MAGAZINE

These Are the 300 Best Festivals in the World in 2018

Photo by: Q-Dance
by Laura Mason | @masonlazarus Mon January 15, 2018 | 09:00 AM

We can all agree it’s been a rough year, and festivals have often been the only escape from all the turmoil and hatred filling the airwaves, magazines, newspapers and internet. In fact, it seems that festivals are now more important than ever as a way to get away from the negativity, connect in real life, rejoice in each others' diversity, and dream together of a better world. To celebrate the role of festivals in our lives, we salute the brightest, best and most bombastic music and cultural festivals around the globe with our annual Fest300 List. Today, we bring the Fest300 List to you in full, fresh for your new year of festivaling in 2018.

These 300 festivals range from the iconic favorites to the new kids on the block who're quickly building a legacy, from the massive mainstream behemoths to the intimate and independent, from the artsy to the dude-my-face-is-melting, from the family friendly to the holy-sh*t-shield-your-eyes bizarre.

Luminate Festival 2017 Lisa Ismael    1 Of 27

For those of you new to how we do things around here, it goes like this. Each November, Fest300 staff launches the annual Best Fest Quest, wherein we remove 30 festivals from our list and asks the international festival community to vote on 30 new ones for the next year's list to things fresh and current. Out of 100 nominees this year, a fascinating swath of new events were voted – by their fans – onto the list, from Tokyo's near-religious worship of the sacred cherry blossom, Ueno Sakura Matsuri, to one of the greatest spectacles in all of electronic music, the gargantuan Defqon.1 in the Netherlands.

Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale Japan Art Place Book Fram Kitagawa   01

Photo by: Osamu Nakamura

In years past our readership has voted almost all music festivals onto the list, but, interestingly, this year saw a whopping six arts and cultural festivals – Berlin Festival of Lights (Germany), Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale (Japan), Tribeca Film Festival (USA), Napoli Pizza Village (Italy), POW! WOW! Hawaii (USA), and the aforementioned Ueno Sakura Matsuri (Japan) – make the cut. Many of the music festivals that made the list in 2018 are dance music-focused – such as Groove Cruise (USA), Spring Awakening (USA), MTN Bushfire (Swaziland), and Electric Love Festival (Austria) – but as always, the thirst for immersive, boutique gatherings like Stilldream Festival (USA), Day For Night (USA), Carnaval de Bahidorá (Mexico), Luminate Festival (New Zealand), and Wonderfruit Festival (Thailand) remains during a time when mainstream music festival lineups everywhere are becoming increasingly homogenized.

No matter the festival genre, the international festival community's heartening dedication to its favorite events illustrates our need more than ever to applaud any chance we get to escape and connect through music and art, and share ideas and progressive thought in order to create real change in an increasingly broken world. Congratulations to this year's 30 new additions to the Fest300 List, as well as the 270 legacy festivals, all of which work hard year-round to dream up life-altering experiences for the rest of us.

2018 Winners

These incredible new additions to the 2018 Fest300 List join the rest of the world's best festivals below...

Africa and Middle East

Nyege Nyege Festival 2016 Tweny Benjamin 1

Nyege Nyege Festival. Photo by: Tweny Benjamin

Asia

Australia and Oceania

Strawberry Fields 2017 Duncographic    1 Of 38

Strawberry Fields. Photo by: Duncographic for Strawberry Fields

Caribbean and Central America

Junkanoo 2013 Michael Glass   03

Junkanoo Parade. Photo by: Michael Glass

Europe

Sonar Festival 2017   30

Sonár Festival. Photo by: Sónar Festival

North America

Desert Hearts Spring 2017 Galen Oakes   18

Desert Hearts. Photo by: Galen Oakes

View the complete Fest300 List at Everfest.com/Fest300