Agenda

Valencians set towering wooden and papier-mache sculptures on fire each year to celebrate spring.
Valencians set towering wooden and papier-mache sculptures on fire each year to celebrate spring. PHOTO: TURISMO VALENCIA

VALENCIA, SPAIN

One of Europe's biggest, brightest and loudest spring festivals takes place in Valencia, a celebration which dates to the 15th century.

Over four days, the city is taken over by Las Fallas - a festival featuring towering sculptures made of wood and papier-mache, satirising the year's talked-about celebrities, current affairs and national customs. Some are 20m tall and cost more than €350,000 (S$542,000) to build.

Valencians roam the city to admire about 400 fallas (failures in Spanish) and enjoyother activities such as street parties. On the last night, Nit Del Foc, or Night of Fire, the fallas are set on fire, complete with a fireworks and pyrotechnics display.

When: March 15 to 19

Info: www.fallasfromvalencia.com/en

NEDERLAND, COLORADO, UNITED STATES

Nederland, a small town located 2,500m high in the Rocky Mountains, hosts one of the weirdest festivals in the world.

The three-day Frozen Dead Guy Days festival is held in honour of Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, a Norwegian who died in Norway in 1989. He was a believer in cryonics and his body was shipped to a cryonics facility in California, where it was frozen in liquid nitrogen for four years.

Then his daughter and grandson took his body to Nederland, where they hoped to set up a cryonics facility, with Morstoel as their first body. But zoning issues and visa problems thwarted their efforts, as did laws prohibiting the storage of body parts on private property.

Threatened with deportation, they were almost forced to abandon his body, when local volunteers stepped in and offered to keep him on ice. Curious neighbours and documentaries followed. In 2002, the town hosted its first Frozen Dead Guy Days.

The festival attracts thousands of visitors who come for its wacky parade, Ice Queen and Grandpa lookalike contest, coffin race, polar plunge, brain freeze contest and frozen turkey bowling.

When: March 11 to 13

Info: frozendeadguydays.org

PALU, SULAWESI, INDONESIA

On March 9, a rare, total solar eclipse will darken Indonesian skies for three to four minutes.

The Eclipse Festival 2016 celebrates this cosmic event in Sulawesi, one of the best places to witness it. The five-day event will see more than 100 performances of various electronic music genres, arts performances, cultural workshops, yoga and meditation sessions, and film screenings.

When: March 7 to 11

Info: eclipsefestival2016.com

MUNICH, GERMANY

There is no need to wait till October to celebrate Bavarian brew. Munich hosts a similar but smaller festival called Strong Beer Festival in the spring. Started by monks in the 1600s, Starkbierzeit is a local favourite with half the crowd size, but just as much brew and good-natured fun.

People still dress in lederhosen (traditional knee-length leather breeches), dance on tables and hold wood chopping and beer-carrying contests. Beers are €6 to €8 a pint instead of the €9 to €11 a pint typically charged in October.

When: Till March 19

Info: allexciting.com/munich-starkbierzeit/

BYRON BAY, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA

Every year, more than 200 of the biggest names in blues and roots music gather on the 120ha Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm for the Byron Bay Bluesfest, one of the world's best.

Since it began in 1990, the five-day festival held over the Easter weekend has showcased music from around the world for 12 hours a day on seven stages. This year, performers include Emmy winner Kendrick Lamar, indie favourites Modest Mouse and The Decemberists and Singapore's own Raw Earth. With camping space for up to 6,000 people and more than 100 food and market stalls, it attracts more than 100,000 people every year.

When: March 24 to 28

Info: www.bluesfest.com.au


Lydia Vasko

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 28, 2016, with the headline '(No headline) - LVAGENDA28'. Print Edition | Subscribe