Introduction 2

How to find the perfect party

Before you pick that perfect festival to begin your conquest of the World Party circuit, it’s worth remembering that there are some significant barriers in the way. All too often, festivals can be the worst time for travelling to – and staying in – the place in which the event is held. Accommodation prices rocket and the huge crowds can leave you feeling alienated while the festival bangs away somewhere in the distance. The golden rule, therefore, is to make your plans and book your accommodation at least six months in advance. This may not sit with the “life’s too short, live for the moment” feeling that sees you packing your party costume in the first place, but it will prevent you having to fork out a fortune for the only vacant hotel room in town. The “Doing…” section of each event provides advice and suggestions on overnight options (including good park benches, where appropriate) for all budgets. The other main concern is safety. Some events, such as the running of the bulls at Pamplona’s Fiesta de San Fermin, are inherently dangerous. Don’t feel pressured into thinking you’ve got to take part in the encierro: it’s a great thrill if you get away with it, but, every year, dozens of runners – mainly drunk tourists – are injured (and occasionally killed). Another risk lies with being in a place where thousands of partygoers are losing their inhibitions at the same time. People occasionally freak out, pickpockets can relieve you of your cash and passport before you’ve cracked open your first beer, and, most importantly, crowds can stampede. Finally, trying a cocktail of drink and drugs for the first time is almost certainly best not done in the middle of a crowd of half a million people. Nothing in life is risk-free, and, ultimately, it’s up to you. Our aim is that you’ll be inspired to experience at least one of the events in this book. Maybe you’ll get carried away and make it your life’s mission to go to them all. If you do, the experiences can be memorable: swigging vodka on the banks of an extinct volcano before skinny-dipping at 3am during the Westmann Islands Festival; staggering down New Orleans’ Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras with a bucket-sized iced Sazerac cocktail and a pocket- full of throws; waking up to the scent of a thousand camels in Pushkar; and wild, celebratory beers at 9am following the survival of another bum-clinchingly terrifying Pamplona bull run. We hope that this book will be your well-thumbed companion to many festivals and parties around the world. Happy travels!

Help us update

On any given day of the year there will be tens, perhaps hundreds of festivals happening somewhere in the world, and you will no doubt have come across some on your travels that we have missed. If you feel there’s a festival or event that should be included in the book, or at least mentioned on the website, contact us at and tell us about Enclose some photos if you have them. World Party is an interactive project and depends on the feedback of its readers. If your contribution makes it into the next edition, you will receive a free Rough Guide of your choice – and, of course, a copy of the new World Party.

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