Agenda: Calendar of festivals

Iran: A Skier’s Journey (above) is one of 10 mountaineering-themed films that will be screened around Italy as part of the annual Banff Festival World Tour.
Iran: A Skier’s Journey (above) is one of 10 mountaineering-themed films that will be screened around Italy as part of the annual Banff Festival World Tour. PHOTO: JORDAN MANLEY
An experimental music session by Egyptian musicians at the Borealis experimental music festival in Bergen, Norway, last year.
An experimental music session by Egyptian musicians at the Borealis experimental music festival in Bergen, Norway, last year. PHOTO: MAGNUS H. SUNDE

CATEMACO, MEXICO

Until the railroad arrived in the early 20th century, the city of Catemaco, in the mountains of east central Mexico, was largely isolated.

When they had a stroke of bad luck or fell sick, Catemaco's citizens relied on the magic of local shamans and witches, as well as the curative properties of the hundreds of medicinal plants and herbs found in the surrounding jungle, to get better.

Because of this rich history of natural and supernatural cures, Catemaco has earned the name "Capital of Witchcraft" and the tradition, which continues to this day, is celebrated every year during Noche de Brujas, or Night of the Witches, when healers from all over Mexico come together to sing, chant and dance away the past year's negative energy.

They also provide tarot card readings, fortune- telling, spirit cleanses, protection against curses and natural remedies for illness. The festival has become a big tourist attraction and now also includes parties, concerts and markets promising the perfect good luck charm.

When: March 2 and 3

Info: www.catemaco.info/brujos/index.html


BERGAMO, ITALY

Held every autumn in Banff, Alberta, Canada, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival attracts hundreds of mountaineering enthusiasts who unite for nine days of mountaineering stories, journeys and epic adventures told by authors, photographers and film-makers.

The event receives about 375 film submissions each year, of which about 90 are chosen as finalists for the festival.

Then the festival goes on the road, taking a selection of films to dozens of countries and cities around the world, including a stop at Bergamo, Italy, a city about 40km north-east of Milan at the foothills of the steep Bergamo Alps.

Ten of the festival's finalists, such as Iran: A Skier's Journey, which documents the off-road skiing adventure of Canadian Chad Sayers and American Forrest Coots in the Iranian mountains, and Trail Dog, the story of a young man who runs the French Alps with his dogs, Pepite and Jolyn, will be screened here and in other locations around Italy.

When: March 6 and 7

Info: www.banff.it


BERGEN, NORWAY

There is more to music than what we hear on the radio and the Borealis festival in Bergen, Norway, celebrates music which defies genre, challenges musical convention and experiments with sound.

The festival features more than 50 musicians, composers, rappers and sound artists from around the world, including Egypt, Slovakia, South Korea, Turkey and China. They will perform, hold workshops and talks, as well as present sound installations in galleries, concert halls, malls and warehouses. The festival aims to question people's ideas about music, to innovate with instruments and explore musical directions.

When: March 8 to 12

Info: www.borealisfestival.no/2017


AUSTIN, TEXAS

Launched as a way to promote local creative and music communities to the outside world, South By Southwest is now a meeting place of movers and shakers and new industry players across music, film, technology, comedy and social enterprise from around the globe.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the event hosts hundreds of musical performances, film screenings, exhibitions, talks, networking events and workshops across diverse topics such as artificial intelligence, branding and privacy and security.

Participants this year have a chance to attend a discussion with the cast of HBO show Veep and a conversation with Russian conceptual artist and political activist Nadya Tolokonnikova; watch comedians such as Chris Hardwick perform live; and attend concerts by more than 100 artists from around the world.

When: March 10 to 19

Info: www.sxsw.com


UDAIPUR, INDIA

Celebrate the victory of good over evil and the arrival of spring during Holi, the Hindu festival of colours which is thought to date back to 300BC.

The festival includes processions, rituals, bonfires and singing of traditional songs. These culminate on the second day when crowds flood the streets to participate in a riot of colour. Dyed powder and buckets and balloons filled with dyed water are thrown at people, covering them in a rainbow of colours from head to toe.

Though the festival is celebrated across India and Nepal and by Hindu populations around the world, the festivals in Northern Indian cities, such as Udaipur, are said to be the most spectacular.

When: March 12 and 13

Info: www.holifestival.org

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 26, 2017, with the headline 'Agenda: Calendar of festivals'. Print Edition | Subscribe