There’s a festival happening today, tomorrow, and every other day somewhere in the world. Some countries are home to an abundance of festivals every month, whether you wanna fly high or lay low, listen to music, immerse yourself in culture, or watch adrenaline-pumping sports, there’s something for you. March is a great month for worldwide festivals, boasting a wicked diversity of events on every corner of the globe. Here are 8 festivals in March – a mix of culture, music, and sports – this month to get hyped up about. Also, it’s March break: go somewhere!
Everyone has heard of Oktoberfest, but have you heard of its close relative, Starkbierzeit? It’s the festival of strong beer – literally, Strong Beer Festival. Starkbierzeit attracts half the amount of people of Oktoberfest, which is still a lot, though it’s not near as popular and well-known. For three weeks, breweries all across Munich set up beer halls and prepare for the festival. The festival is even older than Oktoberfest, dating back to the mid-1600s, when it was started by Munich’s Paulaner Monks.
If you’re a beer lover and find yourself in Europe in March, this is where you’ll want to be. Starkbierzeit doesn’t just celebrate beer, but focuses on celebrating Bavarian culture. The guidelines for Starkbier – strong beer – say the alcohol content must be at least 7.5%. Drink slowly to keep up with your German counterparts – it’s no race and there’s no shortage of beer. You may soon find yourself singing merry songs and dancing on top of tables with a strong-beer-induced girn.
Where: Munich, Germany
When: March 15th to April 6th
SXSW (South By Southwest) is a combination of different things – film, interactive media, live music, and a variety of conferences – that all come together to create an amazing festival experience in Austin, Texas. The festival started in 1987 and is heading into its 33rd year in 2019. The music aspect of SXSW is the largest of its kind in the world. The 2014 festival featured over 2,000 acts, and so will this year. Through SXSW Music, music samples from musicals are featured on official Youtube channels prior to the festival. Live music, featuring more than 2,000 artists from 63 countries, will take place from the 8th to the 17th.
Attending the festival is a great networking opportunity, as there are professionals with backgrounds in technology, film, music, comedy and much more. It’s a melting pot of talented people, and a great place for creatives to meet leaders. Don’t miss the afterparties.
Where: Austin, Texas
When: March 8th to 17th
Moomba is Australia’s largest free community festival. Steeped in tradition, but young at heart, the festival is entering its 65th year in 2019. The festival takes place on the iconic Yarra River at Birrarung Marr and Alexandra Gardens in Melbourne. It’s a cultural festival at heart and showcases a variety of unique events focusing on food, music, sports, arts and culture, family fun, performance, and anything in between.
The festival, run by the City of Melbourne, is a huge success, regularly attracting around a million people, with 1.7 million attending in 1996. Traditional events include the Moomba parade, fireworks, carnivals along the river, Moomba Masters’ watersports, water floats, local arts and entertainment performers, live music, and skate and BMX competitions. There’s something for everyone, whether a child, music-goer, or athlete.
Where: Melbourne, Australia
When: March 8th to 11th
Rad if you like rowing. Head of the River Race is a professional rowing race held annually on the River Thames in London, England, and it’s worth checking out if you’re in the city. The race was founded in 1925 and has been going strong ever since.
Around 340 to 420 crews participate in the race, with a maximum of 420 crews to ensure safety on the river. The event attracts rowers from all over the world, who all try to get down the 6.8km river in record time. Row, row, row your boat, viciously down the River Thames.
Where: London, England
When: March 30th
Probably the most colourful festival in the world, the Hindu spring festival of Holi is held every year in India and Nepal (and elsewhere in the world). “The Festival of Colours” signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and it is also a time for people to forgive and forget. Participants “play” Holi by throwing coloured powder in the air and smearing it on each others’ faces, as a way of showing love and respect and to repair broken relationships. However, a lot of the time the powder is thrown directly at you.
Each city in India celebrates Holi in a different manner, honouring unique traditions. It’s basically a country-ywide colour throwing free-for-all. No part of your face or body will be without colour if you find yourself in India during Holi, and your wardrobe will quickly turn into tie-dye everything. It is one of the most renowned festivals in the world, and should be on the bucket list of every adventurer and culture vulture.
Where: Mainly India and Nepal
When: March 20th to 21st
Entering its 30th year, the award-winning Byron Bay Bluesfest is a beloved annual music festival that takes over the town of Byron Bay, Australia. Held annually on the Easter-long weekend, this year’s headliners include Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Paul Kelly and Iggy Pop, who will most definitely get the party going..
The festival’s first year only attracted a modest 6,000 attendees, but now Australia’s premier contemporary blues and roots music festival attracts over 100,000 people. Bring a tent and join 6,000 other campers for five 12-hour days of music in one of Australia’s most rad towns. “The Bluesfest is one of those festivals an artist dreams about playing. When we first played in 2000 it was one of those pivotal life-changing moments for us. To this day it is still one of my favourite shows and it literally launched my band nationwide” – John Butler
Where: Byron Bay, Australia
When: April 18th to 22nd
Irish or not, St. Patrick’s Day a good excuse to celebrate – and by celebrate, I mean wear green, drink lots of beer, and get a little rowdy. St. Patrick’s day is held on March 17th every year, celebrating the life and death of Ireland’s foremost patron saint, who was a fifth-century Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. The religious holiday is celebrated all over the world, particularly anywhere there are people of Irish descent.
If you want to go all out and experience the biggest St. Paddy’s day party, there’s no other place to do it than in Dublin. The city is painted green with smiles, green-coloured beer, and parades, and every pub will be full of enthusiastic beer drinkers, from morning till night. Boson is America’s most Irish city, and is one of the best places to celebrate. New York is also home to a huge St. Paddy’s day party, with more than 150,000 people participating in the parade, making it the biggest in the world. Go green or go home, and may the luck of the Irish be with you.
Where: Worldwide (Most famously Dublin, Boston, New York)
When: March 15th to 18th
This five-day indie rock festival is held in various venous throughout Boise, Idaho. This year’s Treefort Music Fest lineup includes Toro Y Moi, American Football, Low, Vince staples, Liz Phair and Back mountain to name a few. Only getting started in 2012, the five-day event has quickly transformed from a small music event to an all-out community festival. The city hosted an impressive 420 bands last year.
Where: Boise, Idaho
When: March 20th to 24th
March shouldn’t just be about taking a mindless vacation to a place like Cancun for Spring Break. Maybe this March you’ll find yourself at one of the festivals mentioned above. Check out Rad Season’s list of other action-packed festivals in March. Happy festival-going.
Feature image credit: Okeechobee Music and Arts FestivalLast updated on Oct 11, 2019