Music tourism

Music tourism is the act of visiting a city or town, to see a music festival or other music performances. This sort of tourism is particularly important to small villages such as Glastonbury, as well as large cities like Glasgow.

The fairly recent jam band phenomenon is a contemporary example that encourages music tourism. Music festivals are visited by many tourists annually.

The Artful Music Tourist Board is a movement, started to celebrate this, in 2003 by musicians and their friends at The Paradise Bar (now Royal Albert pub) in London, UK.

Music-related events and destinations
There are a large number of music festivals held around the world, usually annually, that attract non-local visitors. The self-proclaimed largest music festival in the world is Summerfest, an 11-day event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with an annual attendance of nearly 1,000,000 people.

There are also a number of annual carnivals, events that include music, dancing and street parties. Some major ones include Rio Carnival in Brazil, which attracts 500,000 foreign visitors annually, and the Salvador de Bahia carnival, which is the largest street party, and attracts crowds of up to two million people throughout its week-long duration.

The Notting Hill Carnival (London, UK) is one of the largest street parties in Europe and attracts around one million people each year.

The Love Parade, an electronic dance music festival in Germany held from 1989 to 2010, saw crowds of 1.6 million at its peak.

There are hundreds of annual jazz festivals around the world, with the largest, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, seeing 2.5 million attendees every year, one third of whom are tourists.

Overall, an estimated 10 million people travel internationally each year for the main purpose of watching or participating in a music or cultural festival.

There are also some cities and areas that serve as year-round destinations for music-related travel, such as New Orleans for Dixieland, zydeco and other music, some cities in Europe (including Bayreuth in Germany, Vienna in Austria. Aix-en-Provence in France, La Scala in Milan) for opera and classical music, and Britain for rock music.

Music coming events and trends
There are a large number of music festivals around the world, usually held annually, that attracts foreign visitors, not just local ones. Some giant music festivals compete for the number of visitors and the number of visitors. Some festivals are held outdoors. In any event, every major music event costs a great deal of money.

Country music tourism
Music tourism in Azerbaijan has grown rapidly over the past decade. In addition to the capital of Azerbaijan Baku, the largest cities of Gabala, Sheki

Hosts international music festivals.

Music related events and locations
Every year, there are thousands of music festivals in the world attracting a lot of foreign visitors. The world’s largest music festival is Summerfest, a 11-day event in the state of Wisconsin, USA, in Milwaukee, where nearly one million people attend every year. In addition, there are many other annual carnivals and events that include music, dance and street parties. One of the largest carnivals is Rio Carnival in Brazil, with nearly half a million visitors every year coming from abroad, and the Salvador de Bahia Carnival, the largest street party in the world, attracting nearly two million people a week. The biggest street sweater in Europe is the Notting Hill Carnival (London, UK), which employs around a million people annually. At the Love Parade and the Electronic Dance Music Festival, held in 1989-2010 in Germany, there was a crowded crowd of 1.6 million people.

Every year, hundreds of jazz festivals are organized around the world. The largest is the Montreal International Jazz Festival, where 2.5 million participants, of whom a third are tourists, can be seen. There are also cities and regions that are year round the main destinations for music-related travel, such as New Orleans Dixieland, Zydecole and other musical styles, and the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. The Vienna city in Austria, the Aix-en-Provence festival in France and the La Scala opera house in Milan are well suited for the capital of opera and classical music. Great Britain is well-suited for rock music enthusiasts.

Music Museums
Many museums of history, culture or archeology around the world include some exhibits of musical instruments or artifacts such as manuscripts.

There are also museums or halls of fame for particular genres or countries:

Nashville has both the Country Music Hall of Fame and a more general Musicians’ Hall of Fame
Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame
Calgary has the Canadian Music Hall of Fame
Stockholm has the Swedish Music Hall of Fame with the ABBA Museum at Djurgården
Elvis Presley’s mansion Graceland is in Memphis, and now operates as a museum.

