Summer music festivals fit for a holiday
Why hold a festival in the middle of the desert? As I applied more sun cream, a teenager was hauled from a crowd being doused with water nearby. Despite the 40-degree heat, those around him were euphoric, arms raised in the fine layer of cooling spray, all eyes on the stage: swaying, singing.
In beads, sundresses and shorts, music lovers at Coachella Festival were sun-kissed and friendly, and thanks to the location and weather, free to dance unburdened by the jumpers and anoraks usually required at European festivals.
As well as nearly guaranteed blue skies, the Coachella valley lends west-coast America’s premier festival a most attractive setting. Five stages mark out the impossibly green fields of the Empire Polo Club where a smattering of Hollywood starlets and 80,000 revellers gather each year.
Gazing about me, nothing but palm trees, a towering orchid sculpture and a 45-metre Ferris wheel broke a horizon of fold upon purple fold of San Jacinto mountain.
The festival was expanded from one to two weekends, increasing the likelihood of getting tickets for repeated acts from a stellar line-up featuring more artists than you might expect.
There was little by way of late-night entertainment but this was probably for the best for campers woken early by the desert sun.
More luxurious accommodation options included air-conditioned safari tents in a lush field backstage and design-conscious Palm Springs hotels, such as the mid-century, motel-style Ace Hotel or the new Saguaro, both of which hosted pool parties and offered weekend packages.
Either side of the festival, there is much to see in Los Angeles, two hours away – from the film theatres of Hollywood Boulevard to the great works in the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Admire the coast on the South Bay bike trail by hiring a bike from stations of Perry’s Cafe, from where you can cycle past Venice Beach’s bizarre characters, skaters and musclemen, to the much-filmed pier at Santa Monica.
Here, you can sift through the area's good vintage shops, a short distance from the art-deco loveliness of the seafront Shangri-La hotel.
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Other Rock & World Music Festivals
Primavera Sound - Barcelona, Spain
2-4 June 2016
The handsome Parc del Forum site has views of the Mediterranean and is close to Barcelona’s city centre.
When not enjoying Beirut, The Cure, Bjork, Yo La Tengo or Wild Beasts - just some of the artists playing at this typically well-curated event - festival-goers can wander around La Rambla, head to the beach or explore the city’s nightlife, before returning to the air-conditioned comfort of a hotel room.
Gnaoua Festival - Essaouira, Morocco
12-15 May 2016
The music of the Gnaoua incorporates Berber, Arab and African influences. Expect to hear the jangly strings of a guembri, an instrument similar to a lute, over drums and metallic castanets in the public squares and courtyards of this relaxed port.
There is a mix of international jazz, rock and world music, too. Spend a couple of days before or after the festival strolling along the beach, camel riding and browsing in the medina. There are many pretty riads to stay in, but be sure to book well in advance as the event attracts more than 300,000 people.
Open Air St Gallen - St Gallen, Switzerland
30 June - 3 July 2016
The green meadows overlooking the Sitter river are the fine setting for this mid-size festival, which has lots of space for camping within view of the main stages, making for a rather relaxed affair.
Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine, Noah and the Whale were some of those providing the musical welcome in previous years.
An hour's train ride from Zurich, the city of St Gallen has a charming old town and is close to Lake Constance.
Flow, Sornainen - Helsinki, Finland
12-14 August 2016
This art-filled urban festival, on the site of an old power plant near the city centre, is compact, but a lot of thought has gone into creating a variety of colourful entertainment spaces.
One year, a grassy glade with bunting and tree stumps played host to various DJs and a garage filled with beanbags and street art was transformed into a cinema run by Future Shorts.
The main stage is backed by a double-decker bar festooned with lights and serving Nordic berry cocktails. There is an equally eclectic mix of music.
Performances from techno superstar Richie Hawtin, soul legend Bobby Womack, Horace Andy, Canadian songstress Feist and blues rockers the Black Keys have previously energised the crowd.
Visitors can explore the city in the mornings or take a ferry for a swim on the nearby island of Suomenlinna.
Rajasthan International Folk Festival - Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, India
The sound of devotions at sunrise set an early start to the day at the sixth Rajasthan International Folk Festival.
Held in a spectacular location at the clifftop Mehrangarh Fort, traditional musicians bring to life the region's musical heritage while the sun is up, and world dance beats pick up the pace in a club at night, when the atmosphere is just as magical thanks to the festival coinciding with the year's brightest full moon.
The blue city of Jodhpur has many attractions including nearby craft villages and the Mandore Gardens.
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This article was written by Natalie Paris from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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