Music, lights, sounds, and a pulsing sea of people draw millions to festivals and dance events around the world each year. If you want to make 2016 a year to remember, fit one of these seven amazing festival experiences into your schedule.
1. Amsterdam Dance Event — Amsterdam, Netherlands
Arguably the top electronic dance music (EDM) event of the year, Amsterdam Dance Event attracts the world's greatest DJs to EDM's backyard- the Netherlands. The five-day festival takes place each October, bringing over 350,000 revelers from around the globe to one of the top clubbing cities in the world.
2. Burning Man — Black Rock City, USA
This annual gathering in the Nevada desert focuses on music, art, and self-expression. Spanning from the last Sunday in August to the first Monday in September, the event attracts over 60,000 people. This event is unique in that attendees do not take any money to the event. Rather, they bring everything they need with them, and barter with other participants for anything else they may want.
At the conclusion of the event, visitors gather around a giant statue of "The Man" for a massive bonfire at the center of the city.
3. Carnival — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The world famous Rio Carnival dates back to 1723, taking place annually before Lent, a Christian religious observance. Carnival's highlight is a series of parades filled with ornate floats and impeccably dressed dancers from among Rio's 200 samba schools. The parades pass through the Sambadrome, a unique stadium built just for Carnival parades.
4. Download Festival — Leicestershire, England
Rock music and England have a wonderful history together, and the premier event to celebrate that relationship is Download Festival, held annually at Donington Park in Leicestershire. The festival features newer bands as well as classic acts such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Rammstein. If you want to rock, head to England this summer for Download Fest.
5. Electric Daisy Carnival — Las Vegas, USA
EDC is the ultimate electronic dance music experience in North America. Taking place each summer at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, EDC has featured top DJs including Tiesto, Hardwell, Armin Van Buuren, and dozens more. The flagship event in Las Vegas draws over 400,000 partygoers to three nights of "dusk till dawn" music and rides.
6. Sónar Festival — Barcelona, Spain
Spain's beautiful city of Barcelona hosts Sónar Festival, a three-day electronic and advanced music festival founded in 1994. The festival, which continues to grow steadily each year, attracted 119,000 visitors in 2015. Divided into Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night festivities, the festival's array of DJs, bands, symphonies, orchestras, and film screenings entertain visitors nearly 24 hours a day.
7. Tomorrowland — Boom, Belgium
This booming dance music festival takes place in the appropriately named Belgian city of Boom, located between Antwerp and Brussels. The town of less than 20,000 residents attracts an additional 400,000 festivalgoers in the final weekend of July each year. Hundreds of DJs perform, and headliners include veteran DJs like Dada Life, David Guetta, Avicii, Skrillex, and many more.
Whether you are driving to Black Rock City or have plans to jet off to Europe, be sure to always take travel and safety precautions. With hundreds of thousands of people around, injuries and illness can be unavoidable at times. While on-site medical teams can treat scrapes and mild dehydration, international travelers may benefit from travel health insurance in case of illness or injury.
Festivals are often associated with high-risk activities, so be sure to avoid excessive drinking and illegal drug use to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time, no matter where your next adventure takes you.