The Cultured Traveller, September 2019-November 2019 Issue 27 – Newsflash


New York City’s 46th annual Village Halloween Parade is billed as “The nation’s most wildly creative public participatory event in the greatest city in the world!” This vast and vibrant event sees more than 50,000 costumed party goers, attired in ghoulish fancy dress, line-up at 6th Avenue at Canal Street to set off on a mammoth parade, led by master puppeteers Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles, together with hundreds of puppets, bands of varying musical styles, dancers, circus performers and floats. Founded in 1974 by mask-maker and puppeteer Ralph Lee, this massive public participatory gathering attracts millions of spectators and embodies a different theme each year, this year’s being “Wild Thing”. USD 25 buys you into the themed costume section, including a secret entry point for early admission, no queues, a special DJ and soundtrack for an in-parade party and the chance to meet other crazy costume fiends!



4-8 September 2019

During five days towards the end of summer, what is billed as “the largest sound system culture festival in Europe” brings together some of the biggest names from the most vibrant and cutting edge hip-hop, grime, reggae, techno and dub music scenes in a celebratory fusion of musical genres. Held in the abandoned 19th century Fort Punta Christo, perched over the dazzling Adriatic Sea close to the historic city of Pula in Croatia’s northern region of Istria, party goers can chose to let rip in a collection of truly spectacular locations set in and around the fort, including a dungeon, a courtyard, a moat, a boat, the beach or the festival’s main stage set on a harbour. Outlook combines a heady mix of fun in the sun and under the stars sound sensations. Headlining Outlook’s final year at Fort Punta Christo will be hugely successful British electronic music duo Chase & Status.



11 September 2019

According to popular legend, Onam harvest festival is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the beginning of Chingam, the first month of the Hindu Malayalam calendar. This is a time when, after three months of heavy rains in India, the skies become clear and blue again, forests turn a lush deep green, lakes and rivers overflow and lotuses and lilies are in full bloom. People put flower mats in front of their houses to welcome the king, reap the harvest, celebrate and generally rejoice. Traditional activities during Onam are centered around worshipping, music, dancing, sports and, above all else, eating good food. The most impressive part of the festival is a grand, nine-course feast called Onasadya, prepared on Thiruvonam, consisting of more than a dozen dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to partake of the vast meal.



18-22 September 2019

Syros’ international animation festival is the largest of its kind in Greece and one of the twenty most important globally. Animasyros started in 2008 and is wholly dedicated to Europe’s animation narrative. Held in Hermoupolis, the capital of the Cycladic islands, Animasyros comprises special screenings; tributes to international animation festivals, artists and studios; media literacy activities for children, youngsters and adults; parties and numerous parallel events. This year, Animasyros launches an Agora animation market section, which the festival organisers hope will become a hub for creative professional networking. More than 200 animation films will also be screened, plus the festival features three separate international competition sections, for professional, student and feature films. Animasyros is free and takes place at the imposing Apollo Theatre (pictured), the Hermoupolis Cultural Centre, the University of the Aegean, Miaouli Square and other locations within the beautiful neoclassical town of Hermoupolis.



31 October - 2 November 2019


At the beginning of every November in the city of Oaxaca (approximately 280 miles southeast of Mexico City), 3,000-year old Día de los Muertos, which can be traced back to pre-Colombian times, is celebrated for three days. During these 72-hours, the dead are honoured and their souls welcomed home as a blessing. Throughout this annual festival, images abound of the iconic, animated skeletons called calaveras, which were invented by 19th century printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada and popularised by artist Diego Rivera. October 31st is preparation day, when the women clean the house and get food ready while the guys build clay altars. November 1st is dedicated to children and infants – Día de los Angelitios (Day of the Little Angels). The main event on 2nd November – Día de los Muertos – is usually an adult affair, with bigger and more elaborate costumes, more complex rituals, spicier foods and plenty of tequila.



Mid-late September 2019


Every September in mid-late September, towards the end of the rainy season, the 500 townsfolk of In-Gall, in the Agadez region of north-east Niger, grows to tens of thousands as nomads and their herds make the pilgrimage to the tiny West African town to celebrate the annual gathering that serves as a harvest festival, a marketplace, a gathering of the tribes and, most importantly, a spectacular male beauty parade. Here the roles are reversed since it is the men who paint their faces, don ceremonial costumes and sing and dance to impress the female judges, in an effort to be named the most attractive man of their clan. The talent portion of the show, known as Yaake, is akin to line dancing, with men swaying shoulder-to-shoulder, singing and chanting in a hypnotic fashion, fuelled by a stimulating tea made of fermented bark, rumored to have a hallucinogenic effect, enabling them to dance wildly, often non-stop, for hours on end.

