Ditching your wellies for tomatoes, snorkels and air guitars

June in the UK means summer is just around the corner. Although as I write this, my view is limited to a sea of rain-swept students, we can only hope that in the coming weeks the grey skies will turn blue and the sun will start to shine. For many people, particular us music-loving and drinking-obsessed younger lot, summer signals the start of music festival season. In the past, I like many of my school classmates, celebrated the end of GCSEs with my first taste of not just a music festival, but also days without showering, day-time drinking and the high and lows of 2 litre bottles of Stongbow at Reading Festival. However, there are many weird and wonderful festivals around the globe this year.

To start this whistle-stop tour, we’ll stay relatively close to home. When you think of Finland, what first comes to mind might be ice cold temperatures or even the home of Father Christmas himself, not, I suspect, the hosts of Air Guitar World Championships. The Scandinavian country has hosted the final for over 20 years now, with this year’s event set to be yet another fascinating spectacle, celebrating the best head bangers and miming the world has to offer in August.

Staying in Finland, if air guitar does not float your boat, how about wife carrying? The annual Wife Carrying World Championships are held over two days at the end of June, in the Finish city of Sonkajrvi.

Since 1992, hundreds of couples have attempted to test the strength of their marriage by racing over a 250 metre obstacle course.

More well-known and arguably more conventional is ‘La Tomatina’, which takes place on the last Wednesday of August in the town of BuÒol, Valencia in Spain. La Tomatina has a long and colourful history dating back to the 1940s. Not so much a festival, but an hour-long food fight, in which participants travel from all over the world to throw tomatoes at one another. Such is the extent and aftermath of the celebrations that fire trucks are brought in to hose down not only the street but also the contributors to help locals with the extensive cleaning up process. If you like to get your hands messy and fancy joining in with the fun, this year it could be you who is quite literally painting the town red, at what could quite possibly be the messiest festival of the year.

Sticking with the messy theme, but venturing slightly further into Asia, and more specifically South Korea, you’ll find the Boryeong Mud Festival. This two-week festival offers a number of different attractions centering around mud, including mud skiing, slides and pools, not to mention a stunning firework display to finish!

In addition to all this fun, it is even said that the two million-odd festival goers who make the journey and take part may even gain some health benefits, with the mud said to be rich in many naturally occurring minerals and vitamins.

Finally, snorkeling is pretty great, especially in the only living barrier reef in the United States, but ever wondered how it could be even better? How about with the addition of some music? Florida’s Underwater Music festival is a quirky show, scheduled this year for July 11. Divers have a chance to swim along to the beat, while also taking in the quite remarkable sights of the reef.


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October 2021
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