Top 21 Folk Festivals in Europe



The Oktoberfest, often referred to as d’Wiesn, is the world's largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair), held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Slated for 21st September to 6th October 2024 at Munich's Theresienwiese, the festival has been a significant part of Bavarian culture since its inception in 1810. Oktoberfest is not just about beer; it's a grand celebration of Bavarian tradition, featuring a special brew that must contain at least 13.5% original wort. The festival, a major economic contributor to Munich, drew a record-breaking 7.2 million visitors in 2023. Oktoberfest originates from the royal wedding celebrations between Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese in 1810, which included a public horse race.

Throughout its history, Oktoberfest has evolved, expanding its offerings with carousel rides, beer tents, and an increasing number of funfair attractions. The festival's impact goes beyond mere entertainment; it's a symbol of Munich's cultural heritage and hospitality. Each year, millions of visitors from around the globe, particularly from Italy, the USA, Japan, and Australia, flock to Munich to partake in this iconic celebration. The festival also emphasizes sustainability and family-friendliness, featuring quieter days with traditional music until 6 pm to maintain a welcoming atmosphere for families and older visitors.

The Cambridge Folk Festival

The Cambridge Folk Festival, a cornerstone in the European folk music calendar, is held annually at Cherry Hinton Hall in Cambridge, England. Celebrating its inception in 1965, the festival showcases an eclectic array of music, transcending the traditional boundaries of folk. The 2023 edition included notable acts like The Proclaimers, Rufus Wainwright, and Imelda May, hinting at the festival's diverse musical offerings. Beyond music, attendees can engage in mindfulness workshops, children's concerts, and other family-friendly activities, making it an event for all ages.

The festival's reputation for quality and intimacy ensures a quick sell-out of tickets. Its program extends beyond folk music to include genres such as contemporary roots music from around the world. 2024 marks an important milestone, being the 60th year since the festival's establishment. With a history of showcasing global musical talents and a plethora of workshops and activities, the Cambridge Folk Festival remains a pivotal celebration of folk and roots music.

Bremen Freimarkt

Bremen Freimarkt

The Bremen Freimarkt, one of Germany's oldest folk festivals, has been a cornerstone of cultural tradition in the city of Bremen since its inception in 1035. Celebrated for 17 days in October, this festival attracts over four million visitors annually. It's renowned for its wide array of attractions, including about 50 thrilling rides that cater to all ages. The festival's atmosphere is uniquely characterized by the aromatic blend of sugary treats like cotton candy and roasted almonds, embodying the true spirit of a traditional German Volksfest. The Freimarkt showcases an impressive mix of entertainment options, ranging from nostalgic carousels to modern adrenaline-inducing rides, along with numerous food and drink stalls, making it a perfect destination for both adventure seekers and families.

Throughout its history, the Bremen Freimarkt has evolved while maintaining its rich heritage. The festival originally began as a goods market, where farmers, craftsmen, and traders exhibited their products. Today, it offers a vibrant entertainment experience with a historical Freimarkt area displaying ancient crafts and performances, reflecting its medieval roots. Another highlight of the festival is the grand parade, which features colorfully dressed groups, bands, and festive floats, drawing thousands of spectators to the streets of Bremen. The Bremen Freimarkt not only stands as a testament to the city's enduring market rights but also continues to be a significant cultural and social event, deeply ingrained in the local community.

International Folklore Festival - Cote d'Azur

Ort der VeranstaltungSan Remo

International Folklore Festival - Cote d'Azur

The International Folklore Festival - Cote d'Azur is a vibrant celebration of cultural diversity and tradition, held annually in the picturesque settings of the French and Italian Rivieras. This festival invites a wide array of folk ensembles, choral groups, orchestras, brass bands, majorette teams, and modern dance groups from around the globe, showcasing a rich tapestry of cultural traditions through dance and music. With a history of attracting the top ensembles from various countries, the festival is renowned for its high-quality performances and international appeal. The event spans several days, offering participants and spectators an immersive experience in the cultural vibrancy of the region.

Throughout the festival, groups perform in several iconic locations including Diano Marina, San Remo, and the famous Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes, bringing their music and dance to the streets and squares. The festival's itinerary also allows for sightseeing in enchanting cities such as Nice, Èze, Monaco, Monte Carlo, and Menton, blending cultural performances with the exploration of the region's rich history and scenic beauty. This unique combination of cultural exhibition and travel opportunity makes the International Folklore Festival - Cote d'Azur a must-visit event for those passionate about folk traditions and the arts. The festival's motto, "We build bridges from nation to nation," perfectly encapsulates its spirit of international friendship and cultural exchange.

