Cannes. Glastonbury. The Edinburgh Fringe. Most of the world’s biggest festivals tend to focus on just one art form. But now, those celebrating or championing more than just one thing is on the rise.
Art and music are the most common bedfellows but there’s now even a festival set in mountain caves in Austria where dance sets are interspersed with political discussions.
Whether you’re more interesting in dancing, multimedia visual art, discussions, or workshops, here are the 5 most interesting hybrid festivals that there’s still time for you to attend this year.
Astronomers present visualised data with music at TodaysArt
TodaysArt, The Hague, Netherlands
(22 - 23 September, 2017)
A trailblazing art, music, and technology festival in The Hague, TodaysArt offers an array of interdisciplinary experiences, performances, and installations. Case in point: last year, two astronomers presented visualised astronomical data accompanied by new music.
The festival uses temporary spaces dotted around the city, so you could be enjoying experimental electronic music acts in a public square, museum, or theatre. Bacán Bed & Breakfast is right in the centre of the Hague, in prime position for taking in all of the festival’s events.
Art and music in a 15th-century Belgian castle at Horst
Horst, Kasteel Van Horst Holsbeek, Belgium
(8 - 9 September, 2017)
Set in a 15th-century Belgian castle surrounded by moat and woodland, HORST is a small festival with a novel feel. Emphasising the importance of art and music in shaping the world, the festival curators champion young creatives over established artists, while upholding a breadth of international talent.
Workshops, lectures, and exhibitions are scheduled alongside electronic music from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Young Marco. With a big garden, wooden floors, high ceilings, and statement furniture, B&B Het Verhaal is a pretty rural retreat in the Holsbeek province where HORST takes place.
Head to Greece for electronic music and culture
Reworks Festival, Thessaloniki, Greece
(13 - 17 September, 2017)
For over a decade revellers have headed to the sun-drenched Greek port city of Thessaloniki for a festival of electronic music and culture, and the festival recently launched its Reworks Agora platform, expanding the scope of an already eclectic line up.
If you’re looking for a sanctuary to relax in after the festival, ThessHomeLiving is a great space. Timber beams, stone sofas with fitted cushions, a natural colour scheme, palm plants, and concept walls create a modern and super comfortable aesthetic.
3hd Festival's raison d'être is to challenge the mainstream
3hd Festival, Hau, Berlin, Germany
Now three years old, 3hd Festival grew out of a Berlin music and visual arts platform called Creamcake that explores the Internet and changing technology in relation to creativity. At the festival, experimental, emerging artists dominate the line up of discussions, visual art collaborations, and essays.
Though the overarching incentive is to challenge the mainstream, there are exceptions to the rule with some regular dance music served up alongside all the multimedia art. Stay in FREIRAUM City Apartment KaDeWe in the Schöneberg district of Berlin for a peaceful stay in a colourfully-decorated ground floor flat overlooking a leafy courtyard.
Elevate Festival is set in tunnels and caves in the Austrian mountains
Elevate Festival, Dom Im Berg, Graz, Austria
(1 - 4 March, 2018)
Discussing world peace, poverty, and politics at a festival may be a bit of a raving cliché but At Elevate festival, it forms part of the fantastic line up. The venue is a system of tunnels dug into the side of an Austrian mountain, lit up to surreal effect when revellers are dancing to electronic music.
And between musical performances, there are lectures and discussions from MPs and human rights lawyers confronting the challenges of the future, from climate change to migration. The Augarten Art Hotel is a design hotel just outside Graz, with light streaming in from huge windows, an infinity pool, and stunning designer furniture.