I’m always looking for adventure around me, but the battle between time and life rarely permits me to tick much off my bucket list. With October only days away, why not pause and review our plans for 2017? After all, there’s just a quarter of the year left and so much still to be done!
From music concerts and comedy festivals (stand-up comedy fans, check this out) to cultural extravaganzas around the globe, here’s a list of must-visit events that you should make a beeline for, before the year ends.
LIGHT UP NOVEMBER WITH LOI KRATHONG IN THAILAND
Scheduled for November 4, 2017
Not that we need an excuse to pack our bags and head to Thailand, but the ‘Festival of Lights’ is a visual bonanza that you really don’t want to miss. Celebrated on the night of the twelfth lunar month at the end of the rainy season, when the full moon lights up the sky, it involves paying respects to Phra Mae Khongkha (the goddess of water) by releasing krathongs — lotus-shaped rafts decorated with candles, incense and flowers — on the water. Take your bae along, spend a day in Bangkok and then embark on the 7-hour road trip to Sukhothai, where the festival is celebrated with great pomp and fanfare. The Thai people believe that if you launch your krathong with your partner and they drift off together, then your love is meant to be. If they don’t, just ignore that old wives’ tale and romance the pause while folk music and creative light-and-sound shows make for a memorable time.
As an option, for those who aren’t big on the whole water thing, head up north to Chiang Mai where Loi Krathong meets Yi Peng — that glorious lantern festival you’ve probably seen on television. After launching your ‘love lanterns’ (buy them in advance because they sell out like hot cakes) from Tha Phae Road, stay on to enjoy traditional art performances and a fireworks display from the banks of the Ping River.
TAKE A BITE OUT OF THE BIG APPLE’S NEW YORK COMEDY FESTIVAL
Scheduled for November 7 to November 12, 2017
We hope you have your US visa ready, because this laugh riot is guffawing and tittering just around the corner (check this out if you want your dose of comedy closer and sooner). A five-day bonanza that features top national names and the best local talent, it’s a splendid opportunity to take a big bite of the most killer, no-holds-barred comedy landscapes in the world. Where else will you get to go pink in the cheeks with a 45-year-old classically trained singer who belts out an X-rated vaudeville act (Bridget Everett) while ROFL-ing with some of the biggest comedians out there? This year’s line-up features performances by HBO’s Real Time host Bill Maher, Chris Hardwick, Iliza Shlesinger, Clerks star Kevin Smith (in picture) and Parks and Recreation’s droll Nick Offerman! We hear 2 Dope Queens will be doing a live show at The Bell House and the How Did This Get Made? podcast will be taping at Town Hall too. While performances will be held at various venues including Beacon Theatre, Carnegie Hall and Carolines On Broadway, we’ve saved the best (news) for last: our very own Vir Das is scheduled to entertain audiences at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on November 9. Better book your tickets now!
BRING IN DECEMBER AT THE HORNBILL FESTIVAL IN NAGALAND
Scheduled for November 26 to December 5, 2017
Billed as India’s liveliest cultural celebration, tucked away in the mystic and wild mountains of Nagaland, this festival is a fantastic opportunity to get a crash course in the fierce and fascinating heritage of all eight Northeast states. Between November 26 and December 5, the action unfolds in Kisama; a Naga heritage village 12 kilometres away from Kohima. With a World War II Museum ensconced inside, the village has an amphitheatre where a melange of tribal dance groups with dao (spears) in hand, multi-coloured costumes, exotic headgear, warrior log drums and soulful war cries reverberate over 10 days. From spicy food to vintage car rallies, there’s literally something for everyone here. Feast your eyes on traditional archery and Naga wrestling competitions, flower shows, adventure rallies and smouldering King Chilli (Bhut Jolokia) and pork eating contests. The Kohima Night Bazaar serves up terrific handicrafts and a range of spicy Naga delicacies like sutli kebabs, bush meat and zutho (rice beer). But the largest crowds are reserved for the Hornbill Rock Festival, which has seen the likes of retro band Arrival from Sweden (touted as the world’s greatest ABBA show) and German power metal band Helloween take to the stage in past years. As bucket list experiences in India go, this one is a must-do.
MAKE MID-DECEMBER MAGIC AT THE MAGNETIC FIELDS FESTIVAL IN RAJASTHAN
Scheduled for December 15 to December 17, 2017
If tribal dance groups don’t tickle your fancy (or you’ve seen one too many already), pack a hippy-chic wardrobe and head off with your squad to the magnificent Alsisar Mahal — a 3.5-hour drive from Jaipur — for a niche musical, magical carnival that’s likely to blow your mind! Only in its fourth year, Magnetic Fields has earned quite a reputation for its banging indie scene, spanning hip hop, jazz, reggae, underground and techno. This year, the line-up is spectacular with Darren J Cunningham (aka Actress), Jayda G, Ben UFO and the Daddy of ‘folktronica’ Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) slated to rock out various lush venues inside and outside the palace. We’re also itching to snag tickets to see India’s premier reggae artists Delhi Sultanate; besides the striking Samara Chopra (aka Begum X), who happens to be a trained yoga instructor too (get your mats ready, people!). Adding to the action, there’s Hindustani vocalist Priya Purushothaman, plus producer and multi-instrumentalist Sid Vashi — whose oeuvre is an unconventional mix of jazz, electronica, minimal lyrics and guerrilla recording from different parts of the country and Bollywood. The gigs start at 12 noon and go on till 8 am (yes, you heard that right!) with kite flying competitions, secret parties, cooking workshops and desert camping listed as added attractions.
EXPERIENCE SUNBURN IN PUNE AT YEAR-END
Scheduled for December 28 to December 31, 2017
India’s biggest dance-music extravaganza is back in its eleventh edition, moving from several years at Vagator Beach in Goa to its second year in the balmy hills of Pune. Voted as the seventh most popular music festival in the world — within a decade it has held successful editions offshore, in Colombo, Dubai and Oman — our home-grown mega-party features the biggest headlining acts, jaw-dropping SFX, a gargantuan stage, elaborate production values, a generous serving of adventure activities and flea markets on the side-lines. The handpicked line-up this year will be led by Grammy-nominated producer and artist DJ Snake. The French DJ, who has produced for Lady GaGa and collaborated with Ed Sheeran, has hit singles like Lean On and Turn Down For What to his credit. With Rockabye hit-makers Clean Bandit also slated to be a part of the event, the mix is exciting enough as it is, but wait — Dutch superstar Martin Garrix will be the New Year’s Eve treat for EDM fans at Sunburn. If this one’s not on your to-do list for year-end, you need to make a new list!
Image Credits: delhitown.in; knutsontravels.com; newsworks.org; wikimedia.org; alsisarmahal.com; festivalsherpa.com
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