Photo: Bryan Ledgard
Gay pride events, since Stonewall, have been a focal point for gay culture for decades. But these days, with festivals dedicated to art, music, film and culture, there’s so much more to the LGBT identity than pride. These eight gay events in Europe highlight some of this diversity.
1. Pink Week
26-29 May 2016
Slovenia might not make it on most gay travel destination lists, but the organizers of the annual Pink Week Slovenia are trying to change that. Slovenia is a great place for the modern traveler, with breathtaking scenery, exquisite cuisine and a cool, hip capital city with great museums and culture. This year marks the third annual Pink Week, with a program that includes three nights in Ljubljana, an overnight glamping safari at Lake Bled and a gala called the Dragon’s Ball.
Packages to attend Pink Week start from 399€.
29-31 July 2016
After a successful Kickstarter funding, the 2nd annual Yo! Sissy Festival takes place in Berlin this July with more than 40 different LGBT artists taking the stage at different queer-friendly venues. Last year’s premiere festival included international acts from 15 different countries, such as Peaches, Crystal Waters, JD Samson, CHRISTEENE, The Hidden Cameras, Cakes da Killa, Hi-Fashion, Hard Ton and many more. The festival aims to promote Berlin’s burgeoning diversity within the queer community, with a special emphasis on female and trans* identified artists.
Ticket prices will be announced later in the year. For photos of the Yo! Sissy 2015 Festival, click here.
30-31 July 2016
Amsterdam’s coolest and queerest event is the annual Milkshake Festival, celebrating its 5th anniversary in 2016. Taking place outdoors in Amsterdam’s Westerpark, over 40 different artists and DJs perform across at least nine different stages. The theme of the weekend festival is “for all who love” and, with no dress code, the Milkshake is often crowded with colorful costumes reminiscent of a ’90s rave. Expect lots of glitter, fast friendships and a safe environment for all manner of vices. This year’s lineup includes international acts from Supertoys, Cirkus Klauterwerck, Rapido, Hausbound and many more.
Ticket prices for the Milkshake Festival start at just 36€ for early-bird deals. And you can see photos of last year’s event here.
5-29 August 2016
While it’s not explicitly a LGBT festival, for the month of August, Scotland’s capital city turns into a mecca of creativity. The Fringe Festival regularly gets press for its huge diversity of performances, and for the past several years, many of those have included gay or LGBT themes. In fact, during the 2015 Fringe Festival, one such performance came away with the festival’s most prestigious award. And naturally, because of the large amount of international performers and creatives in Edinburgh during the month—whether as spectators or performers, there’s just a great big gay vibe in the city. Besides the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh transforms each August into a creative hub with other simultaneously interesting festivals, including the Edinburgh International Festival (theater), Edinburgh Art Festival (art), Edinburgh International Book Festival (literature) and the Edinburgh Mela (dance). Thousands of people flock to the city during these festivals, making it one of the summer’s best gay destinations.
Ticket prices vary by performance. For more stories and reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals, click here.
5. The Outing
7-9 October 2016
With Ireland becoming the first country in the world to achieve marriage equality by the popular vote, Ireland quickly gained the attention of LGBT advocates around the world. The annual festival, The Outing, capitalized on this momentous occasion and in 2016 will see its fourth edition as Ireland’s only music and matchmaking festival. The event takes place as the LGBT offshoot of the historic matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna—a craic-filled weekend on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way featuring pop-up nightclubs, drag performances, film screenings (partnered with the local GAZE Film Festival) and live music and arts.
Package deals for The Outing in Lisdoonvarna start at 199€ for the weekend.
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