MAGAZINE

The 15 Craziest World Records Broken at Festivals

Photo by: Victor Frankowski
by Emily Ward | @_drawylime Fri September 01, 2017 | 01:00 PM

You didn't think festivals were just for food, music, art, film, hanging with your festie friends and camping, did you? 

Nope. They're also breeding grounds for attempts to break world records. It makes sense; massive groups of people come with the festival territory, and this summer was indeed a busy one. Our friends over at Electric Forest fell just short of their goal for the World's Largest Group Hug, but Bonnaroo got their hands up and got it done. 

If you have a dream to do something wild at a festival that the world will know about, get it down on paper and get in those record books like these brave pioneers profiled below did.

1. Most Robots Dancing Simultaneously: Qingdao Beer Festival

Robots and beer festivals don't make any sense. Right? Not so fast, says China. Ever Win Company Ltd., a Chinese robotics manufacturer, staged this record-setting performance at "Asian Oktoberfest" Qingdao Beer Festival in 2015. Wanting to show off its newest technology, the company chose the massive beer festival to bring 1,040 robots (each 43.8cm tall and named "QRC-2") to attempt the world record at "Most Robots Dancing Simultaneously." Activated and controlled by just one cell phone, the robots "had to dance for a full minute in order to count towards the record total." To start, 1,400 started dancing. Thirty three fell over right away. The other 1,007 awkwardly wiggled their way through a dance routine best described as Macarena-meets-YMCA-ish. Robots at beer festivals: they're just like us.

2. Most High Fives in One Hour: Bonnaroo

Rocking aviator sunglasses and minimal help at his side, a little boy known as "Squish" (kids at festivals are killin' it these days) broke the world record at Bonnaroo this past June for most high fives in an hour with 2,392 in total. Per Guinness World Record rules, he held his hand over his head for the assembly line of people who came out in droves to support his effort.

3. Largest Disco Ball in the World: Bestival

Bestival is one of the UK's most fun and flashy festivals , and it's no stranger to extreme revelry. Weighing 1.3 tons and soaring over 30 feet high, the world’s largest party starter, the Disco Ball, broke the world record at Bestival in 2014. Organizers proclaimed, “the dazzling disco beauty is as high as a three story building, is covered in 2,500 mirrored tiles that would stretch out for a kilometre if you laid them end to end, and is filled with 350 cubic metres of air; equivalent to one thousand beach balls!” Check out the video above to watch the disco ball come to life, and to see your fellow UK festies in action.

4.  Most Mousetraps Released on the Tongue in One Minute: Maryland Renaissance Festival 

I'm not sure how you discover that this is a skill you possess or are willing to experiment with, but congrats to Casey Severn, who unleashed the power of mousetrap hell on his tongue to the tune of 53 in one minute at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD on October 12, 2014. That's an average of one mousetrap on your tongue per second. Does this guy have any taste buds left or still have the ability to talk?

5. World's Largest Interactive Light Display: Vivid Sydney Festival

We can thank the good folks at Vivid Sydney Festival and 32 Hundred Lighting for this one. The tech and event company teamed up with the festival to install an eye-watering 2,105 light panels, made up of 105,104 individual LEDs, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Circular Quay railway station and nine major skyscrapers. Visitors to the interactive light installation, dubbed "Dress Circle," could control the light via touch sensitive software installed at each site. We like to think of it as the world's largest video game.

6. Most People Wearing Banana Suits at Once: The Voyage 

Dada Life fans are one of a kind, and this year, 629 people proved their passion as they dressed in banana suits at The Voyage, an all-new fest San Bernardino, CA, to beat the previous record of 404 in one gathering. Rules were set as the group both sold suits over the internet and at the festival to make record domination possible.

7. Most Bodies Painted: Woodstock Festival Poland

Two hours. That's how long it took to paint each of the 497 bodies that helped break this world record at Woodstock Festival Poland in 2015, just one year after claiming the same record with 398 people. Kaleidoscopic colors, splashy rainbows, a warm embrace of nudity in the name of spontaneous self-expression, and a place in the history books? That's Woodstock for you.

