An Interview With Must Love Festivals

We are currently in the middle of festival season – music, the arts, lazy hazy summer days – although I don’t go a-bundle on the camping aspect! Europe is buzzing with festivals and so I’m delighted to get an interview this week with  Abi who is one of the people involved in the fantastic digital storytelling project, Must Love Festivals, that is covering Europe’s 40 most unique festivals spanning 11 countries…. a big, warm welcome Abi…image

Hi, I’m Abi. I’m a travel writer and photographer with a love for all things digital and in my past life I used to work as a hospital doctor.

The “Must Love Festivals” project is the brainchild of Kash Bhattacharya, the award winning creator of the Budget Traveller Website. So what is the project exactly?

“Must Love Festivals” takes 16 bloggers (or digital storytellers as the phrase is now) and spreads them out across Europe this summer to cover some of the continent’s quirkiest festivals. We’ll be taking on 40 festivals in 11 countries, reporting back in real time and then spending some time huddled behind a screen to write up articles, photo essays and videos.

How did you first become involved in this project yourself? What Festival will you be covering?

Ah, well my secret confession is that I first said no since I did think that most festivals were all about mud, crowds and music. And while I like the third of those, I’ve never been such a fan of the first two. Kash convinced me to open my eyes and give it a go since Europe has such a range of festivals – from folk to fashion to food…and even to things that don’t begin with F 😉

I’m lucky to be covering a few. I’ll kick off with Bardentreffen in Nuremberg. It’s awash with music but as this year’s festival coincides with the 100 year declaration of war by Germany in WWI, they’ve chosen the theme of War and Peace to mark the occasion. Performers from around the world will use their music to explore the theme of reconciliation and dealing with conflict. Next up will be a colourful folk festival in Italy’s sunny Puglia. I head to Barcelona for the Festival de Gracia, a free street festival of decorations, food and art. Then it’s to Dublin to catch up with some books and fashion and finally I’ll travel to the islands of Malta to soak up their Birgu candle festival.

imageFestivals are not all about music, mud and fashion – as the project hopes to show – so what is the most unusual festival you’ve been to?

In my youth, I went to the Tomatina in Spain where the world descends on a picturesque hamlet one day to pelt rotten tomatoes at one another. It sounded harmless at first but those flying pips and pelted pulp really can sting after a while…Plus, they get everywhere.

What has been your favourite Festival to date?

Ah, that’s tricky. I think one of the best is one that’s actually close to home: the Bristol balloon festival. There’s something so hauntingly beautiful about seeing so many hot air balloons hovering in the air at once.

If you were given the chance, what Festival would you love to attend that you haven’t been to?

I’d love to visit the Midnight Sun Festival In Finland. It’s just gone and one of our team made a beautiful video about it.

imagePersonal now – what outfits would you be packing for your Festival expedition?

Ah, now. Well, Spain and Italy don’t have quite the casual dress code we have here so I’m looking for long cotton trousers and skirts with some smart but lightweight tops. The aim is to look polished but not overheat or burn! And there’s not much place for a big floppy hat in a crowd unfortunately!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I love the bright colours and designs of Desigual. And for accessories, I always check out Etsy to see if there’s anything handmade and original that suits.

What footwear do you favour when attending festivals?

You need something casual but resilient as you could be on your feet all day long…I have a pair of black Fit Flops that I love as the sole is so thick that those atmospheric cobblestones don’t bother me. Yet,
they have a hint of sparkle too which is perfect for when the sun goes down.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

You can find all the Must Love Festival goings on at http://mustlovefestivals.com/ and across Twitter and Facebook through the hashtag #MustLoveFestivals. As for me, I blog over at Inside the Travel Lab (www.insidethetravellab.com) and will be covering my summer of festivals across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Hope to see you there!

Links for the social media networks mentioned above:

http://www.facebook.com/InsidetheTravelLab
http://twitter.com/Insidetravellab

http://instagram.com/insidetravellab

Wow! Thanks Abi for taking the time to chat to us about what seems to me, at any rate, an exciting project.  I wish you safe journeys and I look forward to readings your blogs!

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photographs have been published with kind permission of Abigail King.

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