 best August festivals that offer something for everyone, no matter what your interests are.
N.B. We will updating this list regularly, so if you have any festivals or events you think should make the list, please let us know in the comments section.
Did You Know?
- August is named after the Roman emperor Augustus.
- August was once the sixth month of the year. In the original ten-month Roman calendar, the month went by the name of Sextilis, meaning “the sixth month” in Latin. It wasn’t until around 700BC that August was rudely shoved back in the order of months when January and February were added to the beginning of the year by King Numa Pompilius.
- In August 1762, the sandwich, as we know it, was created when the Earl of Sandwich requested meat between two pieces of bread.
- August is the month to celebrate International Cat Day (8th), National Bacon Lovers Day (20th), Red Wine Day (28th), and Eat Outside Day (31st).
“I can resist everything but temptation.”– Christopher Smith, Burning Man –
August Festivals Around the World
Here are the best August festivals and celebrations to add to your bucket list travel calendar.
1. Boomtown Festival – South Downs National Park, Winchester, UK
Recommended by Kerry at ‘My Everyday Treats’
- Where: Matterley Estate in South Downs National Park, Winchester, UK
- When: Annually during the second weekend of August: 9 – 13 August, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
- Duration: 5 days
If you’re looking for an eclectic and inspiring range of music, décor, and theatrical displays, then look no further than Boomtown Festival in the UK. Unlike any other festival you will have been to, Boomtown has designed itself around the concept of a pop-up city. Divided into uptown and downtown, the districts are creatively crafted into an overall storyline that develops each year. Expect to see walkabout theatricals and just about every music genre you can think of. From swing and jazz to drum and bass booming out of incredible stages that are so elaborate and unique, they put all other UK festivals to shame.
Revellers can get totally immersed into the socially topical storyline with secret societies, clues and actors positioned throughout this event. Or you can choose to completely ignore it and just enjoy the high energy festival atmosphere. Environmental issues are particularly important to the founders of Boomtown, and you will see this throughout their storyline and the way they promote their events.
Boomtown takes places during the second weekend of August and lasts for 4 – 5 nights in a town near Winchester, UK. You can even choose to get an early-bird Wednesday ticket if you can stomach a longer event.
One thing that is for sure, if you go to Boomtown once, it will not be your last time.
Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Winchester HERE!
2. Burning Man – Nevada, USA
Recommended by Katy at ‘A Rambling Unicorn’
- Where: Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA
- When: Annually in August / September: 27 August – 4 September, 2023 | 25 August – 2 September, 2024
- Duration: 8 days
Burning Man is one of those events that’s hard to explain for those who have never attended. Part music festival, part art festival and part experimental temporary community, Burning Man is all of those things – and so much more.
Burning Man is unique in that it is entirely participant-driven. Most attendees join theme camps, and each camp is responsible for providing something – for free – to the entire community. From dance parties to Ted Talks, and from mobile art bars to a Mad Max-style Thunderdome, there is something for everyone at Burning Man. The event runs on a gifting economy and nothing is available for sale.
When participants tire from visiting theme camps, they can wander into the expansive salt flats and admire massive art installations. The two most important structures in the playa are The Man and The Temple. Most structures are burned by the end of the week in a moving ritual.
Burning Man attendees practice a philosophy called radical self-reliance. This means that they must bring everything they need to survive for an entire week – including food, water, and shelter. It is a lot of work and the harsh desert conditions – along with the countercultural vibe – isn’t for everyone. But for those who return year after year, it is a life-changing experience.
Located in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, United States, Burning Man takes place every year on the week leading up to Labour Day.
DON’T MISS OUT… BOOK EARLY! Check availability AND PRICES oF accommodation options in Nevada NOW!
3. Creamfields – Daresbury, UK
Recommended by Sylvie at ‘Travels With Eden’
- Where: Daresbury, UK
- When: Annually in over the UK August bank week holiday: 24 – 28 August, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
- Duration: 5 days
Creamfields is one of the best festivals globally and one you just can’t not attend. The festival is one of the world’s best electronic dance music festivals and won the World’s Best Festival Award from DJ Mag in 2019! Although Creamfields is mainly known for EDM, there are many trance, drum and bass, and techno DJs. Regular headliners include Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Tiesto, Fatboy Slim, Marrying Garrix, and Armin Van Buuren.