Music festivals
Music festivals are also popular for foreign entertainment. They are held in different countries and often serve as an occasion for a trip to this country. At festivals people get acquainted with the work of music bands of different styles and directions, as well as communicate with a large number of people and enjoy the time in the fresh air.

Not only can attending a music festival in another country be an opportunity to hear some fantastic music, but it can be a unique way to really get an understanding of the people of the country you are visiting and to make new friends that will last a lifetime.

Compiling a list of every major festival in every country would be close to impossible, and many of the best experiences can be found at smaller festivals, so keep an eye out in the local music press for what is happening in the country you are visiting.


Due to the distributed nature of the population many music festivals in Australia are single day affairs that tour the nation as opposed to the 3-5 day long camping festivals of Europe. Some of the best include:

Big Day Out – Tours Australia (and formerly Auckland, New Zealand) – Jan-Feb. An Australian institution since it went nationwide in 1993, the BDO stops off in every Australian state. Huge variety of music from folk to heavy metal to experimental electronica.
Bluesfest – Byron Bay, New South Wales – Easter. Originally purely a blues festival, now has a wide range of genres.
Field Day – Sydney, New South Wales – 1 January. Dance music festival held in Sydney’s Domain park every year on New Years Day.
Future Music Festival – Tours nationally – Feb-March. Formally known as two tribes until one of the two companies running it pulled out, this is the flagship event of Melbourne based Future entertainment. Primarily dance music acts, with the occasional notable exception (e.g. Frandz Ferdinand in 2010)
Southbound – Busselton, Western Australia – January. European style camping festival near the holiday town of Busselton. One of the most family friendly festivals in the country.

New Zealand
Rhythm and Vines, Gisborne. A three day music festival to celebrate the new year. Held in a vineyard and includes popular New Zealand and international artists. Camping accommodation is set up in Watson Park especially for the event. edit

North America

Evolve Music and Awareness Festival – Antigonish, Nova Scotia – July –
Folly Fest – Gagetown, New Brunswick – June–July
Halifax Pop Explosion – Halifax, Nova Scotia – October
Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival – Fredericton, New Brunswick
Montreal Jazz Festival – Montreal, Quebec – June–July
NXNE – Toronto, Ontatio – June
Osheaga – Montreal, Quebec – July–August
Ottawa Bluesfest – Ottawa, Ontario – July
Pemberton Festival – Pemberton, British Columbia – July
Shambhala – Salmo, British Columbia – August
Sunseekers Ball Music & Arts Festival – Chance Harbour, New Brunswick – August

Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival – May
Caribean Sea Jazz Festival – September / October

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Reggae SumFest – Montego Bay – July

Allgood Music Festival-(Marvins mountain top, Wv) July
Austin City Limits Festival – Austin, Texas – Two weekend (6-day) festival featuring a wide variety of emerging and established acts.
Beale Street Music Festival – Memphis, Tennessee
Bonnaroo – Manchester, Tennessee – Four day music festival in June. Multiple stages of music featuring large variety of musical genres. The festival originally had a jam band focus but has since expanded.
Burning Man – Black Rock City, Nevada – Aug-Sept
Camp Bisco – Indian Head Country Club, New York – Electronic and jam band festival in July centered around the electronic jam band The Disco Biscuits. Genres such as dubstep have been heavily featured in recent years.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival – Indio, California – Three day festival held in April. While it was originally one weekend, there are now two consecutive weekends with both weekends generally having the same acts. It takes place in a desert setting and features established as well as emerging artists. Tent camping is allowed.
Detroit Electronic Music Festival – Detroit, Michigan – Electronic/dance music festival held on Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May) each year at Hart Plaza in Detroit. Generally features 5 stages and over 100 artists.
Folks Festival – Lyons, Colorado – August
Jam Along the Creek – Millmont, PA – Small three day music festival held at a campground (along a creek) in central Pennsylvania. Expect small local bands and a laid back atmosphere compared to many larger festivals (as well as cheaper tickets). The headlining act on Saturday is usually a Grateful Dead cover band.
Jazz Fest – New Orleans, Louisiana – April/May
Jazz Jubilee – Sacramento, California – May
Lollapalooza – Chicago – August
Monterey Jazz – Monterey, California – September
Mountain Jam Hunter Mountain, New York- Four day festival held in June. There are four stages of music and attendees can camp onsite.
Newport Folk Festival – Newport, Rhode Island – July
Newport Jazz Festival – Newport, Rhode Island – August
Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago – July
Rochester International Jazz Festival – Rochester, New York – June
Rock the Bells – San Francisco, San Bernardino, New York City, many others
RockyGrass – Lyons, Colorado – July
Rothbury Music Festival – Rothbury, Michigan – July
SXSW – Austin, Texas – March
Telluride Bluegrass Festival – Telluride, Colorado – June
VooDoo Music Experience – New Orleans, Louisiana – October/November
Wakarusa – Mulberry, Arkansas – June
Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival – Winfield, Kansas – September