Two Steps To Venice Festival

Ort der VeranstaltungLido di Jesolo, Venice

Two Steps To Venice Festival

The Two Steps To Venice Festival, a vibrant celebration of folklore, is an annual event that beckons dance groups, choruses, majorettes, and musical bands to Lido di Jesolo, a charming seaside resort near Venice. Scheduled from 10th to 13th May, the festival offers an enriching cultural experience, with participants showcasing a 10-minute performance of traditional or contemporary dance. This non-competitive festival is notable for its inclusive nature, welcoming groups of all ages and sizes, with the picturesque Lido di Jesolo serving as a scenic backdrop.

Participants enjoy accommodation in 3-star hotels like Hotel Rosmary or Hotel Aldebaran, located conveniently close to the beach and vibrant local attractions. The festival program includes a variety of events, from parades through the streets of Lido di Jesolo to performances on open-air stages, providing a platform for groups from around the world to exhibit their cultural heritage. In addition to the festival activities, an organized excursion to Venice with a private boat offers a unique opportunity to explore one of Italy's most iconic cities. With its combination of folk performances, scenic locales, and Italian hospitality, the Two Steps To Venice Festival stands out as a memorable event in the European folk festival scene.

Roma in Danza

Roma in Danza, an extraordinary folklore festival, offers a unique platform for showcasing rich cultural traditions in the heart of Rome. Set against the backdrop of the iconic Villa Borghese, this open-air event scheduled for late August draws groups from around the world to perform in the eternal city. The festival not only highlights traditional dance ensembles but also includes chorus, majorettes, and musical bands. Each group is invited to present a 10-minute program, allowing for a vibrant display of global folk traditions right in the center of Roman culture.

The festival's charm is enhanced by its procession from the Colosseum to the stage, offering participants an unforgettable experience of parading through historic Rome. The event is meticulously organized, with detailed attention to logistics and participant requirements, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for both performers and spectators. Accommodations are thoughtfully arranged in 3/4* hotels such as the AMERICAN PALACE or WARMT HOTEL, offering a comfortable stay as part of the enriching cultural journey. The Roma in Danza festival not only celebrates folk arts but also provides an opportunity for visitors to explore Rome's iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Vatican City.

Lombardia Chiama

Ort der VeranstaltungLecco

The Lombardia Chiama is a distinguished international folklore festival celebrated on the scenic banks of Lake Como in the picturesque alpine town of Lecco, Lombardy, Italy. This enchanting festival draws folklore dancing groups, choruses, majorettes, and musical bands from around the world, offering them a unique platform to showcase their art. Participants are encouraged to prepare a 10-minute performance, highlighting their cultural traditions through music and dance. The festival, while not competitive, emphasizes the rich tapestry of global folk traditions, allowing for a vibrant exchange of cultural heritage and artistic expression.

Aside from the festival's main event, participants and visitors can enjoy the spectacular beauty of Lake Como, with organized boat tours revealing the lake's breathtaking landscapes and famous villas. The festival also provides opportunities to explore the region's renowned destinations, including Milan, the fashion capital, and the charming cities of St. Moritz and Lugano. Accommodation for participants is arranged in comfortable 4-star hotels, ensuring a pleasant and memorable stay. Lombardia Chiama is more than just a festival; it's an immersive cultural experience blending the allure of Italian alpine scenery with the spirit of folk traditions.

Folklore Festival Costa Brava

Ort der VeranstaltungCosta Brava

The Folklore Festival Costa Brava, set in the picturesque region of Barcelona, Spain, is an annual event that showcases a diverse array of cultural expressions. Welcoming folklore dancing groups, choruses, majorettes, and musical bands, this festival invites participants to prepare a 10-minute performance, accommodating both live music and recordings. Not limited by age or number of dancers, it offers a platform for adult, youth, and children ensembles to demonstrate their artistry and cultural heritage. The festival is held over five nights, providing attendees with full-board accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels in Blanes and Lloret de Mar.

Alongside the performances, the festival features a comprehensive itinerary including free time to explore renowned destinations like Barcelona, Montserrat, Andorra, and Girona. Participants can also enjoy the beautiful beaches and engage in a variety of activities. Organized by Blue Diamond Folklore Festivals, it stands as one of Spain's most significant folklore festivals, highlighting the rich mosaic of traditions and cultures from around the world.