If you’re camping, there are several ticket options available. Day ticket holders have the choice of standard or Gold. Standard has no shower facilities available, Bronze has basic shower facilities, and Silver has better shower and toilet facilities. A Gold ticket gives you the same access as Silver, with the addition of the use of a ‘Pamper Tent’ where you can get ready for the festival in style. A meal a day is also provided to Gold ticket holders.
Creamfields is located in Daresbury and is easily accessible from Liverpool and Manchester. The festival is held over the UK August bank holiday weekend. Spanning four days in total, Thursday is reserved for campers only and day tickets are available for Friday through to Sunday. There are also several international versions of the Cream festival. You can find Cream nights regularly hosted in Ibiza and Creamfields Steelyard nights throughout the UK and worldwide.
Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Daresbury HERE!
4. Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Edinburgh, Scotland
- Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
- When: Annually in August: 4 – 28 August, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
- Duration: approx. 3 weeks
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world’s largest arts festival and takes place annually in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was established in 1947 by a group of young theatre and opera professionals who wanted to showcase new and innovative work, rather than just the traditional West End and Broadway shows, to the general public outside of London.
The festival takes place annually in August and lasts for three weeks. There are over 3,000 music, theatre, opera and dance performances from around the world that take place during the festival. Around 500 of those being free of charge. The festival is a platform for artists to show their work and provides a space for them to experiment and push boundaries. It also offers a space for audiences to come together and share their love of art.
During the entire month of August, Edinburgh city hosts a number of other big name festivals. Expect amazing performances at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival, the increasingly popular Cowal Highland Games, and Edinburgh Foodies Festival.
BOOK EARLY! Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Edinburgh NOW!
5. Elvis Week – Graceland, Memphis, USA
- Where: Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
- When: Annually August: 9 – 17 August, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
- Duration: 9 days
Elvis Week is a week-long celebration of Elvis Presley’s life, legacy and enduring influence. It began in 1977 when the city of Memphis declared the week of August 16 to 22 as “Elvis Week” in honour of his death on the 16 August, 1977.
Elvis Presley was a singer and actor, but he was also an American icon. He is remembered for his music and his acting, but he also represents something much more—the essence of America in the 1950s and 1960s. Elvis’s music was a symbol of rebellion and independence, which appealed to young people at the time. His success as a singer and actor made him one of the most popular celebrities of his day.
Elvis Presley became an American icon because he embodied many different aspects of what it means to be an American: rebelliousness, independence, optimism, entertainment value, and more.
During this time, Graceland becomes home to more than 10,000 visitors each year. The festivities include an annual Candlelight Vigil at Graceland, and an evening Elvis Concert on the anniversary date of his death (16th August). There is also the “Walk of Fame” ceremony where people are awarded with a commemorative plaque in honour or memory of their contribution to Elvis’ legacy. There are also many other events that are open to the public including panel discussions with Elvis’ family and friends and the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.
Check availability AND PRICES oF accommodation options in Memphis
6. Hungry Ghost Festival – All Across China
- Where: All Across China
- When: Annually in mid to late August or early September: 30 August, 2023 | 18 August, 2024
- Duration: 1 day
The Hungry Ghost Festival is a Chinese festival that celebrates the lives of the dead. This festival, also called Yu Lan Jie, is celebrated on the day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, which usually falls in mid to late August or early September. It is said that during this time, the gates of hell open and hungry spirits and ghosts are free to roam the earth.
The Hungry Ghost Festival originated from ancient China, where people believe that during this time, there are more hungry ghosts roaming around than usual and they need to be fed to appease them. This tradition started as a way for people to show their gratitude towards those who have passed away and to make sure they are not forgotten by their loved ones.
In preparation for this event, people will buy offerings and set up altars to honour their ancestors and to appease wandering spirits. They also prepare food and other items that can be given to those who are not as fortunate as them. Offerings include fruit, flowers, paper money (Joss paper), tea light candles etc.