Featuring 225 films hailing from 77 countries, screened in 14 cinemas over twelve days just about sums up the 63rd annual BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, which showcases original movies by both world-renowned and emerging filmmakers. This year’s opening night gala will be The Personal History of David Copperfield, directed by the multi-award-winning writer, filmmaker and broadcaster Armando Iannucci. This fresh take on Charles Dickens’ classic novel boasts a stellar British cast, led by BAFTA Award winner Dev Patel as David Copperfield (pictured), plus Academy award-winning Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Paul Whitehouse and Gwendoline Christie; many of whom are expected on the red carpet at Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square for the movie’s European premiere on Wednesday evening 2nd October 2019.

Laos’ grand stupa, Pha That Luang (pictured), was built over an ancient stupa in the 16th century by King Setthathirath when he moved the capital of Lane Xang Kingdom from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. It has since become the national symbol of Laos and is profoundly revered by all its countryfolk. Once a year for three days, That Luang stupa is the focus of a three-day religious festival celebrated at full moon in November, beginning with a pre-dawn gathering of thousands of pilgrims from Laos and Thailand who listen to prayers and sermons chanted by hundreds of monks all representing Lao wats. There follows a grand procession to pay homage to Lady Si Meuang, who was crushed to death as the city’s foundation pillar was about to be planted and has since become the protector of Vientiane and its inhabitants. The procession ends with a giant firework display which symbolises an offering of flowers of light to Lord Buddha.



1-17 November 2019

If you enjoy the revelry of swashbuckling combined with a western Caribbean climate complete with beach resorts, scuba diving and a multitude of snorkelling sites, Pirates Week is undoubtedly the best time for you to be in the Caymans! Every November, pirates run amok throughout the islands in this family-friendly festival of Cayman culture and pirate folklore that brings to life the famous Pirates of the Caribbean, complete with simulated pirate invasions, parades and fireworks displays, street dances, costume contests, parties and fancy dressed revellers at the end of every gangplank. Whilst festivities take place on Cayman Brac (1-3 Nov) and Little Cayman (15-17 Nov), the main event happens on Grand Cayman (7-11 Nov) where five fun-filled days will mark Pirates Week’s 42nd year. Immediately following the Grand Cayman festivities, special “District Days” on each island celebrate the various aspects that make these beautiful islands so unique.

The 28th incarnation of CAFe Budapest festival offers more than one hundred events at over forty venues across the Hungarian capital – including the city’s enormous cultural complex, Művészetek Palotája – with many free to attend. Spanning seventeen days, besides the work of Béla Bartók, this year’s festival focuses on the worth of another major Hungarian composer, Péter Eötvös. The festival program always covers an incredibly wide spectrum and showcases a range of musical genres and performance art, from classical music to theatre premieres, popular music and jazz, to dance and visual art, as well as providing a platform for contemporary dance, circus acts, fine arts, design and photography. For 2019, CAFe Budapest affiliated events will again include the Budapest Ritmo world music festival, the Art Market Budapest and the Margó Literary Festival and Book Fair.

Arguably the arts capital of the Philippines, Angono in Rizal has continuously attracted art lovers from across the nation, not to mention globally. Originally scheduled to coincide with the festival of Pope St. Clement, the town comes alive every year during Higantes, when towering 5 or 6-metre tall papier-mâché giants (designed to express a person’s character or a unique idea and painted in vibrant colours) parade through the streets much to the joy of vivacious crowds. According to the locals, this practice began when locals in Angono created a dummy to portray a mean landlord who was best recognized by his foul mannerisms and imposing height. For tourists visiting Angono, a detour to the Blanco Family museum gives an insight to the origins of this fascinating festival, including a large collection of giant higantes created by renowned higante designer Argana Tori.

Held at Austin’s Zilker Metropolitan Park in the south of the city – a beautiful recreational area of more than 350 acres at the juncture of Barton Creek and the Colorado River – the ACL Music Festival was founded in 2002 and spans two, consecutive three-day weekends annually. Boasting eight stages, where musical groups from a variety of genres including rock, indie, country, folk, electronic and hip-hop perform for around half a million fans, in addition to the live performances, the festival showcases local foods, art, crafts and charitable organisations. This year’s line-up is headlined by none other than legendary American hard rock band Guns N’ Roses. Also performing, on both weekends, will be iconic British indie rock band The Cure, featuring original lead singer Robert Smith. Foodies will also be well catered for by the ACL Eats Food Court, offering tacos, brews, vegan options and more from Austin and the surrounding area’s best restaurants.

