22 European art festivals to blow your mind [2019]

22 European art festivals to blow your mind [2019]

22 European art festivals to blow your mind [2019]

Since the beginning of the 14th century, when the Renaissance movement swept the continent and marked the beginning of the Modern Age, Europe has proven to be a stronghold of fine arts, cultural heritage, humanism, science and aesthetics. Today, the world of art is a part of our lives, influencing us, guiding us and interacting with us through various forms, in a traditional/offline or futuristic/online manner.

Every year Europe celebrates the arts in various ways conjuring society to participate actively in the preservation and development of the cultural heritage. Museums, art galleries, alternative spaces and cities themselves, become the ambassadors of this calling, moving artists, makers, thinkers and curious people alike, to connect and to share the experience of art.

You can find a lot of amazing artistic side-events and performances at most music festivals, but here’s a list of 22 art festivals to blow your mind! Blending the old with the new, performing arts with visual arts, focusing on the study and application of the arts on the human environment, these festivals are all that art-lover inside of you wants. 🎨 🎭 💖

The list is open for updates, so drop a comment if your favourite art festival is not here.

UPDATE: The first edition of the Un-hidden Street Art in Romania book is here to help you discover independent art in public spaces.


offf 2019

1. OFFF 2019

25 – 27 April 2019
Barcelona, Spain

OFFF is a community inviting all those whom are eager to learn, to participate and get inspired in a three-day journey of conferences, workshops, activities and performances.

OFFF hosts innovative and international talents to share their insightful experiences. It’s the key meeting point for all talents around the world to unite and collaborate.

With more than 18 editions in a row stretched out in the Barcelona sun, OFFF takes place in the heart of Barcelona annually while it tours the world as OFFF on Tour for the rest of the year.

OFFF has proudly joined big-hitting talents that changed the creative industry such as Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmeister, John Maeda and many more. See the 2019 artists‘ list and join the workshops DRAFT & DRAW: A MEETING FOR DRINKERS WITH A DRAWING PROBLEM; FROM BEGINNING TO END: AN AUDIO PROJECT DISSECTION WITH WHITE NOISE LAB; LEARN HOW TO CREATE A PAPER-CRAFT MASTERPIECE WITH LOBULO.

Regular Tickets General Pass 3 day Ticket + OFFF 2019 Official Book April / 25-26-27 2019 / 199.65€


brighton festival

2. Brighton Festival

4 – 26 May 2019
Brighton, UK

Brighton Festival is an annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events – taking place in venues both familiar and unusual across Brighton & Hove for three weeks every May. Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has become one of the city’s most enduring symbols of inventiveness and celebration over the past half-century. Brighton Festival is produced and delivered by the same team that runs the city’s leading arts venue, the Grade I listed Brighton Dome.

Alongside exclusives, world and UK premieres from a wide range of international, national and local artists and companies, Brighton Festival 2019 will feature the UK premiere of festival Guest Director Rokia Traoré’s theatrical and musical project Dream Mandé Djata – a musical monologue structured around the griot tradition of oral history storytelling, interwoven with classical songs of the Mandingo epic history. The Festival programme will also feature appearances from some of Rokia’s favourite Malian artists and musicians including a selection of those backed by the Foundation Passerelle.

Programme highlights revealed include Brighton Festival Commission and world premiere of a new choral work about motherhood and childhood created by theatre-maker Sheila Hill, Eye to Eye, featuring an intergenerational chorus of women and children recruited by Glyndebourne and featuring Glyndebourne Youth Opera.

Also announced today is new commission, True Copy, based on the story of legendary Dutch painter and art forger Geert Jan Jansen by BERLIN, the international theatre company behind former Brighton Festival events Perhaps All the Dragons (2014), Land’s End (2012), and Zvizdal (2016).

This year’s Festival will also see the launch of an extended Children and Young People’s programming strand that will include new partnerships and participatory activities in the run-up to the Festival. These will join returning projects such as the 26 Letters Young People’s Literature events, Adopt an Author and Young City Reads (presented in partnership with Collected Works), the Children’s Parade (produced in partnership with Same Sky), Without Walls, Peacock Poetry Prize, Guest Director’s Guests, and Your Place – free performances and arts activities programmed by and for the communities of Hangleton and East Brighton, delivered in partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre and community steering groups.

