15-21 AUGUST


The inhabitants of Barcelona's Gracia neighbourhood are bracing themselves for their annual week-long fiesta marathon. Not to be confused with siestas (which there will be none of) as bands, dancers, processions and fringe- theatre acts take to the streets. The Fiesta de Gracia is a fancy-dress carnival with a difference; instead of the people, it is the streets that dress up. Residents spend the rest of the year in preparation, staging scenes of anything from the lunar eclipse to the Amazonian jungle complete with vines and crocodiles, competing with neighbouring streets for the most original street costume. Feasts and live acts begin the nightly festivities which continue on well into the next morning, when everyone goes for traditional churros (doughnuts dipped in hot chocolate sauce).



The Sienese thrash out their centuries-old rivalries in the second Palio horse race of the year. Although the race itself lasts for only a minute, the hair-raising violence with which the bare-back riders tear around the dirt-packed arena is breathtaking if not downright terrifying. The festivities and historical pageants that surround the race put the enchanting city of Siena in its element.

17-26 AUGUST

Sri Lanka

Heralded as the most splendid spectacle in Sri Lanka, and one of Asia's most famous events, the Esala Perahera which honours the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, is a procession which runs for 10 consecutive nights through the streets of Kandy. The celebration, which is 1,500 years old, has accumulated centuries-worth of elaborate tradition and grandeur, with the 10 days of festivities culminating in a parade of thousands of dancers and drummers and up to 100 elephants. One particular elephant, the Maligawa Tusker, is especially grand. Born and bred for the feat and by far the most glamorously attired of its breed, the Maligawa Tusker carries a replica of the Sacred Tooth over a carpet of white linen (less its frock gets spoilt) along the route of the procession. There are similar smaller processions elsewhere on the island, although the Esala Perahera cannot be beaten for its colour and exuberance, and sheer scale.

19-22 AUGUST


For five days the craftsmen of Hungary converge around the historical Buda Royal Palace in Budapest to sell their wares, demonstrate their skills and compete for the title of `Master of the Year'. This veritable folkloric extravaganza, now in its 13th year, celebrates Hungary's artisan heritage with stages of singers, dancers, folk groups, theatre, puppet shows and a dance house. Spectators are encouraged to try their hand at everything, and what you make you keep. On Sunday the folk craftsmen march to the Matthias Church for a ceremonial blessing of the bread. This is to celebrate their Saint, St Istayan, the first Catholic King of Hungary and founder of the modern nation.

19-22 AUGUST

The Netherlands

The Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam offers over 70 classical music concerts, to backdrops of the city palaces built by the city's merchants during its Golden Age. There will also be canal tours, home, garden and roof concerts, and on Saturday the good folk of Amsterdam open up their canalhouses to young talented musicians and the public. Thousands will flock to the festival's highlight - the Prinsengrachtconcert, which takes place in the open air, outside the Pulitzer Hotel and includes a recital of Le Carnaval des Animaux de Saint-Saens by celebrated French pianists Katia and Marielle Labeque.

20-22 AUGUST


Mallorca has entered a rival bid against Ibiza for possession of the Balearic rave scene, by staging the island's first three-day international music festival. Musica Mallorca '99 promises a smooth blend of live acts such as Courtney Pine, with a DJ line-up from Mad Professor to Talking Loud's 4 Hero. Meanwhile, sizzling latin band Jazzanova will be providing music to move to in the Spanish sunshine. The campsite accommodates 3,000, with tents provided for those who arrive early. (Hotline: tel: 0141 402 9616. Website



Preparation is underway again for the curious mixture of spectacles, exhibits and shows that is the Canadian National Exhibition, the largest of its kind in the world. Its origin as an agricultural show which began in 1879 is still visible in the livestock and horticultural exhibits which sit alongside the live bands, technological exhibits, beauty contests and genuinely fear-inducing fairground rides.

21-22 AUGUST

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has long since traded in the tie-dye and music-in-a- field festivals which made it famous, for an event with a different kind of flavour. Over 17,000 people are expected to flock to the Garlic Festival, now in its 15th year in the village of Newchurch, where visitors are invited to sample the dubious delights of everything from garlic fudge to garlic lemonade as well as the more traditional garlic foods such as seafood and sausage. And it does not stop there; kids can enjoy a garlic ice cream while they marvel at the stunts of the MAD Mountainbike Daredevils, or the acrobatics of the Beechmen's Circus. For adults, there is a country fair and nostalgic Sixties pop music for when the effects of the garlic beer and wine tasting set in. Meanwhile record-breaking strongman, John Evans, will be demonstrating that what spinach did for Popeye, garlic has done for him.



peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss