America’s best festivals

The history of the festival dates back to thousands of years Before the Common Era, in Ancient Egypt and Greece. As a popular way of getting people together, festivals began to proliferate in the 20th century, with the Woodstock Festival of 1969 arguably the best known, though the Monterey Pop Festival in California predated it by two years.

burning man festival

Today there is a profusion of festivals of all kinds throughout America, and though music and arts festivals are still huge events, there are a whole range of gatherings in cities and towns as well as unusual venues such as the desert and open countryside.

Festivals in America come in all sorts of guises, from the wild and wacky, such as the Frozen Dead Guys Days in Nederland, high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, to the serene and spectacular sight of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico. Festivals of food and wine are always popular, with Aspen and New York as hosts, and film festivals such as Sundance in Utah and Telluride in Colorado celebrate the art of filmmaking worldwide.

With so many festivals to choose from it can be difficult to decide, so here are three of the most interesting to consider:

Burning Man

A fascinating glimpse into counter-culture and stunning visual art, Burning Man takes place in the week running up to Labor Day, the end of August, in Black Rock City. This a temporary “city” created for the event, around 120 miles to the north of Reno in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. It attracts some 60,000 free spirits every year who participate in a whole range of workshops and events. It’s not a spectator event as such, though there will be plenty to see. It offers people opportunities to learn about themselves and others in a free-spirited environment, celebrating life and all the strange things that can happen during it. Participants can expect a week-long visual extravaganza with, of course, plenty of fire!

Newport Folk Festival

The oldest folk festival in the country takes place for three days at the end of July in Newport, Rhode Island, at Fort Adams State Park. The harbor can be seen from the site, and it’s been the setting for many world famous musicians, including Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Fleet Foxes and Emmylou Harris. Apart from the eclectic and high quality range of music on offer there is a Craft Market and plenty of good food and drink.

Maine Lobster Festival

This festival in Rockland, Maine is more akin to a county fair, with some 30,000 folk making their way there every year. The festival takes place around the end of July and the start of August and centers, naturally, on the lobster. There’s plenty of other seafood to try, and there are competitions, music and craft stalls to enjoy.

Travelers wanting to experience these festivals can check out affordable flights from to get as close as possible to the venues.