Hanover Schützenfest

The Hanover Schützenfest, known as the world's largest shooting festival, is a deeply rooted tradition in Hannover, dating back to the 15th century. Scheduled for June 28th to July 7th, 2024, it attracts approximately 900,000 guests annually. This grand event features over 200 showmen and a rich blend of traditional activities like the Schützenausmarsch, a 10-kilometer parade with over 10,000 participants, making it the most extensive in the world. The festival also includes lively music, delicious local cuisine, and the traditional drink, Lüttje Lage.

Characterized by its festive atmosphere, the Schützenfest offers a wide range of activities including music and dance performances, Morris displays, workshops, and a dedicated family area. The festival's mascot, Ballerkalle, adds a unique charm to the event. It represents the city's commitment to preserving its cultural heritage while providing entertainment for people of all ages.

Folklore Festival In Sorrento

The Folklore Festival in Sorrento, Italy, is a vibrant celebration of cultural traditions, inviting folklore dancing groups, choruses, majorettes, and musical bands from around the world. Scheduled for early July, the festival offers participants a unique platform to showcase an 8-minute performance, with both live and recorded music allowed. This event is not just about performances; it integrates excursions to stunning local destinations like Capri Island, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Vesuvius, and Naples, offering a rich cultural and sightseeing experience.

Accommodation for the participants is arranged in quality 3*/4* hotels such as Hotel Paradiso, Hotel Dei Congressi, and Hotel Panorama Palace, ensuring a comfortable stay with half-board. The festival balances the rigor of artistic performances with leisure, as groups have ample opportunity to explore the exquisite beauty of Sorrento and its surrounding areas. The organizer, Blue Diamond Events, collaborates with the local ensemble Sorrento folk, ensuring that each edition of the festival is a memorable and enriching experience for all attendees.

Easter Folklore Festival in Prague

The Easter Folklore Festival in Prague, held annually on an open-air stage in the heart of the city, is a vibrant celebration of traditional folk arts. This festival invites folklore dancing ensembles, choruses, majorettes, and musical bands from all over Europe to showcase their unique cultural heritages. Participants, both adults and children, are welcomed to present a 10-minute performance, embodying the essence of their traditional dances, music, and colorful costumes. The festival provides an enchanting experience for both performers and spectators, immersing them in the rich tapestry of European folklore traditions.

Located in the picturesque settings of Prague, this festival not only offers an opportunity for groups to perform but also allows visitors to engage in sightseeing, including a boat tour on the Vltava river and a traditional Czech dinner with a folklore show. The accommodation for participants is arranged in 3/4* hotels, ensuring a comfortable stay. This festival is not just an event but a cultural exchange, bringing together diverse folk traditions in the heart of one of Europe’s most historic cities.

Warwick Folk Festival

Ort der VeranstaltungWarwick

The Warwick Folk Festival, held annually in the picturesque town of Warwick, England, is one of the premier folk festivals in Europe. This festival offers a blend of traditional and contemporary folk music, attracting a diverse lineup of local, national, and international artists. Renowned for its family-friendly atmosphere, the festival features a rich array of performances, including concerts by acclaimed artists such as The Unthanks, Breabach, and Blair Dunlop, and showcases a variety of folk talents through ceilidhs, dance displays, and music workshops. The event is a celebration of cultural heritage, offering a valuable insight into musical traditions and fostering a sense of community among attendees.

The Warwick Folk Festival provides an immersive experience in the green fields surrounding Warwick Castle, complete with craft stalls, eateries, and fringe events in the town center. The festival is known for its safe, clean, and welcoming environment, making it a favorite among families and music enthusiasts alike. The festival's fringe activities, including Morris dancing and lively ceilidhs, contribute to the vibrant atmosphere. With a range of ticket options available, including affordable youth and children tickets, the Warwick Folk Festival remains accessible to a broad audience, continuing its legacy as a cornerstone of folk music and arts in the UK.

Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes

Die Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes, auch bekannt als "Die Größte Kirmes am Rhein", ist eines der größten Volksfeste in Deutschland und zieht jährlich rund vier Millionen Besucher an. Das zehntägige Fest findet jedes Jahr in der dritten Juliwoche auf der linksrheinischen Festwiese in Düsseldorf-Oberkassel statt. Die Kirmes wird vom St.-Sebastianus-Schützenverein Düsseldorf 1316 e.V. ausgerichtet und feiert sowohl das Kirchweihfest der Basilika St. Lambertus als auch den Stadtpatron St. Apollinaris von Ravenna. Traditionell bietet die Kirmes ein breites Spektrum an Fahrgeschäften und kulinarischen Genüssen, mit einem besonderen Fokus auf regionale Spezialitäten wie das dunkle Altbier.

