As much as the British festival scene is one inexplicably bound to the fairer months, synonymous with dreams of scorched earth, sun warped vistas and crushed beer cups, a short trip away from our overcast shores will find a desire to unfurl a tent unencumbered by drawn out winters.
In Tilsburg, The Netherlands, a city otherwise known for its 10 day long gay pride funfair and as the country’s former wool capital, Roadburn festival delivers the world’s foremost selection of psychedelic, doom and avant-garde metal. Now in its sixteenth year, Roadburn succeeds not only in fulfilling its mandate of pushing the boundaries of “left field, sonic pleasures’, but also in booking the most eclectically named line-up imaginable. This year’s roster achieves nomenclatural brilliance through stoner metal outfit Acid Witch, Italian prig-rockers Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin and blackened death champions Goatwhore.
Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival
Way out West and on the weekend of the 13h of March, the small town of Nederland, Colorado will host the 14th annual Frozen Dead Guy Days. The festival is conceptually based on the story of Bredo Morstøl. At the start of the 90s, Bredo posthumously found himself in California after his grand-son Trygve flew him across the Atlantic in a cryogenically frozen state. After several years on ice at Trans Time Cryonics, Bredo decided to bridge the middle management gap and set up a facility of his own in Nederland. A couple of visa failures and a house eviction later, and word of Trygve’s corpse, located in a small, unpowered shack, leaked to the public and became a sensation. The subsequent rallying around of the aptly named “Ice Man” led to the town’s sponsored upkeep of the corpse and the initiation of the Frozen Dead Guy Days. This year’s festival highlights include Coffin Racing, Costume Polar Plunging, live music, a frozen t-shirt contest, Ice Turkey Bowling, Brain Freeze Contests, a parade of hearses, the Frozen Dead Poet Slam and the now infamous, Frozen Salmon Toss.
National Pyrotechnic Festival
In the southern Mexican town of Tultepec, the first half of March is dedicated to honouring the towns booming fireworks industry. In celebration of St John, patron saint of the pyrotechnics guild, the National Pyrotechnic Festival is two weeks filled with firework displays and firework based events. As well as a strong selection of regional food, attendees will witness the Castillo de Torre, a musical firework competition fought between 7 display teams, and the Pamplonas; a take on the Spanish bull running event in which 300 bull shaped wagons rumble through the town, firing rockets and roman candles at the hoards of scrambling onlookers.
And in conclusion of the rich, overlooked months of the spring festival scene, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival offers the perfect transition into the summer month of May. Alongside the Folklife Village, its cowboy bullwhip weavers and handcrafted accordions, this year’s festival offers a particular focus to the influence of Louisiana native American culture in the shaping of New Orleans. With music from Elton John, The Meters and Gurrumul, the lineup is also phenomenal.