May is such a great time to travel, no matter which hemisphere you’re in. Whether it’s spring or autumn, the air is warm and the nights are mild...at least where our favourite May events are being held. We know that not everyone travels the same so we've picked out some of the best events to see in May.
On your own: World Village Festival, Helsinki, Finland
The organisers of the free World Village Festival (Maailma kylässä in Finnish), held on the 25th and 26th May, describe it as ‘an open meeting place as well as a platform for music, circus, dance, theatre, art and activities’.
Every year this festival hosts musicians, NGOs, ethical vendors and speakers from around the world; this year’s theme is human rights, with a special focus on East and South-East Asia and you can expect to hear everything from Bollywood to funk and everything in between. Finnish hip hop group the Don Johnson Big Band have already been announced and gigs will carry on long into the night at nightclubs around the city.
Whether you want to dance in your own space or get to know like-minded travellers from around the world, the World Village Festival is a great, relaxing way to spend a couple of days. We love that it’s held at Kaisaniemi Park and Railway Square right in the centre of Helsinki, making it easy to find and easy to get to. Did we mention that it’s free?
With a friend: The Australian Heritage Festival, Jondaryan, Australia
So you’re travelling around Australia and you know all about the beaches, the kangaroos and Ayers Rock...but what about the country’s pioneer history?
Just a couple of hours’ drive out of Brisbane is the town of Jondaryan, which hosts the annual Australian Heritage Festival. This fest will immerse you in the old days, where you can see locals in period clothing demonstrating traditional leatherworking, blacksmithing, wood carving, sheep shearing, whip-making (and cracking!) and more. There will also be displays of old-fashioned beekeeping and cheese-making the hard way. It’s all held in and around a vintage woolshed and is a really fun thing to do with a couple of friends for the day. The festival is held on the weekend of the 3rd-6th May and a day ticket is just AUD$15.50.
As a couple: The Houston Art Car Parade, Houston, USA
Travelling with your beau and looking for a neat slice of unique Americana? Head for Houston, Texas from 9th-11th May. For the last 26 years the city has hosted the annual Art Car Parade, which features more than 250 old cars transformed into moving sculptures. With pretty much no rules to follow, the entrants can really stretch their imaginations. This parade has seen everything from cars covered in thousands of tiny objects to giant high heels on wheels.
The party starts very early on 10th May, with a pre-parade party at 9am, live music from 11am and the parade starting at 1pm. You’ll see people in costume on bicycles darting between the cars, with some of the crowd dressed up, too!
Afterwards, we recommend you dress yourselves up in your most outlandish party clothes and head for the Legendary Art Car Ball at the Orange Show Centre for Visionary Art. Tickets are only USD$25 in advance and the main act is southern rapper Vockah Redu. Last year’s ball was a bit of a carnival, with burlesque and cabaret acts and neon-lit cars, so expect to be well entertained this year, too.
In a group: The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, Kilkenny, Ireland
Happening around the city from 30th May to 3rd June (a bank holiday weekend), The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival is a great way to discover Kilkenny in a group. The shows are held in traditional pubs and fine theatres so you can get a varied taste of this picturesque medieval town.
This year’s festival line-up includes some of the best Irish and international stand-up comedians like Andrew Maxwell, Dylan Moran, Kevin Bridges and Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock. There are also some great shows like Simon Nunnery’s La Concepta – set in an eccentric foodless restaurant – and a free Ireland vs. Rest of the World football match played by the comedians themselves. Best of all, ticket prices range from €9 to €26, so you and your friends won’t break the bank.
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