Höhepunkte des Festes sind der historische Festzug am 14. Juli, der zu den größten in Deutschland zählt, und das spektakuläre Abschlussfeuerwerk am letzten Kirmes-Freitag. Seit ihrer Verlegung auf die Oberkasseler Rheinwiesen im Jahr 1901 hat sich die Bedeutung des Festes erheblich gewandelt, wodurch die Besucherzahlen stiegen und das Fest auf 10 Tage ausgedehnt wurde. Die Rheinkirmes ist nicht nur ein wichtiger Wirtschaftsfaktor für Düsseldorf, sondern auch ein Symbol der lokalen Traditionen und des Gemeinschaftsgeistes.


Ort der VeranstaltungCropredy

Cropredy, a village in Oxfordshire, England, is famously known for hosting Fairport's Cropredy Convention, an annual festival of folk and rock music. Since 1976, this festival, led by the British folk-rock band Fairport Convention, has been a significant event in the folk music calendar in Europe. Attracting up to 20,000 people each year, the festival features a single stage in a sloping arena field, complemented by Morris dancing and live music in the village pubs. Originating as a private performance in 1976, it has evolved into a major music event, preserving the identity of Fairport Convention and its fans.

The festival's growth over the years is a testament to its popularity and cultural significance. Initially a one-day event, it has expanded to a three-day festival held on the second full weekend in August. The convention not only showcases new material from Fairport Convention but also serves as a platform for guest acts, maintaining a unique and friendly atmosphere. The festival's history, including its temporary relocation and the band's reunion performances, highlights its importance in the folk music scene, making Cropredy a key destination for folk music enthusiasts.

Orkney Folk Festival

Ort der VeranstaltungStromness

The Orkney Folk Festival, celebrated in the picturesque West Mainland town of Stromness, Orkney, Scotland, is one of the longest-established folk festivals in the country. Renowned for its vibrant showcasing of local talent and global folk music artists, the festival is scheduled to celebrate its 41st edition from May 23 to May 26, 2024. With a record-breaking 8,500 concert tickets sold over its four-day weekend in 2023, the festival is a highlight of Orkney's cultural calendar, featuring concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, and sessions. The event, entirely volunteer-run since its inception in 1982, is a testament to the strong community spirit that drives its success.

In addition to local performances, the festival extends its reach to other island parishes and Kirkwall, the island's capital. It has been recognized as the Event of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, further cementing its status as a premier folk festival. The festival prides itself on its diverse range of events, from intimate concerts to lively sessions, making it a cherished event for both locals and visitors from around the world. With activities suitable for all ages, the Orkney Folk Festival is a celebration of traditional and contemporary folk music, set against the stunning backdrop of the Orkney Islands.

Cranger Kirmes in Herne

The Cranger Kirmes in Herne, one of the largest funfairs in Germany, attracts around 4 million visitors every year and is a highlight of the summer of events. This traditional festival begins on the first Friday in August and lasts for eleven days. With over 500 rides, the Cranger Kirmes offers an impressive range of attractions, from nostalgic carousels to modern amusement rides. In addition to the rides, the festival offers a wide selection of fairground food, cozy beer gardens and an exceptional, family atmosphere.

The funfair is known for its unique blend of traditional funfair nostalgia and modern attractions, making it a popular destination for visitors of all ages. The event, which can trace its roots back to the year 1500, has become an important part of cultural life in the region and attracts visitors from all over Germany and neighboring countries. The Cranger Kirmes is not just a festival for funfair fans, but also an important economic factor for the city of Herne and the surrounding region.

Marelandia in Rimini

Marelandia in Rimini, set in the stunning Italian Adriatic coast, is a celebrated international folklore festival that brings together a diverse array of folklore dancing groups, choruses, majorettes, and musical bands. This festival, held in the vibrant city of Rimini, is known for its lively atmosphere, combining the joy of folklore with the beauty of the sea. Participants are invited to perform once with a 10-minute program, showcasing their traditional music and dance. The festival is inclusive, welcoming groups of all ages, from children to adults, and focuses on celebrating cultural diversity rather than competition.

In addition to the performances, the festival offers participants and visitors a chance to relax on Rimini’s sandy beaches, explore local attractions like the amusement parks Mirabilandia and Italia in miniatura, and visit historical cities like San Marino, Ravena, Bologna, and Florence. Accommodation is provided in comfortable 3-star hotels like HOTEL ACAPULCO, enhancing the experience with Italian hospitality and cuisine. Marelandia in Rimini is more than a festival; it's an immersive cultural and recreational experience that blends the spirit of folklore with the joy of Italian summer.