Read an exclusive interview with 2019 Guest Director

Full programme details will be announced on Wednesday 13 February 2019.


Laurie Rowan at Pictoplasma Berlin 2019 splashLaurie Rowan at Pictoplasma Berlin 2019 splash

3. Pictoplasma

8 – 12 May 2019
Berlin, Germany

Coming May 2019, the annual Pictoplasma Festival turns Berlin into the world’s epicentre of character design and art—and a vibrant meeting point for a diverse scene of international artists, illustrators, filmmakers, and game, graphic or product designers. Creators and producers meet for a central conference to exchange strategies for figurative aesthetics, while the wider festival invites the general public to discover new trends. Cutting edge screenings bring the latest animation to the big cinema screen, numerous exhibitions throughout the city present original works and outstanding character craftsmanship, and performances put the characters into direct play with the audience.


Animation submissions are currently open and the next deadline for entries is 15th of February 2019.
Register now for a FULL PASS (290,- € incl. VAT), EARLY STUDENT PASS (210,- 180,- € incl. VAT) or inquire for the group discounts.



festwochen 2019

4. Wiener FestWochen

10 May – 16 June 2019
Vienna, Austria

When it started in the 1950s, the Wiener Festwochen laid several important foundations for creating a new image for Vienna, both nationally and internationally. After Vienna and Austria had been isolated by Austrofasciscm and Nazism, it was necessary to reconnect with the world, to integrate the city and the country into the international discourse of art and culture, to promote life, openness, and the idea of a future. The Wiener FestWochen is positioned as a multidisciplinary art festival in the city. Among Vienna’s varied and tightly-packed cultural offerings, the point is to present and allow things not yet seen and not yet heard and to work as a content engine linking genres, thoughts, and ideas.


Biennale Arte 2019

5. Biennale Arte 2019

11 May – 24 November 2019
Venice, Italy
President Paolo Baratta stated that “the appointment of Ralph Rugoff confirms the Biennale’s primary goal, to qualify the Exhibition as a place of encounter between the visitors, the art and the artists. An Exhibition engaging the viewers directly with the artworks in such a way that memory, the unexpected, the new and the different can stimulate their visions, their minds and their emotions.”
Ralph Rugoff has declared “I am absolutely thrilled with this appointment. The Venice Biennale is the oldest and most prestigious exhibition of its kind internationally and I am really looking forward to taking on this new challenge.”
The 58th International Art Exhibition will take place from 11th May to 24th November 2019 (pre-opening on 8th, 9th and 10th May) at the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as around other venues in Venice.
The 58th International Art Exhibition will be titled May You Live In Interesting Times, a phrase of English invention that has long been mistakenly cited as an ancient Chinese curse that invokes periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil; “interesting times”, exactly as the ones we live in today.

Promotional ticket available until 31 March 2019; ticket valid for one admission to the Giardini venue and one admission to the Arsenale venue.
Students and/or under26 promotional ticket available until 31 March 2019; ticket valid for one admission to the Giardini venue and one admission to the Arsenale venue.

HASHIM SARKIS APPOINTED CURATOR OF THE BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA 2020. The 17th International Architecture Exhibition will be held from 23 May to 29 November 2020.


 2019 Bergen International Festival

6. Bergen International Festival

22 May – 5 June 2019
Bergen, Norway

The Bergen International Festival (Festspillene i Bergen) was established in 1953 and is the largest of its kind in the Nordic countries. It is the longest standing and the foremost music and theatre festival in Norway. With a combination of dramatic landscapes, local colour and imaginative programming,  the festival is well established as a centre for the northern European art scene, presenting premieres and new productions in the spheres of music, opera, theatre and dance. Each year some 250 events are staged in the course of 15 days in 20 venues, including the homes of Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull.

See the 2019 programme here.


Athens Digital Arts Festival 2019 the world is a hologram

7. Athens Digital Arts Festival

TBA May 2019
Athens, Greece

The World is a Hologram

Dating back to antiquity, theories which want us living in a hologram, apart from science fiction can also be endorsed by scientific data. Those who believe in the holographic theory of the universe, support that everything we know in our world are three-dimensional depictions of data, stored in a two-dimensional form somewhere at the edge of our universe. This automatically means that we are all closely bonded with everything around us, as part of one large unity where the present, past, and future coexist simultaneously.