The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated by many Asian cultures with different foods eaten in each region. Some people offer food to appease these spirits while others offer food because they believe that it will bring good luck for them or their family. The foods eaten during a hungry ghost festival can vary depending on what country you are in, but some common foods include cakes, soup, fruits, and noodles.
Check PRICES AND availability oF accommodation options in China HERE!
7. La Feria de Flores (Festival of Flowers) – Medellín, Colombia
Recommended by Kristin at ‘Growing Global Citizens’
- Where: Medellín, Colombia
- When: Annually in late July / early August: 7 – 14 August, 2023 | 2 – 11 August, 2024
- Duration: 2 weeks
For two weeks in early August, Medellín, Colombia celebrates its token event, La Feria de Flores, or Festival of Flowers. The Antioquia region is a large exporter of flowers, and the festival also celebrates hundreds of years of tradition in the region.
The culminating event is the silleta contest and the parade of the winners. The silletas are giant flower creations on a wooden platform that silleteros carry on their backs. Hundreds of years ago silleteros carried a chair-like contraption to transport people! These days the silletas are round masterpieces as big as 8 feet in diameter and contain dozens of types of flowers and greenery. Some are abstract and others use flowers in the shape of words and images to design a social message or a brand logo.
During the festival many people take tours to the small town of Santa Elena to see the flower farms and silleteros in action making the silletas. You can also see the process at various festival grounds around the city. These grounds have areas with food, craft markets, and stages with entertainment. The musical venues host the unique tradition of the “troubador” or improv singers. This fan favourite is like duelling pianos but with singers. If that weren’t enough, there is also a parade of vintage cars, which are, of course, decorated with flowers.
DON’T MISS OUT… Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Medellin NOW!
8. La Tomatina – Buñol, Valencia, Spain
Recommended by Jori at ‘The Tejana Abroad’
- Where: Buñol, Valencia, Spain
- When: Annually in August: 30 August, 2023 | 28 August, 2024
- Duration: 1 day
If you haven’t heard of Tomatina, you’re in for a treat! This crazy Spanish festival consists of a day filled with parties, festivities, and throwing tomatoes at each other.
The festival started in 1945, when locals from the small town of Buñol got into a fight next to a fruit and vegetable stand. Soon, the people nearby began to pick up the tomatoes and a food fight ensued, until the police had to stop the conflict. The food fight became a tradition for the town, although there was a lot of protest from the older generation during the first decade. In 1957, a protest was held to keep the tradition, and La Tomatina became an official festival!
Every year during late August, the small town of Buñol comes alive as locals and tourists alike take to the streets and have a food fight with tomatoes passed down through the streets. By the end of the fight, participants are wading through tomato juice down the street. The fight lasts about an hour, after which you can clean up, eat, drink, and party in the streets until the festivities die down.
The easiest way to get to Tomatina is by arranging transport from Valencia. There are buses, trains, or you have the option of renting a car. Some buses that you book include the price of entrance. The entrance by itself will cost you 10 euros (about $15 USD). Alternatively, you can reach Buñol from Barcelona, even if it takes a little bit longer.
Be sure to wear clothes that you can throw away later because you WILL get soaked in tomato juice and chances are they will be ruined!
BOOKE YOUR ACCOMMODATION EARLY SO YOU DON’T MISS OUT! Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Buñol NOW!
9. Notting Hill Carnival – Notting Hill, West London, England
- Where: Notting Hill, West London, England
- When: Annually on the August Bank Holiday Weekend: 27 – 28 August, 2023 | 25 – 26 August, 2024
- Duration: 2 days
The Notting Hill Carnival is a free event that’s been taking place every August Bank Holiday since 1964 on the streets of Notting Hill in London, England. The carnival is the largest street festival of its kind in Europe, attracting more than one million people to the celebration from all over the world.
The carnival was first celebrated following a meeting between two Trinidadian men and a group of friends from London who were interested in West Indian music and dancing. They decided to organize a street party for the local community to celebrate Caribbean culture.