8. Largest Music Festival Attendance in History: Donauinselfest ("Danube Island Festival”)

In June 2015, 3.3 MILLION people came through this festival in one weekend. That is madness. Donauinselfest is a free outdoor music festival in Vienna, Austria. The video above captures only a slight bit of the sheer volume of humans there, and Guinness World Records says, "the three-day festival's previous attendance record was set in 2013, with 3.2 million visitors. In 2015, 1.2 million people attended on Saturday (June 27), with 1.1 million on Friday and 1 million on Sunday."

9. Most People Twerking Simultaneously: Central City Festival

Leave it to Big Freedia and crew in their New Orleans home base to be the first to set this world record of most people twerking simultaneously. With over 300 people in attendance at the stage, The Central City Festival took the top twerk berth on November 15, 2014. Depending on your level of flexibility and comfort with exhibitionism, twerking can take several forms. However, this version involved no upside-down acrobatics.

10. World's Largest Projected Image: Moscow International "Circle of Light" Festival

 

Vivid Sydney may have claimed "largest interactive light display," via city-wide installations, but Moscow stretched the limits with one projection surface. In December 2016, at the Moscow International "Circle of Light" Festival , the front facade of Moscow State University's main building was covered by one single projection at an astonishing area of 543,125.39 square feet. According to the Guinness World Records team, the visuals "depicted two stories – one relating to the history of the university and the other about the protected areas of Russian landscape – and they were accompanied by voice-overs from actors, musicians and television presenters."

11. World’s Largest Donut Mosaic: Lviv Pampykh Festival

If you happen to enjoy fried food and mosaics are your preferred artistic medium, 7,040 donuts is the magic number to beat. The "World's Largest Donut Mosaic" occurred at the hands of the Lviv Pampykh Festival in Lviv, Ukraine on January 7, 2012. Strains of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" played up the mood as workers busily crafted this feat of culinary artistry. In case you were wondering what the festival did with those rings of frosted deliciousness, yes, they were shared with the public after the record was notched.

12. Largest Shaving Cream Pie Fight: Another Fine Fest

Laurel and Hardy had no idea they would inspire 1,180 people to sling plates loaded with shaving cream at each other. But they did, and residents of Ulverston, England have a place in the record books. Every June, Another Fine Fest celebrates Stanley Laurel and all things slapstick in Laurel's hometown of Ulverston, England. In 2015, festival organizers decided to try for the big one. The Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right (To Party)" plays as the all-ages crowd readies to sling in the video above. Anticipation builds as people spread shaving cream "pies" on the festival's stubbly grass fields. An official sounds the alarm, and the festival becomes a barbershop battleground.

13. Most Hugs Given in 24 Hours: Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo is apparently hotspot for breaking records, as we saw earlier with our friend Squish and his record-breaking high five attempt. In June 2010, Jonathan Sexton gave 8,709 hugs in 24 hours (for an average of 362 hugs per hour) to help break the record and raise money for the United Way, in partnership with Bonnaroo, for flood relief in Nashville, Tennessee that year. The festival matched his effort with donations up to $10,000.

14. Greatest Mass Ascent of Hot Air Balloons: Lorraine Mondial Air Balloons

America has one of the world's premiere hot air balloon festivals in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which features hundreds of delightfully clever and beautiful hot air balloons. But alas, when it comes to world records, the French have us beatLorraine Mondial Air Balloons in Lorraine, France beat the world record and raised 408 balloons in the sky at once on July 31, 2013.

15. Largest Stage Rig at a Festival: Villa Mix Festival

The Villa Mix Festival Goiânia Edição in Brazil stole the record from superstar rockers U2 in 2015 with a stage measuring at 30,013.98 feet in length and 171 feet in height. The stage cost between 15 and 20 million Euros to produce from start to finish, and required more than 100 trucks to transport. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the stage required "628 tons of equipment, 1,191.50 square meters of LED screens and with the dedication of 1,500 workers during a period of 31 days, the Villa Mix stage rig was the first record attempted in the capital of the Brazilian state Goiás."

Honorable Mention

Electric Forest: Attempts World's Largest Group Hug