Anything that ever existed, anything that exists, and all that will exist, merged in one unity…

The hologram is often described as a three-dimensional depiction, consisted of two light rays (e.g.laser) while in order to properly work it must be also lighted by a third one. A fundamental feature of holograms is that all data are circulated through the whole, meaning that even if cut in two, still each piece will maintain all information intact. In this case, we will get two identical but complete smaller holograms, proving that this segregation is only fictive.

The scientific community, have found itself in front of a predicament while discovering that whatever gets pass the event horizon of a black hole, as it can never leave, gets lost forever when the hole gets disembodied by Hawking Radiation. As a solution, mathematics was able to prove that when data gets pass an event horizon, they also get imprinted on its very surface, allowing them to escape and thus be maintained. This theory was named holographic principle and was considered eligible to be deducted on a universal level, arguing that the whole universe is the hologram reflection of two-dimensional data stored in its very borders.

Later experiments, have proven that some subatomic particles under specific circumstances have the ability to communicate with each other instantaneously despite their distance, thus have given to the universe another credence of a hologram. Extending this research, scientists extracted that even the brain works in similar mechanics as memory is not stored in a sole neuron but through the schemes and patterns that the neural stimuli follow while extending throughout the whole brain.

Within the neurons of cosmic memory time does not exist, only ideas…

This kind of theories about the world can be traced back to antiquity. In Plato for example, and his “theory of forms” he tried to institute that ideas and forms exist somewhere independently out of the visible world, and we are only able to know and perceive their reflections. Additionally, Socrates speaks of the “allegory of the cave”, describes the reality we understand, as the shadows of the real things, which are projected in front of us like a movie because of a fire that burns between them and us. Chained in the cave, and being able only to look in front of us, we have no perception of what takes places behind us, thinking that the whole world is only what we can understand with our senses. Hence is up to this one person who is letting himself free from the chains, the philosopher by Socrates, or in our case the artistic work to awake the rest of the world and lead them out of the cave, in the light and real knowledge.

Using this stimulus, the International Festival of Digital Arts in Greece, Athens Digital Arts Festival is addressing an open call for its 15th and anniversary edition towards all artistic and scientific community. Artworks from the past, present, and future coming from the worlds of art science and technology are asked to co-exist in a festivity of digital culture, showing how everything is connected to each other like pieces of one undivided whole, while anything we perceive through our senses is nothing more than depictions of our ideas.

Anything one can imagine can become reality, hence options are infinite…

Extended Deadline 30.1.2019




24 May – 2 June 2019 
Görlitz, Germany

Motto „Threadless“ (German: „FadenLos“)

This year’s ZUKUNFTSVISIONEN (Future Visions) centres on the motto “Threadless”. The play on words creates a discourse on coincidence, conscious decisions and the random events that determine our fate and future. “How do we imagine our lives? What paths should we pursue?” are incredibly difficult questions to answer. It is impossible to know how our decisions will affect us.

Call for Entries: ZUKUNFTSVISIONEN2019 – Festival of Contemporary Arts is looking for participating artists!

Application period: 18. Jan – 19. Mar 2019. Information about the Call for Entries: Call for Entries Zukunftsvisionen 2019 and the festival’s website.


scope basel 2018

9. SCOPE Basel

11 – 16 June 2019
Basel, Switzerland

With over 75 art fairs spanning more than 15 years, SCOPE Art Show in Miami, New York, and Basel, Switzerland is celebrated as the premier showcase for international emerging contemporary art and multi-disciplinary creative programming. Renowned for its uncanny ability to forecast new visual trends that are embraced globally, SCOPE has garnered extensive critical acclaim with cumulative sales well over one billion dollars and attendance of 1.2 million visitors.

Apply for Scope Basel by April 1st, 2019.


Art Basel MTG Max Mayer Hero

10. Art Basel

13 – 16 June 2019
Basel, Switzerland

Basel show brings the international artworld together, with the world’s leading galleries showing the works of over 4,000 artists. A full program of artworld talks takes place each day. Exhibitions and events are also offered by cultural institutions in Basel and the surrounding area, creating an exciting, region-wide art week.
The show takes place at the Swiss exhibition site Messe Basel, featuring a hall designed by international architects Herzog & de Meuron of Basel.

In the 1970s, Basel gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudl Bruckner and Balz Hilt create an international art fair that proves to be a success from the start. More than 16,000 visitors attend the inaugural show to see 90 galleries and 30 publishers from 10 countries.

