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Have the Ultimate Experience at these Totally Unique Festivals

Vibing in a crowd with strobe lights pulsing in rhythm to the beats blasting from the stage is surreal on its own. But pair this with the unique natural art of Mother Earth and you’re in for and out-of-this-world experience! Below is a list of unique festivals that take their décor one step further by collaborating with unusual landscapes.

Dariusz Grosa via Pexels.

Browse this selection of festivals and get a feeling for what happens when manmade vibrations meet ethereal natural sensations!

Desert Daze (Lake Perris, California, USA)

alleksana via Pexels

There will be no shortage of dust to kick up while dancing at the first on the list of unique festivals. Located in and even named after a desert, the Desert Daze festival is held on the parched sands next to Lake Morena. But these bone dry grounds are flooded with life as festivalgoers stream here each year.

And it’s not just the desert heat that’ll send you on a trip. Rightfully called a cosmic playground, there is nothing stopping you from untethering and floating into the open skies above. Four stages function to offer performances from rock to rap all the way to rhytym & blues. So music enthusiasts from all ages and backgrounds are bound to resonate with the performances.

Ready to get dusted? For more information on the heartbeat of the desert and to book your ticket, visit the Desert Daze website.

Electric Forest Festival (Rothbury, Michigan, USA)

FifthLegend from Eagan, Minnesota, United States of America, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Celebrated on a family farm with a rich history stretching back nearly 100 years is the Electric Forest Festival. The event takes place under the stars among ancient cedar trees – their trunks bathed neon in the strobe lights. This gives birth to a fantasy world that, along with the proximity to nature and the thumping music, creates an otherworldly ambiance.

Aside from its novel natural attributes, other charms include Mythical Forest Minigolf, horseback trails, and more. The four day music line-up features multiple genres, notably electronic and rock, but also pop and jam bands. For more information, visit the Electric Forest festival website.

Roughly 50 000 people partied on these grounds in 2023, and the tickets are already sold out for 2024. It’s anyone’s guess how hard the ground will shake – maybe hard enough to open a gateway into a parallel universe.

Secret Solstice (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Miki Czeti & Clive Kim via Pexels

Journey to the center of the Earth during this once-in-a-lifetime-experience bash. Party for three days straight under the midnight sun during the Icelandic summer solstice. And it’s not only sleep deprivation that will have you seeing things: the Secret Solstice festival is renowned for its epic locations. In 2016, it became the first ever performance to go down (literally) inside a volcano’s magma chamber!

Don’t let this small island’s size fool you. Exclusive side events take place at unusual locations. Partygoers have raved through the tunnels carved into the ice of a glacier, and rhapsodized during geothermal pool parties. The underground volcanic chambers provide natural heat energy to power festivalgoers through a weekend of nonstop partying.

Iceland shows where it’s at as the stage erupts with sonic booms generated by rock, pop, electronic, hip-hop, and more. After a hiatus, this unique festival will be back at full force in 2025. Until then, several pre-parties will be announced during 2024.

Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival (Looe Key Reef, Florida, USA)

Heard of an air guitar? Try throwing down to a water guitar! A bunch of divers and festival enthusiasts come together at Looe Key Reef, a spot within North America’s only live coral barrier reef. Mermaid and pirate musicians jam it up on eccentric dummy-instruments designed by residential artist August Powers.

Calling this a “unique festival” is almost underrating it. The fish jive to sonic bubbles formed by a “trom-bonefish,” “sea-phan flute” and “Fluke-a-Lele”, but the snorkeling festivalgoers hear actual music. Special submersible speakers pump ocean-themed music like the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and Jimmy Buffet’s “Fins”.

Water is denser than air, so the increased speed sound travels with causes an effect akin to surround sound. If you really need another reason to turn into a mermaid, consider that the festival was created to promote reef protection. Indeed, by highlighting coral reef preservation and responsible diving, attendees are reminded of the crucial need to protect nature’s treasures.

Telluride Bluegrass Music Festival (Telluride, Colorado, USA)

Via the Planet Bluegrass Facebook page

Tucked away in the mountainous terrain of Southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains is this family friendly, unique festival. Attendees can dance in the hills with a view of snow-capped summits while live performances wrench their heartstrings as only the West can. And at night the open campgrounds have a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountain range and ethereal sunsets.

Cowboy hats and country lilts characterize the event and the line-up features primarily bluegrass music (it’s in the name!). It’s in these rugged mountains where your American roots dig deep. In fact, some 48.000 festivalgoers cross these grounds over four days, and the party just doesn’t stop. The small town of Telluride is nearby and hosts the nocturnal Nightgrass performances.

Tired of stomping your boots? Get competitive with the Band or Troubadour contests, sign up for horseback riding for the whole family at the Family tent, or browse the selection of workshops.

To book your ticket down to these country roads, visit the Planet Bluegrass website.

Ice Music Festival (Geilo, Norway)

Lerkeskogen20, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the heart of the Norwegian winter, mournful notes penetrate the frosty landscape as ethereal sounds are coaxed from ice instruments at this gem between unique festivals. Bill Covitz is the expert sculptor who masterfully crafts these instruments. Xylophones, viola, ice drums, ice horns, and even harps have been created for the event.

To embrace the beauty of winter, the performances are often done outside, but always in an artful setting sculpted exclusively from our most precious resource – water, albeit frozen. This forms an integral part of the magical moments carefully curated by the hands of master ice musicians.

Feel free to bring your own cozy nourishment and non-alcoholic drinks, but if you’re craving some comfort food like waffles, stew, and hot chocolate, Bergsjøstølen Hotell is just 100 meters away from the festival. For more information on the most exceptional natural location for a fest, visit the Ice Music Festival webpage. Bonus points: this event is also the holder of a Guinness World Record.

Snowbombing (Mayrhofen, Austria)

This experience does not come cheap, but set in the snowy mountains of the Mayrhofen ski resort, it’s worth saving up for. An extinguished list of artists make this one of the top electronic dance music festivals in the world. And when the snow reflects the vibrant lights dancing to the beat of the echoing music, it’s no surprise why!

Don’t skip packing your “fancy” because there’re brunches and comedy-plus-cheese shows lined up. And if you’re up for some wild fun, the Snowlympics has a bunch of snow wars and games ready to roll! The resort itself offers snowboarding and ski lessons, or cable car rides (paired with speed dating!). With all the extra activities, it’s a good thing the festival stretches over five days.

It’s been called “Glastonbury on Ice”, and not necessarily just the frozen water type! To get more information and book your ticket visit the Snowbombing website.

Want more information on festivals?

Inge Strauss