On or off? From Olympics to Oktoberfest, here’s what is happening and what’s not this year | Condé Nast Traveller IndiaJune 2, 2021
With different parts of the world in different stages of lockdown, the events calendar is looking a bit woozy right now. The good news is that some of the biggest events are back on schedule (hello, Wimbledon!) though some have been cancelled to be safe and sure (see you next year, Oktoberfest!). Here’s a look at some of the key events this year:
Hemis Festival, Ladakh
Locals celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava with festivities at the monastery in Hemis.
Where: Ladakh, India
Scheduled for: 20 June to 21 June
Status: To be confirmed. There is no official word yet on whether the celebration will take place, and if it will be open to visitors.
ICC World Test Championship Final, United Kingdom
The World Test Championship between India and New Zealand will take place at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton. The number of spectators will be restricted to 4000, and a bunch of COVID safety measures will be announced closer to date.
Where: Southampton, England.
Scheduled for: 18 June to 22 June.
2021 Wimbledon Championships, United Kingdom
After being cancelled in 2020, the Wimbledon Championships are all set to take place in the summer and the organizers hope to increase the 25% spectator capacity once they get the nod from public health authorities.
Where: London, United Kingdom
Scheduled for: 28 June to 11 July
Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland
One of the world’s most prominent jazz festivals outside of the US returns after going silent in 2020. The line up this year includes Arlo Parks and Rag’n’Bone Man, Woodkid and Ibrahim Maalouf. Part of the safety measures include a contact tracing app, and mandatory masking.
Where: Montreux, Switzerland
Scheduled for: 2 July to 17 July 2021
Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix
Formula 1 announced that the Turkish Grand Prix will be cancelled due to travel restrictions. With the UK putting the country on its red list, logistics would be a huge challenge for the 10 F1 teams that would be travelling from the UK. In place of the Turkish Grand Prix, another race will now take place in Austria on 4 July. This would be the second double-header in Austria–2020 also saw two back-to-back races in the country.
Where: Istanbul, Turkey
Scheduled for: Changed from 12 to 13 June 2021 in Turkey to 4 July in Austria
Cannes Film Festival, France
The world’s marquee film festival is back for its 74th edition. The festival was initially supposed to take place from 11 to 22 May but was pushed to July.
Where: Cannes, France
Scheduled for: 6 to 17 July 2021
Running of the Bulls, Spain
The centuries-old festival in Spain where people test their luck against raging bulls has been cancelled for the second year in a row over COVID concerns.
Where: Pamplona, Spain
Scheduled for: 7 July to 14 July every year
Comic-Con International, United States
One of the world’s biggest comic conventions bringing together writers, comic creators and fans will be held virtually this year and the in-person event will take place in the summer of 2022.
Where: Virtual; San Diego, United States.
Scheduled for: Virtual event will take place 23 July to 25 July, 2021
Status: Physical event rescheduled
Summer Olympics, Tokyo
The summer Olympics games to be held in Tokyo in 2020 are now scheduled to take place in July this year. There are concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in Japan, and some major athletes are unsure about participation. Even if they happen, the Olympics will be a muted affair—spectators from overseas are banned and there are several restrictions on the movement of athletes and the audiences.
Where: Tokyo, Japan
Scheduled for: 23 July to 8 August
Lollapalooza, United States
The annual four-day music festival in Chicago showcasing genres like electronic music, alternative rock and hip hop will be happening this year. Attendees are required to either have a full COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results obtained within 24 hours of attending Lollapalooza on each day.
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Scheduled for: 29 July to 1 August
Nehru Trophy Boat Race, India
Held on the Punnamada lake in Alappuzha, Kerala, the race has 100-foot-long snake boats or ‘chundans’ compete against each other for a shot at glory and a handsome prize. The event, usually held around Onam, is an important fixture on the state’s cultural calendar with thousands congregating to the backwaters to cheer their local teams.
