Music is one of the most essential elements of human culture; you can play it or appreciate it, write it or vibe to it, and even use it to help you learn a new language. It’s no wonder, then, that people around the world love to get together at international music festivals and celebrate the rhythms and melodies of the world in all their glory, surrounded by like-minded music fans who love to jive and groove in harmony with each other.
Music festivals are a place to jam out or just melt into the music, to be serenaded or to sweat buckets as your pump your fist and sing your heart out. However you like to appreciate music, there’s a celebration of it somewhere in the world that’s meant for you.
Keep reading to learn more about some of the world’s coolest, classiest and most culturally inspired international music festivals.
International Music Festivals From All Corners Of The World
Mawazine — Considered to be one of the biggest international music festivals and the largest in all of Africa with more than 2.5 million attendees annually, this massive music party takes place in Rabat, Morocco, each year. It’s one of the world’s largest celebrations of African and global music. Its organizers seek to present Morocco and the city of Rabat as open to and embracing of outsiders from around the planet.
Cartagena International Music Festival — This weeklong event, which takes place in Cartagena, Colombia, in the first days of January, seeks to fuse together European and Latin American musical traditions. One of the most renowned music festivals in South America, it highlights the city’s intersection of cultures by drawing world-class performers, lecturers and creators who celebrate the city’s modernity in contrast with its historic heritage. There’s a heavy emphasis on classical music; the roughly 20,000 annual attendees can enjoy some of history’s most marvelous masterpieces performed by modern vocalists and instrumentalists around the city. With the motto “Music Is For Everyone,” the festival’s organizers hope to promote music education, especially for the country’s youth.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival — Since its founding on the Mississippi Delta, the city of New Orleans has always been a hotbed of cultural development in the realm of food, art, and of course, music. The city’s annual Jazz Fest is a major celebration that draws hundreds of thousands in the late spring. It’s a giant showcase of jazz, blues and gospel (among many other musical styles) that arose from the city’s diverse African-American, Cajun, French, Afro-Caribbean and American culture.
Exit — This festival in the medieval Petrovaradin fortress takes place every summer in Novi Sad, Serbia. It was founded in 2000 as a pro-democracy student protest movement, and though it has become less of a symbol of political action over the years, it still maintains strong ties to its historical activist roots and aims to frame the new-millennium Serbia as welcoming and open to the world.
Fuji Rock — The largest outdoor music event in Japan, Fuji Rock draws roughly 150,000 attendees each year to the Naeba Ski Resort in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan, where concertgoers can ride the world’s longest gondola to overlook the entire festival grounds. The festival gets its name from its original location at the base of Mount Fuji. It’s not only a hub for rock music (though you’ll find plenty of it there) or a performance space for exclusively Japanese artists (you’ll find plenty of them there, too), but it’s also a showcase of the talent of a diverse group of artists from around the world. There’s a huge focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness at Fuji Rock, which aims to be the “cleanest festival in the world.”