South America

Lollapalooza – São Paulo, late March or early April
Rock in Rio – Rio de Janeiro, irregular rock festival first arranged in 1985, then in 1991 and more frequently during the 2000s, but there have also been “Rock in Rio” festivals taking place in Lisbon (every second year since 2004), Madrid and Las Vegas. Rock in Rio features some of the very biggest names in rock plus Brazilian bands.

Lollapalooza – Santiago


RainForest Festival

Fuji Rock, – Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata – July
Summer Sonic, – Tokyo and Osaka – August

South Korea
Asia Song Festival – October. Mostly K-pop but also pop music from other East and Southeast Asian countries. Has previously been held in different cities around South Korea, but since 2014 it has been held in Busan.
Musicbank World Tour – A few times every year the Korean broadcaster KBS arranges a concert with different K-pop groups mostly around Asia but also elsewhere in the world. 2017 locations include Singapore, Dubai and Berlin.


Pukkelpop – Kiewit – August

See also: Nordic music
Roskilde – Roskilde – Late June/Early July – Large camping festival about 30 mins by train form Copenhagen. Attracts a young crowd from all over Europe and the rest of the world. Campsite opens the Monday before the festival, with lots of smaller local acts playing in the days leading up to the main event. Very good facilities. With a wide variety of music there should be something for everyone.

Ruisrock – held in Turku in early July, this is the second oldest still running rock festival in Europe. Attended by over 100,000 guests every year, this is a place to see and hear pop and rock bands from Finland and abroad.
Faces Etnofestival is an annual world and ethnic music festival since 1997 in Southern Finland. In 2016 the venue and time is the Fiskars Village, Raseborg on the first weekend of August.

M’era Luna – Festival of industrial, metal, goth and darkwave music held in Hildesheim the second weekend in August.
Rock am Ring and Rock im Park – Two rock festivals that take place simultaneously. Rock am Ring takes place in Nürburg and Rock im Park takes place in Nuremberg.
Wacken Open Air – Heavy metal music festival taking place each summer in the small village of Wacken in northern Germany. This is one of the largest heavy metal festivals in the world, attracting bands from all sub-genres.

The largest music festivals of the country:

Dance Valley — Spaarnwoude
Defqon.1 — Biddinghuizen or Almere
Heineken Dance Parade — Rotterdam
Lowlands – Biddinghuizen
Mystery Land — Hoofddorp
North Sea Jazz — Rotterdam
Parkpop — The Hague
Pink Pop – Landgraaf
Sensation — Amsterdam
Uitmarkt — Amsterdam
Zomercarnaval — Rotterdam
Zwarte Cross — Achterhoek

Coke Live – Kraków, August
Off – Katowice, August
Open’er – Gdynia, beginning of July
Przystanek Woodstock – Kostrzyn, beginning of August
Unsound – Kraków, October

Alive – Lisbon – June; Portugal’s main pop and rock music festival; past acts have included Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Metallica, Black Eyed Peas
FMM Sines – Sines – July; world music, folk and alternative; the event takes place in the seaside town of Sines in Southern Portugal.
Paredes de Coura Festival – Paredes de Coura – August; an important alternative and indie rock festival in the northern countryside, near the Spain / Galicia border.
Primavera Sound Festival – Barcelona – May–June
Sonar Festiva – Barcelona – June

Montreux Jazz Festival – Montreux – July
Street Parade – Zurich – Since the end of Berlin’s Love Parade the largest annual technoparade and electronic music festival in the world with more than 1 million attendees.

