Wild parties worth the pilgrimage
Everybody knows about Mardi Gras, Carnival, and Oktoberfest. Been there, done that. Burning Man, Running with the Bulls, and the Japanese Penis Festival? Check. Check. Ummm… wait, what'd you say?!? But there are a ton of other wild parties around the world (the Oregon State Fair, anyone?) that -- while you may know of them -- aren't necessarily on your bucket list. Until now, that is. Here are seven worth the pilgrimage.
Przystanek Woodstock -- Kostrzyn, Poland
Started back in the day when Lollapalooza was still cool, this almost-twenty-year-old, two-day music fest (dubbed Polish Woodstock) goes down every Summer in Kostrzyn nad Odra, and regularly packs in upwards of 500,000 Poles eager to rock out to over 30 bands... for free! Yeah, no tickets required. Mark your calendar as Skid Row's (!!) already committed to next year's 20th anniversary show.
Fantasy Fest -- Key West, FL
Despite a name that suggests thousands of lonely virgins playing D&D in the Javits Center, Fantasy Fest's actually one of the country's top adult Halloween costume soirees. In addition to a giant parade down Key West's Duval Street, there're a week of themed redneck parties (women in Daisy Dukes, guys in camo), fetish balls, and costume contests where the only thing prohibited is actual clothing. If you like toga keggers, body paint, and/or dressing like a pirate, make a move to Key West next October.
Trinidad Carnival -- Trinidad
Skip Rio and the Big Easy this year, and embrace the rhythm of the Caribbean’s biggest carnival instead. Rum and pounding soca beats will propel you through a night of parties and concerts, culminating with a till-the-sun-comes-up march through the streets of Port of Spain (called j’ouvert), during which you’ll be splattered with mud -- at least we think it's mud. But that’s just the kick off; two days of Carnival parades follow, complete with costumed dancers, food & drink trucks, and Trini-style dancing that makes twerking look like a Viennese Waltz.
Distortion -- Copenhagen, Denmark
Packing over 125,000 people into the streets of Copenhagen on the first Saturday of June, this insane "celebration of street & nightlife" that started in '98 as a one-night party has grown into a roaming, five-day, mixed-music affair (held each day in a different 'hood), complete with over 150 dance floors.
Glastonbury Festival -- Glastonbury, United Kingdom
Deep in the English countryside, in the shadow of an ancient hill that was the final resting place of King Arthur, Britain’s greatest rock show goes off every June in a carnival-like atmosphere that runs 24/7 for five days straight. Since it debuted in 1970, everyone's played Glasto; T Rex, the Smiths, The White Stripes and U2, to name a few. 175,000 or so fans camp out for the week and enjoy not just the music, but all the hippie hijinks -- costumes, communal parties, circus performers, and cabaret shows -- that come along with a giant, temporary party town on a grassy knoll.
Sturgis -- Sturgis, SD
Assuming you appreciate the roar of 400,000 hogs rolling through town, you're going to want to gas up the Vespa and make haste to Sturgis, South Dakota during the first week of August. Held almost every year since 1938 (WWII excluded), this famous motorcycle rally started with races & stunts, and today attracts hundreds of thousands of bikers (and their families) from across the globe.
Ibiza Summer parties -- Ibiza, Spain
As you no doubt already know from repeated viewings of David Guetta's video (featuring Akon) Sexy B*tch, the party atmosphere here's simply awesome. Like, we-totally-should've-been-a-French-DJ kind of awesome. What were we thinking!?! Combine the hot Spanish sun, blue Mediterranean waters, topless beaches, and some of the best nightclubs in Europe (including the world-famous Pacha), and you've got the world's premier party island. During the summer, there’s a party literally every night. While the action is hottest during October's season-closing soirees, try to avoid going in August, when seemingly every European college kid jams the island, and the beaches are nothing but wall-to-wall people.