Where: Alappuzha, Kerala
Scheduled for: Usually held on the second Saturday of August
Status: To be confirmed
Burning Man, United States
Dedicated to community, art and self-expression, the festival will be cancelled for the second consecutive year due to the covid pandemic.
Where: Black Rock City, Northwestern Nevada
Scheduled for: Thr week prior to Labour Day weekend (the first week of September)
Status: Cancelled. A virtual event will take place from 22 August till 7 September.
La Tomatina, Spain
Crowds throng the streets of Buñol every year for the world’s most famous food fight. This year, however, the tomatoes will be spared—the event and festivities stand cancelled.
Where: Buñol, Spain
Scheduled for: 25 August
One of the world’s largest EDM festivals will take place in Belgium this year. While the dates are set, an elaborate set of safety and crowd control measures will be announced soon. The scene won’t be the same as in previous years, but at least the show is on.
Where: Boom, Belgium
Scheduled for: 26 August to 30 August and 2 September to 5 September.
Summerfest, United States
It was cancelled last year, but this popular music festival is back in 2021. It was originally scheduled for June, but organisers pushed it ahead by a few weeks to allow more time for people to get vaccinated. With over 11 stages, the Summerfest line up this year includes hitmakers like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.
Scheduled for: 2 to 4, 9 to 11 and 16 to 18 September
Toronto International Film Festival
The annual film festival will go on per schedule in September. But the organisers are exploring a hybrid model of digital and physical screenings. More details are mentioned here.
Where: Toronto, Ontario
Scheduled for: 9 September to 18 September
Wireless Festival, United Kingdom
London’s annual hip-hop festival featuring pop singers and rappers will take place this year. While it was supposed to be hosted in Finsbury Park, it will now be in Crystal Palace Park.
While it is not mandatory for guests to be fully vaccinated, the festival will be testing those without vaccine certificates to ensure that no one entering the festival is COVID positive.
Where: London’s Crystal Palace.
Scheduled for: 10 to 12 September
Status: On Schedule
Firefly Festival, United States
Featuring more than 120 bands across 7 stages, the music festival will take place on the 105-acre ground in The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway.
Where: Dover, Delaware
Scheduled for: 23 September to 26 September
Art Basel, Switzerland, US, Hong Kong
The international art fair that showcases contemporary art through its numerous galleries in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong is on this year. The Hong Kong edition took place from 19 May to 23 May.
Where: Basel, Miami, and Hong Kong
Scheduled for: 23 September to 26 September in Basel, 2 December to 5 December in Miami
Also known as the world’s largest beer festival that has welcomed millions of visitors in the past, will be cancelled in 2021, similar to its status in 2020. This was after Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder and Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter announced the cancellation on 3 May due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Where: Munich and Bavaria
Scheduled for: From end September to October
Expo 2020 Dubai
It’s 2021, but the mega jamboree in the sands is still being called ‘Expo 2020 Dubai’. The event spanning over five months is being billed as one of the world’s largest trade shows with innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses coming together to show off their best work.
Where: Dubai South District. Their detailed safety measures, including an on-site vaccination hub are all mentioned here.
Scheduled for: 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022
Day of the Dead Festival, Mexico
Locals come together to celebrate festivities on the streets, where lives of the departed are celebrated with happiness, food and alcohol. Last year, public celebrations and parades were suspended due to the pandemic.
Scheduled for: 2 November
Status: To be confirmed
Hornbill Festival, India
One of the more prominent cultural events in Nagaland is an opportunity for the various tribes and communities of the state to come together to celebrate their heritage. Last year, the festival took on a virtual avatar. This year, the status of the event is to be confirmed.
Where: Nagaland, India
Scheduled for: Usually held in the first week of December
Status: To be confirmed
ZIRO Festival of Music, India
The annual celebration of indie music takes place towards the end of the year in the lush Ziro Valley of Arunachal Pradesh. Last year, the physical event was cancelled due to the pandemic,
Where: Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
Scheduled for: Typically, October-November
Status: To be confirmed