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World Party: The Rough Guide to the World's Best Festivals
by by Rough Guides
Binding: Paperback, 1 edition, 400 pages
Publisher: Rough Guides
Weight: 210
Dimension: H: 1.1 x L: 8.2 x W: 7.4 inches

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Book Description:
There's nothing like the life affirming buzz of a major festival, whether it's toasting the arrival of summer in Iceland, chugging beers at Munich's Oktoberfest, or joining in the orgy of beats at Ibiza's closing parties. This book is a guide to over two hundred of the greatest events on earth, and represents the culmination of years of research, travelling and party hopping by Rough Guide authors and contributors. Armed with this book, you'll find out all you need to know before you go, and what to do while you're there, as well as the practical details that can make or break your trip.

Every country in the world has its own festivals and celebrations. They're a colourful key to unlocking local cultures and can make for a fantastic travel experience. Many travellers have their own special memories of spectacular events they have attended, whether it's a long planned visit to the Fiesta de San Fermin, or a stumbled upon saint's day procession in a dusty southern Italian town. The festivals in this book come in all shapes and sizes. Many have been around, in one form or another, for decades some, such as Kumbh Mela and Naadam, for centuries and have deep roots in the culture of the country they take place in. Others, such as Burning Man, will be following, perhaps even initiating, newer traditions. Some, like Sri Lanka's Esala Perahera, will have deep religious significance; others will be secular occasions based on a key, history changing event Lewes Bonfire Night, for example. Some, like Pushkar Camel Fair, will be a mixture of all of these things. And some, like Spain's La Tomatina, will be no more than a massive food fight. However, nearly all the festivals in this book draw people from local communities together and demonstrate tangibly the Fiesta de San Fermin values and priorities of local cultures and, as such, they almost all involve some sort of cultural exchange; attending and getting involved in a sensitive and non voyeuristic way offers a travel experience like no other.

The philosophy of this book, indeed of Rough Guides in general, is a relatively simple one: to get out there and see the world responsibly and to enjoy yourself while you're doing it. Which is definitely something you can do at all the festivals featured in this book. The list of events we've included is fairly subjective and inevitably highly selective. So how did we choose? Well, the list in part reflects the interests and preferences of our writers, and of visitors to our website. Also, we have tried to make sure that cultures and traditions from most, if not all, parts of the world are represented. We've also only included festivals that are annual and well established attended by thousands rather than hundreds of people, and that have a big focus on participation. So, although you won't find all of the big music festivals, sports events and one off parties here, you will find the classics Rio Carnival, Glastonbury and Mardi Gras as well as smaller events such as Scotland's Common Ridings and Australia's Birdsville Races. Arguably, these are the real gold dust in this book all big enough to produce a great vibe in their own individual way, but small enough to retain a sense of community, authenticity and accessibility that many of the mega events have lost.

Before you pick that perfect festival to begin your conquest of the World Party circuit, it's worth remembering that there are some significant barriers in the way. All too often, festivals can be the worst time for travelling to and staying in the place in which the event is held. Accommodation prices rocket and the huge crowds can leave you feeling alienated while the festival bangs away somewhere in the distance. The golden rule, therefore, is to make your plans and book your accommodation at least six months in advance. This may not sit with the 'life's too short, live for the moment' feeling that sees you packing your party costume in the first place, but it will prevent you having to fork out a fortune for the only vacant hotel room in town. The 'Doing...' section of each event provides advice and suggestions on overnight options (including good park benches, where appropriate) for all budgets. The other main concern is safety. Some events, such as the running of the bulls at Pamplona's Fiesta de San Fermin, are inherently dangerous. Don't feel pressured into thinking you've got to take part in the encierro: it's a great thrill if you get away with it, but, every year, dozens of runners mainly drunk tourists are injured (and occasionally killed). Another risk lies with being in a place where thousands of partygoers are losing their inhibitions at the same time. People occasionally freak out, pickpockets can relieve you of your cash and passport before you've cracked open your first beer, and, most importantly, crowds can stampede. Finally, trying a cocktail of drink and drugs for the first time is almost certainly best not done in the middle of a crowd of half a million people. Nothing in life is risk free, and, ultimately, it's up to you. Our aim is that you'll be inspired to experience at least one of the events in this book. Maybe you'll get carried away and make it your life's mission to go to them all. If you do, the experiences can be memorable: swigging vodka on the banks of an extinct volcano before skinny dipping at 3am during the Westmann Islands Festival; staggering down New Orleans' Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras with a bucket sized iced Sazerac cocktail and a pocketfull of throws; waking up to the scent of a thousand camels in Pushkar; and wild, celebratory beers at 9am following the survival of another bum clinchingly terrifying Pamplona bull run. We hope that this book will be your well thumbed companion to many festivals and parties around the world. Happy travels!

Help us update If you feel there's a festival or event that should be included in the book, or at least mentioned on the website, contact us at and tell us about it. Enclose some photos if you have them. World Party is an interactive project and depends on the feedback of its readers. If your contribution makes it into the next edition, you will receive a free Rough Guide of your choice and, of course, a copy of the new World Party.

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