Sidmouth Folk Festival

Ort der VeranstaltungSidmouth

The Sidmouth Folk Festival, a treasured event in Europe's folk calendar, is held annually in the picturesque seaside town of Sidmouth, South West England. Beginning in 1955, the festival has become a much-celebrated tradition, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Known for its wide-ranging folk concerts, pub sessions, workshops, dance displays, and family-friendly activities, Sidmouth offers an immersive folk experience. The festival proudly showcases major folk concerts across various stages, alongside local pub sessions, creating a vibrant atmosphere that embodies the spirit of folk culture.

Spanning the first week of August, Sidmouth Folk Festival features over 700 diverse events, including social dances, children's activities, and the Late Night Extra at Bulverton near the main campsite. The festival is renowned for its inclusive approach, catering to all ages and interests within the folk genre. Visitors can indulge in workshops, master classes, and an array of children's musical and craft activities, making it an ideal family destination. The festival's patron, Martin Carthy, symbolizes its commitment to preserving and promoting folk traditions.

Under the Tuscan Sky in Montecatini Terme

Ort der VeranstaltungMontecatini Terme, Italy

The "Under the Tuscan Sky" festival in Montecatini Terme, Italy, is a prominent event in Tuscany and one of Italy's most attended folklore festivals. Known for its captivating charm, the festival annually welcomes an array of participants including children and adults in folklore ensembles, choirs, orchestras, and majorettes. With a focus on showcasing diverse cultural expressions, the event facilitates performances in the central square of Montecatini Terme, complemented by a grand parade. Each group is encouraged to present an 8-minute program, either with live music or recorded tracks, showcasing their unique cultural heritage.

Apart from the enriching performances, the festival also arranges exclusive excursions to prominent Italian destinations like Cinque Terre, Florence, Pisa, Siena, and San Gimignano, enhancing the cultural experience. Accommodation for participants is arranged in 3-star hotels such as Hotel Giglio or Hotel Piccadilly, located centrally in Montecatini Terme, offering convenient access to performance venues and local attractions. This festival, blending the splendor of Tuscan culture with a vibrant display of global folk traditions, promises an unforgettable experience under the Tuscan sky.


Ort der VeranstaltungLittle Glemham, Woodbridge

FolkEast, an enchanting festival set in the ancient parkland of Glemham Hall, Suffolk. This family-friendly festival is a haven for folk music lovers, offering a diverse array of folk, dance, workshop, and tea marquees. FolkEast prides itself on its unique blend of local and national acts, creating an atmosphere brimming with creativity and tradition. With a focus on celebrating folk culture, the festival provides a platform for Morris dancing, various workshops, and dance-outs, ensuring a lively and engaging experience for all attendees.

At FolkEast, visitors can indulge in great food and drink from local producers, enjoy real ale from The Cobbold Arms and The Hop Inn, and partake in ceilidhs and dances from around the world. The festival also offers a range of activities for all ages, including the popular Social Knitworks 'knit-in' tent. The festival's family-friendly nature ensures that both young and old have plenty to keep them entertained throughout the weekend. For those seeking comfort, pre-pitched bell tents are available, adding a touch of luxury to the camping experience.

Folk by the Oak

Ort der VeranstaltungHatfield

Folk by the Oak, set in the picturesque Hatfield Park, Herts, offers an enchanting experience for folk music enthusiasts. The festival promises a day filled with the finest folk, roots, blues, Americana, and acoustic music. Renowned for its 'line-up of headliners', the festival attracts both award-winning musicians and inspiring new talent. The music alternates between the Acorn Stage's intimate setting and the open-air buzz of the Main Stage, allowing attendees to enjoy every performance. Besides the musical feast, Folk by the Oak offers a range of family-friendly activities including craft stalls, workshops, dancing, yoga, storytelling, and circus skills.

The festival is not just about music; it's a cultural celebration with a dedicated Family Area, creative festival fun for all ages, and options to bring picnics and drinks. With confirmed acts like the Levellers and the Young'uns, along with the innovative Malin Lewis Trio, the festival offers an uplifting day in the beautiful leafy parkland of Hatfield House. Attendees are encouraged to join in the activities, browse stalls, and enjoy a day of outstanding live music surrounded by the historic setting of Hatfield Park.