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The Top Ten Summer Events In Europe
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The Top Ten Summer Events In Europe

Picture of Eleanor Cunningham
Updated: 9 February 2017
Europe is bursting with influential artists, avant-garde filmmakers and iconic writers, and carries a unique collection of cultures that attract visitors worldwide. With summer on its way, we take a look at the top ten arts and culture festivals happening in Europe in 2013, including well known and lesser known destinations.

Italy – Isola del Cinema

Throughout June – July

Since 1995 L’Isola del Cinema film festival has been held in the heart of Rome, between the picturesque shores of Tiber River and Tiberina Island. The festival hosts events dedicated to the interaction between cinema and other arts, it covers history, culture, art and innovation. Around 300,000 spectators attend more than 70 nights of movie previews, retrospectives, and reviews. The festival is also home to heated debates on cinema and its connections with literature, poetry and philosophy.

France – 32nd Fête de la Musique

June 21

Held annually in France on the day of the summer solstice, Fete de la Musique is a street music festival celebrated throughout the whole country. Covering a range of music styles including jazz, rock, electronic, folk and hip-hop, musicians perform for free in a variety of locations and venues. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘the voice’. This subject is manipulated through different musical methods such as tone, color, chords, accents, and even geography and culture. Looking at the expansion of musicals, singing groups, choirs and karaoke, this year’s fête is not to be missed.

Festival de Marseille
©Bill T. JONES/Paul B. Goode

France – Festival de Marseille

June 19 –July 12

The Festival de Marseille is a popular festival celebrating international theatre and contemporary arts. Since 1996 the festival has showcased dance, along with theatre, music and visual arts. The festival also gives visitors the opportunity to interact with shows in public places, public performances, art workshops and facilitates meetings with the artists. Its sole aim is to provide the community access to the arts and to bring different people together from around the globe.

Russia – White Lights Festival

May 24 –July 28

This unique festival held in St. Petersburg is one of the most popular and diverse musical events in Russia, and is considered one of the best music festivals in the world today. Due to its northern geographical location, from early June to early July the city is almost always in daylight, and the sun never descends low enough beneath the horizon to allow the sky to grow dark. Among the musical and arts performances, major venues such as the Mariinsky Theatre host a number of classical opera, ballet and dance concerts. There are also carnivals, with one of the most spectacular taking place at Peterhof, which features reproductions of key historical events.

Switzerland – Montreux Jazz Festival

July 5 – 20

The Montreux Jazz Festival started in 1967 and has since become one of the most major music events in Europe. The festival includes free events with concerts and DJ sets in Montreux Jazz Café, The Studio and Music in the Park, and many other venues. In 2013 the architects at Bureau A devoted the lakefront around Rue Emery to the origins of jazz, paying homage to the African-American music that is at the heart of the Festival.

Spain – Grec Festival

July 1 – 31

During the month of July, the Grec Festival of Barcelona aims to imbue the importance of creativity and further the internationalisation of the country’s performing arts culture. Its organisers believe that theatre, dance, circus and music are laboratories for expression, and should be a major part of life. In 1929, an unused quarry on Mount Montjuïc was converted into an open-air stage that took its inspiration from the theatre at Epidaurus, and since 1976 has been the central location for the Grec Festival of Barcelona.

United Kingdom – Edinburgh Fringe Festival

August 2nd – 26th

Taking place every August in Scotland’s capital city, the Fringe is a unique collection of artists, both known and unknown. This three-week festival includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, musicals, operas, music, exhibitions, events and more. From its beginnings in 1947, the Fringe has welcomed all kinds of genres and performers to take part.

Germany – Berlin International Literature Festival

September 4 – 15

The Berlin International Literature Festival gives visitors and its participating authors the experience of literary diversity. This international event attracts South African novelists, Albanian writers, Arabic poets, American short story writers, and many more. Established and emerging writers come together in 180 events over 11 days, exploring new and traditional streams in world literature. Prose, poetry, conversations with authors and political discussions, children’s and youth literature and film adaptations of literature – The Berlin International Literature Festival is a vital, polyglot forum, staged by and for literary enthusiasts.

Norway – Momentum 7

Momentum 7 in Moss, Norway, is the Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art and will showcase 32 international artists. The main venue is Momentum Kunsthall, a former brewery in the city centre of Moss. Curators Erlend Hammer and Power Ekroth plan to curate two separate parts for the 2013 biennial, each with their own working title and their own group of artists. By dividing the biennial between them, they will increasingly put their signature on the exhibition, and to a greater extent be individually responsible for the end result.

Italy – Spoleto 56: Festival of the 2 Worlds

29 June – 15 July

The Festival of the 2 Worlds in Spoleto – also known as the ‘Spoleto Festival’ and ‘Spoleto Festival of the 2 Worlds’ – is one of the oldest festivals in Umbria, celebrating arts and culture. The festival was the idea of the master composer Gian Carlo Menotti, with his vision being to unite two cultures and two art worlds: the European and the American. Dedicated to art of all kinds, the events held include performances, theatre workshops, awards, contests, conferences and art exhibitions.