Bestival – Isle of Wight – Early September. Once considered a ’boutique’ festival due to its smaller size this festival has grown considerably in recent years. Holding the record as the worlds largest costume party, dressing up is a must.
The Great Escape – Brighton – May. An annual pop and dance extravaganza held late summer. Capacity 25,000.
Glastonbury – Glastonbury – June. Needs no introduction. Even if it sells out the year before do not despair because there are many tickets returned and they will be available in the April before the festival. Typically it runs 3 out of every 4 years.
Leeds – Leeds – last weekend in August. Tickets: £180 for weekend (including camping & parking), or £75 for any day (no camping included) – rock and indie
Loopalu – Ullapool – late September. An increasingly popular smaller rock music festival held by the beach in a small town in Highland (Scotland).
Reading – Reading – – last weekend in August. Tickets: £180 for weekend (including camping & parking), or £75 for any day (no camping included) – rock and indie
Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts – Swansea – mid October – Tickets: concerts are paid for individually – classical and jazz – the second largest festival of its kind in the UK.
Womad – Malmesbury, Wiltshire – late July. Tickets: £160 for weekend – music, art and dance

Atlas Weekend – Kiev – early July. €45 early bird pass for all 5 days.
Faine misto – Ternopil – late July.

Get in
The first thing you’re going to need is a ticket. There is large demand for tickets to many of the major festivals with some selling out in a matter of hours, so get your tickets as soon as possible. Some festivals require you to register before you buy the tickets, so make sure you’ve done this before the tickets go on sale. If you have missed out on tickets or are strapped for cash it may still be possible to get into the event by volunteering to work at the event, as this is how many festivals find a lot of their staff. You will usually be expected to work a few hours a day doing small tasks like collecting rubbish or directing traffic. This can usually be arranged so that you will get to see most of the acts you want to see.

Stay safe
The usual rules regarding drugs and alcohol apply, only more so. As a general rule a festival like Glastonbury is not a safe place to take drugs, despite its reputation. Americans should note that European beers are generally stronger than US beers and people from other countries should note that American “light” beers are not necessarily lower in alcohol content, rather light may mean low calorie. Beyond that follow the usual rules: listen to what your body is telling you, know your limits and make sure your friends are looking out for you.

Also if you’ve come from a cooler climate like Northern Europe or North America to a festival in somewhere like Spain or Australia you’ll be more prone to dehydration when in a mosh pit or raving for long periods of time, so keep a bottle of water on you at all times.

Toilets are also often a concern, especially if there are many people in attendance.

For some festivals, the vast majority of the attendants to music festivals decide to camp on site, and most attendants consider it a vital part of the experience. If you want to be close to the action you’re going to have to get in early to get a camping site close to the music. However you may want to consider the fact that the closer you are to the music the louder it will be and the less chance you will get a good night’s sleep if you decide you’ve had enough. Remember that even though music on the main stages may have finished, there may be sections of the festival that will keep playing music until late into the night. Some festivals have special camping areas for families with young children.

If you don’t feel that you can live without creature comforts, getting a hotel room near the festival is an option, but keep in mind that if the festival is well attended, demand for hotel rooms will be high not just from festival goers but also from the festival staff, so prices will be high. Also consider how far away you are from the festival and the amount of time it will take to get in every day. A better option, if the festival provides facilities to do this, may be to get a motor home and stay there, giving you significantly more comfort and privacy than camping while keeping you relatively close to the action.

Source from Wikipedia