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The Traveller's Magazine
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Music, rhythm, performance, pyrotechnics, dancing… the new year brings with it a whole lot of bang, especially for music lovers in the audience. After winter ends the sun arrives, bringing an infinity of music festivals alongside it. These festivals of sound won’t want to be missed.

Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival – Spain (July)

This year the jazz festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, one of Spain’s most prominent jazz celebrations, will celebrate its 35th year. The programme remains open, but there are rumours that this year will feature more international talent than ever. Homage to Miles Davis will be paid and names like Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller and Herbie Hancock are said to be in the line-up.

What else can be said about Vitoria, a city resplendent with culture and history? Don’t miss the opportunity to discover its neighbourhoods, chinks, historical buildings and museums…

Sea of Music (“La Mar de Músicas”) – Spain (July)

This Murciano music festival takes place in Cartagena at the end of July and hosts some of the best world music in Spain. In 2010 the audience was delighted by music from Mali by Salif Keita, from the USA by Melody Gardot, from Senegal by Youssou N’Dour, from Syria by Omar Souleyman and many more. This year’s festival theme is Italy.

Cartagena is an enchanting city on its own, without the appeal of rhythm and rhymes. Cathedral ruins, the castle, amphitheatre and neo-classical and baroque architecture give this city more than enough charm.

Valley of the Arts (“Muveszetek Volgye”) – Hungary (Jul/Aug)

Likely unknown outside of Hungary, this cultural festival is a total sensory experience. Villages turn themselves into medieval escapes complete with bubbling cauldrons of traditional Hungarian soups. Town squares turn into music venues while artisan shops line the streets.

The valley consists of five small villages, located not far from Budapest. If you want to get the most out of the festival and the beautiful surroundings give yourself a couple days to explore.

Winter Festival – Prague (January)

This historical festival has been showcasing Czech opera and ballet for forty years. It takes place over the course of five days in January, tightly packed with recitals, shows and extravagant performances at the National Theatre, the State Opera House and the famous Dvorak Hall.

The city of a thousand spires, Prague, should be at the top of anyone’s list that hasn’t been. The old town is like something from a book; clock towers and bridges spanning the river are both romantic and historical.

Desert Festival – Mali (January)

This peculiar festival began in 2001 in Mali, in the northern region Essakane. The origins of the festival can be found in Tuareg, a traditional village that is known for its dances, songs, camel races and games when nomadic tribes all gathered together. Cross paths with artists from Mali, Africa, Europe and the rest of the world.

This Mali fesitval is a perfect stepping stone to discover the UNESCO treasures in the area including Djenné.

If you’re passionate about music, adventure and travel, take note of some of these festivals taking place this year.

Imgs: wiki – GNU

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