From film festivals to colourful carnivals, these six events will add something special to your 2019 holiday:


February 16 – March 5

venice carnival

Venice is anything but the usual.

Linked by stone bridges and lapped by lagoon waters, the 118 islands of this ancient city draw millions of tourists every year. Its reputation as a romantic destination precedes it, and a honeymoon gondola ride or a wine-tasting tour of its bacari promises to be something special.

People travel from far and wide to join in the city’s biggest party of the year and sate their fancy-dress appetites – the Venice Carnival packs the city with crowds of elaborately costumed people, colourful sights, a slew of sounds and an flurry of events.


March 2-5

carnival rio

Courtesy of CNN Travel

Originally a Catholic event, Carnival in Rio is today now one of the the biggest parties in the world.

The moment visitors arrive in Rio, they’re completely immersed in the parties and celebration, no matter where they are. But some of the biggest and the best parties take place in the Sambódromo. Designed by world famous architect Oscar Niemeyer, it was built in 1984 in order to make Carnival even bigger and better.

The world’s best known party has taken place in the month before lent since the 1700s and the “party of the flesh” is more alive today than ever, with two million people enjoying Rio’s street parties, known as blocos, each day.


March 21

Courtesy of

The Holi Festival commemorates the victory of good over evil, particularly the burning and destruction of a demoness named Holika. This was made possible with the help of Hindu god of preservation, Lord Vishnu.

Holi got its name as the “Festival of Colors” from the childhood antics of Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, who liked to play pranks on the village girls by drenching them in water and colors.

People spend the day smearing colored powder all over each other’s faces, throwing colored water at each other, having parties, and dancing under water sprinklers.

The emphasis of Holi rituals is on the burning of demoness Holika. On the eve of Holi, large bonfires are lit to mark occasion. This is known as Holika Dahan. As well as conducting a special puja (worship ritual), people sing and dance around the fire, and walk around it three times.

In some parts of India, people even walk across the hot coals of the fire.


March 29-30

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Cape Town’s biggest jazz event, attracting big names from both South Africa and overseas,  is recognised as the fourth largest jazz festival in the world and the largest jazz festival on the African continent.

Every year, the Cape Town Jazz Festival brings together talented jazz musicians from across Africa and the wider world to one spot – the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

In 2019, the festival will take place on 29-30 March. This happens to coincide with the harvest season across the Cape Winelands, so if you like your jazz paired with a glass of vino, you’re in for a treat.


April 12-21


Coachella is one of the largest, most famous, and most profitable music festivals in the United States and all over the world. It showcases popular and established musical artists, as well as emerging artists and reunited groups.

Held at Indio’s Empire Polo Club over two weekends in April, this is one of the hottest indie-music festivals of its kind featuring major headliners and the stars of tomorrow.

The event features musical artists from many genres of music, including rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music, as well as art installations and sculptures. Across the grounds, several stages continuously host live music.


May 14-25

cannnes film festival

Paul Smith / Featureflash; Shutterstock ID 95323462;

The Cannes Film Festival (or Festival de Cannes) is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. Since its beginnings in 1946, Cannes has birthed such films as Apocalypse Now, La Dolce Vita, and Barton Fink, among scores of other films that are now considered staples among cinéastes around the world.

Famous actors walk the red carpet and mingle at screening parties as film fans flock to glimpse them and their latest work.

Whilst you’ll need accreditation to access the main screenings, you can still enjoy the atmosphere, and there are plenty of fringe events in Cannes open to the public.

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