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The Best Summer Music Festivals in Europe

The summer season is kicking into high gear for much of the world, and that means sunshine, exposed toes, and the blissful sound of live music washing over open-air crowds. If you’re hoping to follow your ears to your next vacation destination, but haven’t yet found a festival that calls your name, we’ve got a list of some of our favorites to help you plan your escape.

This Summer’s Best Music Festivals

After what feels like a very long winter, it’s finally that time again: summer festival season! Time to break out the sunglasses, sandals, and portable fans in preparation for those carefree days of soaking in the sunshine and grooving to live music in the open air. The list of music festivals seems to double each year, so we thought we’d save you some time by presenting our picks for must-attend sonic extravaganzas that also happen to reflect a deep sense of place.

SXSW: Your Guide to World Music

SXSW is known for being a launchpad for American performers such as John Mayer and the Polyphonic Spree, but each year, the lineup seems to feature more and more international acts. If you’re heading to Texas tickets in hand or simply looking for some hot new leads, here’s our guide to world music at SXSW.

One Love: A Valentine From Jamaica

Valentine’s Day is celebrated by many, but for longtime musician Junior Marvin, it will forever be one of the most memorable days of his life. It’s the day Bob Marley asked him to join his band. I sat down with the Jamaica-born/London-raised performer to talk about that fateful day, Jamaica, and of course, the “Legend” himself.

I Heart My City: Simon’s Essaouira

Globe-trotting Englishman Simon Cooke now calls Essaouira home thanks to an extended stay there in 2005. Along with meeting the woman who would become his wife, this passionate traveler began a long love affair with the Moroccan city by the sea that continues to this day. Here are a few of his favorite things about Essaouira. (Pack your bags now; he says October is the best time to visit.)

Moroc ’n Roll: Gnawa Style

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As we weaved our way through the alleyways of the ancient medina on our way to the Roman arched entrance gate, souk keepers hurried to arrange their spices, oils, and scarves, while the narrow streets swelled with eager spectators. The kick-off parade for the Gnaoua World Music Festival was about to begin.

SXSW: Where the World Comes Together

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The South By Southwest festival has evolved into a global fusion of music genres, drawing thousands of artists from dozens of different countries to the Texas capital each March. I was lucky enough to meet up with two unique bands from two very different parts of the world: Frightened Rabbit, an indie rock band based in Scotland, and a Malian desert blues band called Terakaft.

Newport, Rhode Island’s Musical History

Nat Geo staffer Lisa A. Walker recently returned from Rhode Island’s Newport Folk Festival where she witnessed deep music traditions in the seaside, New England town. For a city probably known best for its mansions, cliff walks, boating, and breathtaking coastal scenery, Newport, Rhode Island, isn’t typically considered a music destination. But live music has…

Preservation Hall: My New Orleans Fairytale

By: Lisa A. Walker “Actually, it’s a potential life-changing experience,” replied Danny Clinch, when asked what someone can expect when visiting the legendary jazz venue, Preservation Hall in New Orleans for the very first time. And honestly, I couldn’t agree more. Clinch, a photographer, filmmaker, and musician, recently finished filming a documentary about the Preservation Hall Jazz…

The Spirit of SXSW Lives On

National Geographic Books Production Manager Lisa A. Walker recently returned  from Austin’s annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film and interactive conference and festival, where the performances did more than just entertain. The real spirit of Austin’s South by Southwest festival this year went well beyond the films and music. Something inspiring happened at SXSW…

Hiking The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim (With a Guide)

A few weeks ago, we ran the account of National Geographic Kids‘ staffer Margaret Krauss’s Rim to Rim hike through the Grand Canyon. Well now National Geographic Books Production Manager Lisa A. Walker has just completed the same hike, but she traveled with Four Season Guides, and she shared her experience with us. Inhale. Exhale.…

Out of Office: Tips From Austin City Limits

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Lisa A. Walker, a producer with National Geographic Books, is just back from a jam-packed musical weekend at the Austin City Limits Festival. She offers some tips on navigating the weekend-long festival and preparing for your next all-out music event. Check out other travels from National Geographic staffers at our Out of Office series. Festival-goers…