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) Four Fridas 066 Doug Southall

11. Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF)

TBA June – July 2019
London, UK

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) is London’s leading festival of free outdoor theatre and performing arts. Bringing something different to your doorstep, GDIF showcases the highest quality international performances and celebrates place, people and community in Greenwich, East London and the City of London.

GDIF 2019 will be taking place over two and a half weeks in June and July – dates to be announced!

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2018 featured over 100 performances by dozens of national and international companies with more than 50,000 people attending shows in a range of public spaces in Greenwich, East London and the City of London. GDIF forms part of the Royal Greenwich Festivals, an annual series of high-quality events organised by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to celebrate cultural vibrancy, and is the flagship annual event produced by FESTIVAL.ORG.


Festival d'Avignon

12. Festival d’Avignon

4 – 23 July 2019
Avignon, France

The 73rd Festival d’Avignon will take place from July 4 to 23, 2019 The programme will be revealed on March 28.

A popular and contemporary artistic adventure founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar, the Avignon Festival is today one of the most important contemporary performing arts events in the world. Every year in July, Avignon becomes a city-theatre, transforming its architectural heritage into various performance venues, majestic or surprising, welcoming tens of thousands of theatre-lovers (over 130,000 admissions) of all ages. Its legendary space is the “Cour d’honneur” (main courtyard) of the Popes’ Palace, the heart of outdoor performances, before nearly 2,000 spectators, on summer nights in Provence.


galway festival

13. Galway International Arts Festival

15 – 28 July 2019
Galway, Ireland

The multidisciplinary festival takes place each July in Galway, Ireland and covers a range of art forms, including theatre, dance, music, opera, street spectacle, visual arts, discussion and comedy. In 2018, over 200 events took place in 32 venues over the course of 14 days with an attendance in excess of 250,000. The Guardian named the festival as one of the Top 5 Summer Festivals in Europe.

The 42nd Galway International Arts Festival takes place from 15-28 July 2019, with programme announcements taking place from December 2018.

Galway International Arts Festival also produces its own theatre productions and exhibitions, and tours them nationally and internationally. In the last five years, the organisation has produced or co-produced 16 productions and, with its co-producing partners, has toured to London, Paris, New York, Edinburgh, Chicago, Adelaide, Sydney, Hong Kong and Washington. Enda Walsh’s critically lauded Rooms series, produced by Galway International Arts Festival, will be presented as one for the first time by The Barbican in London in April 2019. For more information on the installation (11-19 April 2019) and to book tickets, click here.


Sonar+D Mediapro Xavi Herrero

Sonar+D Mediapro Xavi Herrero


17 – 20 July 2019
Barcelona, Spain

Sónar+D is the international conference for creativity and technology, designed to promote talent and business opportunities in the digital culture. Since 2013, this antidisciplinary meeting of communities and iconic names brings together in Barcelona leading artists, creative technologists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, thinkers, scientists, entrepreneurs, makers and hackers.


edinburgh fringe festival 2018

15. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

2 – 26 August 2019
Edinburgh, Scotland

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the single biggest celebration of arts and culture on the planet. Every August for three weeks the city of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, welcomes an explosion of creative energy from around the globe. The Fringe is an open-access festival where anyone is welcome to perform provided they have a venue willing to host them. With 53,232 performances of 3,398 shows in 300 venues in 2017, there are quite literally thousands of reasons to visit the festival.

Every year thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.


Helsinki Festival Human Net Kuva Petri Anttila

16. Helsinki Festival

15 August – 1 September 2019
Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki Festival is the largest arts festival in Finland, organised annually in late summer. The festival’s aim is to make art accessible for all. The programme line-up features classical and world music, theatre, dance, circus and visual arts as well as a range of urban events.


Museum Embankment Festival 2018

17. Museum Embankment Festival

23 – 25 August 2019
Frankfurt, Germany

The Museum Embankment Festival, or “Museumsufer Fest” in German, is an annually held festival on the banks of the River Main, and it attracts more than 3 million visitors every year. It’s structured as a tribute to the museum landscape of the city, made as a unique combination of art, theatre, music, dance and cuisine.


leone rosso la biennale cinema

18. 76th Venice International Film Festival

28 August – 7 November 2019
Venice, Italy

The 76th Venice International Film Festival is organised by La Biennale di Venezia, and will be held on the Lido di Venezia from 28 August to 7 September 2019. The Festival is officially recognised by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Association).
The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote international cinema in all its forms as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue. In addition to the sections mentioned in the following paragraphs, the Festival also organises retrospectives and tributes to major figures as a contribution towards a better understanding of the history of cinema.

