The finer side of festivals

24 May 2018

By Shadforth Financial Group

When you think of festivals, images of heaving crowds adorned in gumboots and glow sticks probably come to mind. That’s understandable, as it’s certainly accurate for some of the big gigs out there, but isn’t always the case. Discover the finer side of festivals with these top selections from Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

A recent survey conducted by Eventbrite, the world’s largest event ticketing and technology platform, revealed that Australians are enjoying more live experiences than ever before. Ninety-three per cent of respondents had attended some form of live event in the past 12 months, and 67 per cent said that “experiencing new things is an essential element to living a fulfilled life” — compared to money (34 per cent) and owning nice things (20 per cent)1.

In an age fuelled by social media and being ‘connected’ 24/7 thanks to tablets and smartphones, the act of stepping outside and experiencing something real can be extremely refreshing.

So if you’re planning to experience something new this year, consider soaking up the atmosphere at one of these festivals.

Garma Festival of Traditional Culture Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

The Garma Festival of Traditional Culture is one of the most significant events in the Australian cultural festival calendar. The event is a celebration of the cultural inheritance of the indigenous Yolngu people and has an emphasis on the practice, preservation and maintenance of traditional dance, storytelling, songs, art and ceremony.

Held every August and spanning four days, the festival also features a key forum where you can join talks with Indigenous people, Garma cultural workshops, musical performances, exhibition stalls and visits to the local community and schools.

Derwent Valley Autumn Festival Tasmania

Originally devised by two Derwent Valley Councillors to build greater social capital for the local community, the Derwent Valley Autumn Festival is now in its eighteenth year and is the largest event the valley has ever seen. Held in mid-April, the festival celebrates all that is good about the region with a day full of entertainment, fine food, local wines, beers and music for all tastes on the banks of the beautiful Derwent River — about half an hour drive from Hobart. A selection of stalls also offer visitors a vast array of arts, crafts and produce to take home at the end of the fun-filled day.

Taiwan Lantern Festival, Taiwan

Held on the first full moon night of the lunar year, usually in February-March, the Taiwan Lantern Festival is one of the most stunning events you’ll come across throughout all of Asia. A vast range of cultural activities are carried out across Taiwan, including the Tainan Yanshui Fireworks Display at the Wumiao Temple — said to ward off evil and disease — and the sky lanterns display released in the mountainous Pingxi District, originally a message to let others know the town was safe.

Join the locals in the celebration of lantern making, before adorning them with the wishes and dreams of each owner then releasing them simultaneously along with thousands of others. The moment is both magical and memorable.

Winter Light Festival, Japan

Come November each year, a trip to Kuwana City’s Nabana No Sato — a botanical theme park — offers visitors so much more than its usual landscaped gardens and cherry blossom trees. With the help of seven million solar LED lights, the gardens light up to create one of Japan’s most impressive illuminations. The fragrance of flowers floats in the crisp winter air as visitors arrive to soak up the very unique atmosphere created by this elegant light show. Just two bits of advice — be sure you don’t miss the famous Tunnel of Lights and wrap up warmly!

Rainforest World Music Festival, Kuching — Borneo, Malaysia

Set on the beautiful island of Borneo, the Rainforest World Music Festival is unlike any other. Created to celebrate Malaysia’s music, nature and culture, the event draws renowned musicians from the world over to come and perform alongside Indigenous artists. You’ll find the main stage set up deep within the lush greenery in the heart of the Borneo Jungle, surrounded by food and drink stalls offering a taste of local and regional Malaysian and Asian dishes, crafts and festival memorabilia.

The three-day festival is jam-packed with informative workshops, ethno-musical lectures, mini concerts and intimate jam sessions.

Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Classic, New Zealand

Recognised the world over for its fine wine and fresh produce, Hawke’s Bay is a gastronome’s dream destination. With that in mind, it’s only common sense that a festival should be created to celebrate and share the delights the region has to offer. The Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Classic is your one-stop culinary festival, filled with ‘out of the box’ food and wine experiences held in both winter and summer. In June you’ll find yourself sitting by a roaring fire, sampling the local red, then come summer you’ll be taking in the region’s breathtaking views while enjoying some alfresco dining at one of the local wineries — all to the soundtrack of stunning live music.

Make sure your finances are ready for you to enjoy the finer side of life. Contact us.

1 Eventbrite, Live Experiences Impact Survey, 2015.

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