Welcome readers to our inaugural feature on the most interesting events happening around the world in July! We’ve begun this monthly roundup to expand the part of our brains that deals with event organization, a sort of cultural exchange where we might derive fresh ideas and inspirations from the most intriguing and exciting happenings around the world. We begin in South Korea!
The Boryeong Mud Festival
Boryeong, South Korea
Over the past few years Tough Mudders and the like have become fabulously popular in the US, but they tend to exclude an enormous mud-bereft demographic: the sedentary, the out-of-shape, and the otherwise lazy. The South Koreans have come up with a brilliant solution, with those at the Boryeong Mud Festival not required to partake in the familiar testosterone circus of cardiovascular overkill; rather, participants simply play in and with mud all day, availing themselves of the Giant Mud Bath, the Mud Prison, and the Mud Soap-Making.
This year’s festival will run July 17 through the 26, but it’s recommended you go on the earlier side while the mud is still fresh (it is basically, after all, a public pool with less accountability).
Carnival of Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Readers, there simply is no party like a country-that-has-just-recently-been-removed-from-the-State-Sponsors-of-Terrorism-List-Party. You could maybe argue for a Peaceful Coup or Expanded Voting Rights party being superior, but based on how hard everyone partied after Libya was stricken from the list in 2006 (no one I’ve spoken with has any recollection of what they did that night) Cuba’s newfound terrorismlessness is not an occasion that should go unobserved.
And what better way to say “I’m sorry, I don’t really think you’re a terrorist,” than in person, in Cuba! The Cuban summer Carnival, like a more regal version of Mardi Gras, provides the perfect opportunity. What is more, the most magnificent mid-priced airline to ever take to the sky, Jetblue, begins direct flights there on July 3rd. Part of your July this year then is best spent in Cuba, lest the remaining State Sponsors of Terrorism win.
The Durban International Film Festival
Durban, South Africa
The Durban International Film Festival is now in its 36th year, which, by the way, makes it a mere year younger than Sundance. And it takes place in the city pictured above. Sundance takes place here. Little competition.
The festival takes place from July 16-26 and boasts more than 200 screenings, none of the screenings available on Netflix now or probably ever. In fact, you’ll hardly find a more spectacularly breathtaking location to binge watch movies this July than the coastal oasis of Durban.
Syrðugöta, Faroe Islands
With quotage like “Faroe Islands, maybe the most curious place left on earth,” (New York Times) and “I cannot see how a festival could be anymore delightfully odd,” (Virtual Festivals) it can be safely said that the G! Festival of Syrðugöta (pronounced “Sooryawoogoota”…I’m pretty sure), a town of 400, is with little doubt the place to be for those fatigued by the stock festival experiences provided by the uncurious countries of the earth.
The Darwin Lion Beer Can Regatta
At the Darwin Beer Can Regatta we find Australians at their near silliest, which is saying an awful lot. The event, which is near no major cities and wildly inconvenient to get to, is a must-see. Participants flirt with alcohol addiction for months to have enough beer cans to build their vessels, which then take to the seas in a fierce contest of buoyancy. The Regatta is not, ironically, BYOB, although there are beach bars nearby. With the event on July 12th less than a month away, you’ll need to get to Australia pretty much asap to begin drinking/construction.
International Literary Festival of Paraty
Over the last 13 years the International Literary Festival of Paraty has blossomed into one of the world’s great celebrations of the written word. And the festival’s setting doesn’t hurt its cause one bit: Paraty, situated south of Rio and north of São Paulo, displays a mixture of coastal splendor and narrow curving stone road quaintness that makes for near perfect Instagram fodder. The festival itself takes place the first week of July, drawing an international crowd and all manner of important and interesting authors for five days of readings, workshops, and screenings.