Now in its 48th year, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta brings together pilots, crews and hot air and gas ballooning enthusiasts from more than fifty countries and draws a crowd of up to 100k. With hundreds upon hundreds of brightly coloured balloons taking off, the fiesta is an impressive visual spectacle. Mass ascensions (when hundreds of balloons lift off together into the morning sky) are held on all four weekend mornings plus one day mid-week, but only after a dawn patrol carefully examines the weather conditions. When the dawn patrol gives the green light, balloons from all over the world rise together in a harmonious lift off as dawn breaks over the Sandia Mountains. The sight of so many colourful balloons in the sky, is as breathtaking for first-time visitors as it continues to be for veteran attendees. Over the weekends, laser light-shows and firework displays bring the nights to a spectacular close.



22 October - 3 November 2019

Since the first Festival of Music and the Arts took place in October 1951, Wexford Festival Opera has grown into one of the world’s leading opera festivals. For 68 years, the festival has breathed new life into forgotten or neglected operatic masterpieces, establishing a reputation for high-quality productions that every year bring thousands of opera lovers flocking from all over the world to the beautiful harbour town of Wexford, in the southeastern corner of the island. All operas are performed at The National Opera House, Ireland’s first custom-built opera house. The gala concert on 27th October, featuring a collection of favourite party pieces performed by members of the company, will undoubtedly be a festival highlight. The festival’s 90-minute ShortWork daytime opera productions have become a popular feature. Intimately staged in a nearby hotel, they offer audiences an opportunity to enjoy a one-act opera performed by cast members of the evening operas.

The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience started out small and has, over time, grown into a mega-event spanning several days and drawing some massive music industry names. Over the course of its 18-year history, this weekend festival (whose motto is “worship the music”) has hosted thousands of artists and legions of fans from all over the world, attracting mystics, madmen, femme fatales, gods, goddesses and music lovers of all kinds under one collective consciousness. Across the festival grounds of New Orleans’ City Park, Voodoo hosts interactive and immersive large-scale art installations; the Brew Dat Beer Hall; a handcrafted shopping experience at the Market Place, and much more. This year’s festival is headlined by a range of big names including Brandi Carlile, Interpol and Bassnectar. The night before the festival starts, gourmands are invited to a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the middle of the festival courtesy of award-winning American celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez.

The capital of Queensland is a large, modern metropolis brimming with entrepreneurial zeal, cosmopolitan young people, bohemian nightclubs and world-class restaurants, so it’s little surprise that Brisbane hosts one of the country’s top food and wine shows. Celebrating regionally sourced and locally-produced foods and vino, and showcasing artisan and home-grown produce from within the state and across Australia, Brisbane’s Good Food Show offers everything from master classes hosted by leading chefs to “The Smelly Cheese Project” presided over by a cheese expert taking visitors on a sensory cheese appreciation. Learn how to become a wine master at the Riedel Drinks Lab and watch the best interstate chefs cook up a storm at the live Princess Cruises Theatre. For a more exclusive experience, buy a ticket for the Cape Mentelle VIP Lounge to sip unlimited wines from the Margaret River region plus lunch designed by Matt Moran and desserts by Maggie Beer.



27 October 2019


India’s biggest annual celebration – commonly referred to as The Festival of Lights – is an ancient five-day festival of physical and spiritual light, celebrated on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartika, marking the victory of light over darkness, hope over despair and the freedom of the Sixth Guru. Guru Hargobind Ji was freed from imprisonment in 1619 by Mughal Emperor Jahangir and at the same time he managed to release 52 political prisoners from Gwalior Fort. Hence, Diwali is the cause for much annual reverence and good cheer. An important tradition in India, participants clean their homes before the festival and celebrate with friends and family by sharing food and exchanging gifts. Houses are festooned with electric lights and at night, candles, lamps, torches and fireworks are lit, providing a spectacular display of light that symbolises the awareness of inner light and the triumph of good over evil.

Attended by HRH Princess Anne and the Duke of Fife, these old military exercises remain the same as they have for hundreds of years yet have grown into a worldwide exhibition. Everything from traditional tug-of-wars and caber-tossing to dance competitions and solo bagpipe performances are used to determine the skill, prowess and endurance of those competing. Often divided into categories of heavyweight competition, dance and music, the burly strongman-esque events have evolved into something of a Scottish rite of passage. The caber toss is considered by many to be Scotland’s signature event and sees logs of more than a dozen feet long carried by hulking men and women. Other more inventive ways of pitting man against man include the Maide Leisg, when two men sit on the ground, with the soles of their feet pressed against each other and, holding a stick between their hands, pull back and forth until one of them raises off the ground.