The Official Selection includes the following sections: Venezia 76, Out of Competition, Orizzonti, Venice Classics, Sconfini, and Venice Virtual Reality.
A further two Independent and parallel sections are part of the Festival’s line-up: the Settimana Internazionale della Critica (SIC) and the Giornate degli Autori, whose films are selected in accordance with their respective regulations.

Film submission will be open from 4th February to 14th June 2019 (31st May 2019 for the VR projects).


ars electronica

19. Ars Electronica Festival

5 – 9 September 2019
Linz, Austria

Art, technology, society. Since 1979, Ars Electronica has sought out interlinkages and congruities, causes and effects. The ideas circulating here are innovative, radical and eccentric, in the best sense of that term. They influence our everyday life – our lifestyle, our way of life, every single day. Ars Electronica’s four elements – the FESTIVAL, the PRIX, the CENTER and the FUTURELAB – provide it with a well-balanced structure that is conducive to its international orientation while still enabling it to meet the needs of the local community. Thus, more than any other institution, Ars Electronica represents a comprehensive approach to confronting techno-cultural phenomena.

OPEN CALL: Submit now to the Prix Ars Electronica
The Prix Ars Electronica is the world’s most time-honored media arts competition. Winners are awarded the coveted Golden Nica statuette, prize money ranging up to € 10,000 per category and an opportunity to showcase their talents at the famed Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. Deadline: March 1, 2019.

Been there, liked that: Ars Electronica 2016


impakt festival

20. Impakt Festival

30 October – 2 November 2019
Utrecht, the Netherlands

Impakt presents critical and creative views on contemporary media culture and on innovative audio-visual arts in an interdisciplinary context. The festival examines issues around society, digital culture and media from various angles and within a range of disciplines in the arts, academia, and technology. Impakt organises activities throughout the year, including Impakt Works, a residency programme and Impakt Events, a regular series of presentations and screenings focusing on a given theme, movement, or artist. The Impakt Channel is a platform where art projects made for the internet are presented, along with curated programmes featuring film and video art. Last but not least, the Impakt Archive works on digitising Impakt’s screening history back to 1988, when the first Impakt Festival was organised.


LIGHT A WISH OGE Group - Amsterdam Light Festival 2018 - Dag 5 - Copyright Janus van den Eijnden

LIGHT A WISH – OGE Group / WINNER PUBLIC CHOICE AWARD 2018 – 2019 / Amsterdam Light Festival 2018 / Day 5 / © Janus van den Eijnden

21. Amsterdam Light Festival

28 November 2019 – 19 January 2020
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Annually, Amsterdam Light Festival transforms Amsterdam’s city centre into an open-air light museum. Tailor-made art pieces and installations by international contemporary artists, designers, and architects light up the inner city. The light artworks can be admired from both water and land. The exhibition can be visited by boat, by bike, and on foot, both by booking a tour with one of the official festival partners, as well as on people’s own initiative.

The festival emanates light during the darkest period of the year and “enlightens” the audience with colourful and engaging artworks.

For Edition #8 the festival invited creatives worldwide to submit their artistic and inventive interpretations of the theme ‘Disrupt!’. A disruption is usually seen as inconvenient but can also be positive and sometimes essential to trigger the need for change to take place.


festival iminenete

22. Festival Iminente

TBA 2019
Portugal & UK

Created in 2016, Festival Iminente combines the new music with the new art in an experience of intense collective intimacy. The festival is everything that is happening or is about to happen. It is experimental, unprecedented, urban, explosive, energetic, exciting, ephemeral, unpredictable, imminent. Curated by Vhils and Underdogs, Festival Iminente translates the creative multicultural atmosphere that is flourishing in Portugal and is spreading throughout the world, leading the lusophone matrix to establish dialogues with other cultures and artistic expressions.


Where will you travel to feed your passion for art and express your creative self? Let us know!


Visit the 2018 and 2017 art festivals list.


Words by Cristina Popa [random], AndreiB, the authors
Photo credits @ the authors



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