Today, the carnival is organised by a not-for-profit organisation called London Notting Hill Carnival Limited and has been run by volunteers since it began. It celebrates the British West Indian community and encourages cultural unity. It also celebrates the end of the summer season.
The day is celebrated by enjoying a variety of cuisines from around the world such as Caribbean cuisine, African cuisine, Indian cuisine and much more. Over 50,000 live performances take place over the course of the day, some of which are free while others cost £5 or £10 for a ticket. The most popular way to celebrate at this carnival though is to dance! You will see thousands of people dancing in the street to some amazing music.
Check availability AND PRICES oF accommodation options in London
10. Rock en Seine – Paris, France
Recommended by Lena at ‘Salut From Paris’
- Where: Paris, France
- When: Annually in the last weekend in August: 23 – 27 August, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
- Duration: 4 days
The music Festival Rock en Seine marks the end of summer vacation for many Parisians. Scheduled for the last weekend in August, it’s a last highlight before getting back to the daily grind. Contrary to many festivals, Rock en Seine is not targeted at young adults or teenagers in Paris, it is for everyone! From children to oldies, everyone celebrates together.
Rock en Seine means live music from internationally known artists like The Cure, Arctic Monkey or Foo Fighters, that are sharing the stages with popular French bands, and newcomers. Apart from enjoying the music, you can also participate in many cultural activities: art projects, discussions, exhibition or sports.
But it wouldn’t be Paris if good food, drinks and a laid-back atmosphere wouldn’t be a priority as well. Where else could you expect to get Fois Gras, champagne and of course a selection of good wines at a rock festival?
If the pit isn’t your favourite place, you can also just bring your own food, a picnic cover and relax on your own terms. The festival event takes place in the wide castle gardens of St. Cloud and offers quiet and shady areas for everyone.
Rock en Seine is also a very family-friendly festival. A closed section is designated to children up to 10 years, who, very conveniently, are granted free entrance, and are even provided free hearing protection.
Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Paris HERE!
11. Sziget Festival – Budapest, Hungary
- Where: Budapest, Hungary
- When: Annually in mid-August: 10 – 15 August, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
- Duration: 6 days
The Sziget Festival is a music festival that takes place in the middle of August every year in Hungary. It is one of the largest music festivals in Europe, with approximately half a million visitors every year.
The festival takes place on Óbudai Island in Budapest, which was once a military base for the Soviet Union’s Red Army. The area is the perfect venue to host this large event with the stages alone ranging from gigantic (Main Stage), to intimate (Gay Bar), and from closed area’s (A-38) to open (Colosseum). You can pitch your tent anywhere on the grounds, or bring hammocks and build your own mini campsite in the trees.
Expect to see featured a mix of international and Hungarian bands playing rock, indie, electronica, hip-hop, jazz and world music. Alternatively, you can watch movies in an open air cinema, visit exhibitions and lectures about music, art, film and other topics, or enjoy a wide range of food stalls with different cuisines. If you enjoy a drink (or ten…), find the Gaybar and kiss the bartender for a beer, or drink your cocktail in the Skybar at 80 meters up in the air.
Check RATES AND availability oF accommodation options in Budapest
12. Venice International Film Festival – Venice, Italy
- Where: Venice, Italy
- When: Annually at the end of August and beginning of September: 30 August – 9 September, 2023 | 2024 dates TBC
- Duration: 10 days
We have added the Venice International Film Festival to our post on the ‘Best Festivals in September” because it is in both months.
Read more about the Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy in our post on the Best Festivals held in September Around the World
In Summary – The Best August Festivals Around the World
You can find many festivals around the world which are held throughout every month of the year. You will be spoilt for choice if you choose to celebrate at one of the many festivals of August as there are lots of both smaller and larger festivals out there for you to pick from and enjoy.
What is your favourite August festival around the world and why? Have you been to any of our list of the best festivals in August around the world listed above? Have we missed any July celebrations around the world you think we should add? Post your tips, comments and questions below.
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Want more info to help you plan your next trip? Check out all the articles we’ve written about the ‘Best of World Travel’ inn all parts of the world.
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