A Summer of World Music Festivals in 2012

Buzz Singh at a drum workshop at the 2011 Rainforest World Music Festival
Photo by Angel Romero
The summer festival season offers fabulous opportunities for international travelers. World Music Central uncovers some of the most interesting folk and world music festivals across the globe.

We begin with one of the most exotic destinations, the Rainforest World Music Festival. It takes place annually during July at Sarawak Cultural Village, near Kuching in the state of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo. In addition to presenting local, regional and international music talent, the festival provides workshops and an arts and craft bazaar.
When: July 13 – 15, 2012
Website: rwmf.net

If you travel to northern Europe, check out the Førde Folk and World Music Festival in Norway. It’s one of the finest festivals in Scandinavia, held in the city of Førde, near the majestic fjords. Each year the festival has a theme. This year it is Coexistence.
When: July 5 – 8, 2012
Website: fordefestival.no

One of the most famous world music festivals is WOMAD in the UK. Although has several international franchises throughout the globe, the UK festival WOMAD Charlton Park is the best known.
When: July 27 – 29, 2012
Website: womad.co.uk

Pirineos Sur 2012 Poster
Pirineos Sur, held in July at the scenic Aragonese Pyrenees in Spain, is one of the most reputable world music festivals in southern Europe.
When: July 13-28.
Website: pirineos-sur.es

Another iconic Spanish festival is La Mar de Musicas which takes place in the ancient city of Cartagena, a coastal city in the Mediterranean province of Murcia. La Mar de Musicas focuses on a different country or region every year. This year it’s the New Sounds of Africa, including a tribute to Malian singer Omou Sangare.
When: July 19-28, 2012.
Website: lamardemusicas.com

Madrid, Spain’s capital always has attractive programs for the summer season. The best known is the Veranos de la Villa. This extensive series of concerts includes world music, flamenco, jazz, classical music and rock. Flamenco stars will be featured July and August at the Sabatini Gardens next to the Royal Palace. Meanwhile, Teatro Circo Price will present world music stars.
When: July – August, 2012
Website: http://veranosdelavilla.esmadrid.com

One of Europe’s largest Celtic music festivals takes place annually in Ortigueira (northwestern Spain). The Festival Internacional del Mundo Celta showcases some of the finest international Celtic music acts as well as the best from various regions of Spain and the winners of their annual folk music contest.
When: July 12-15
Website: festivaldeortigueira.com

For guitar lovers, Festival de la Guitarra de Cordoba (Cordoba Guitar Festival) is the place to go. The festival held in historic Cordoba (Spain) includes concerts with some of the world’s finest guitarists in the areas of flamenco, blues, classical, and jazz; as well as workshops and a guitar contest.
When: July 3 – 14
Website: guitarracordoba.org

Musical hybrids or mestizo music are the focus of MUMES, Festival de Músicas Mestizas y + MUMES held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in the subtropical island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands (Spain).
When: 15th July 2012
Website: www.mumes.es

World music festival FESTIM – Festival Intermunicipal de músicas de mundo showcases top Portuguese and international acts. It is a joint effort that takes place in various Portuguese towns, including Águeda, Albergaria-a-Velha, Estarreja, Ovar and Sever do Vouga.
When: 1 June – 21 July 2012
Website: www.festim.pt

Bons Sons Festival is held in the village of Cem Soldos, in Tomar (central Portugal). It will present Portuguese folk, fado an indie rock. Spain is the guest country this year and it will participate with two contemporary folk music bands and craftsmen.
When: August 16-19 of 2012
Website: bonssons.com

Germany is the home of several renowned world music festivals. TFF Rudolstadt is the country’s largest folk, roots, and world music festival. Specials in 2012 include: country focus on China, the magic instrument this year is the concertina; and the street dances are the dance of the year.
When: July 5 – 8 July, 2012
Website: tff-rudolstadt.de

Also in Germany, Stimmen has been around for quite a few years and is dedicated to the human voice.
When: July 11 – August 6, 2012
Website: www.stimmen.com

Les Suds À Arles takes place in Arles, in the Camargue region of France. The festival presents world music, flamenco and other forms of music.
When: July 9 – 15, 2012
Website: suds-arles.com

Also in France, Les Nuits Atypiques Langon, France showcases French and global folk and world music acts.
When: July 26 – 30, 2012
Website: www.nuitsatypiques.org

Scenic Montreal in Canada hosts one of the largest world music festivals in North America, Festival international Nuits d’Afrique.
When: July 10 – 20, 2012
Website: festivalnuitsdafrique.com/en

Another leading Canadian world music festival is Ontario’s Sunfest.
When: July 7-8, 2012
Website: sunfest.on.ca

The city of Toronto has Festival Bana y’Afrique, dedicated to African music. It takes place at Passion Lounge and Lula Lounge.
When July 20-22, 2012
Website: afriquenouvellemusique.org/bana.php#eng

Canada also has various folk summer festivals that feature a large number of world music acts. Two of the most reputable are Winnipeg Folk Festival in Manitoba and Vancouver Folk Music Festival in British Columbia.

Winnipeg Folk Festival
When: July 4 – 8, 2012
Website: www.winnipegfolkfestival.ca

Vancouver Folk Music Festival
When: July 13 – 15, 2012

Also in British Columbia (BC), the annual Mission Folk Music Festival presents a mix of world music, folk, Celtic and aboriginal music. It’s held at Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission, BC.
When: July 19-22, 2012
Website: www.missionfolkmusicfestival.ca

The annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (United States). It features world music, American roots and jazz.
When: June 27 – July 8, 2012
Website: festival.si.edu

In the West Coast of the United States, California Worldfest in Grass Valley combines world music, bluegrass, blues, folk.
When: July 12–15, 2012
Website: worldfest.net

Roskilde Festival in Denmark is one of the largest music events in northern Europe. The eclectic program includes a pretty decent number of world music acts.
When: July 5 – 8, 2012
Website: www.roskilde-festival.dk

Belgium has two renowned world music festivals: Sfinks Mixed and Couleur Café. Sfinks Mixed takes place July 27 – 29 of 2012 in Boechout.
Website: www.sfinks.be

Couleur Café is an early summer festival held in Brussels.
When: June 29 – July 1, 2012
Website: www.couleurcafe.be

In nearby Holland, Amsterdam Roots Festival is one the leading world music festivals in the Netherlands.
When: July 5 – 8, 2012
Website: www.amsterdamroots.nl

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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