Lifestyle & Culture

Dispatches’ Advance Notice Event Guide for Europe: Mid-September 2017 Edition

Change is in the air. Sleeves are growing longer, fabrics are growing thicker (or more advanced), the leaves are changing colour, and our Advance Notice Guide for Europe will be published every other Friday starting today.

We would like to hear from you about how often we should publish this guide, though. Will every other Friday do? Did you prefer every Friday? Would you rather see this once a month? Let us know by either emailing me at, or my editor, Terry Boyd, at

In the meantime, you can get ready for Christmas in Amsterdam; prepare your closet for autumn and winter in London; and buy your ticket to the biggest football event in the world. Let’s go!


Albuñuelas – Space Mountain Festival: Start your October right with the first-ever Space Mountain Festival at Space Mountain Studios in Albuñuelas, Spain during the full moon weekend of 6 through 8 October.

Headed up by Youth of British post-punk legends Killing Joke, the ambient arts festival features three stages full of live music and DJs from the likes of: The Orb; Nik Turner; RDF; Total Eclipse; Super Cozi; Cosmic Trigger; and many more. Collaborative studio sessions with Youth, John Leckie, Matt Black and Alex Paterson will produce a lot of magic, as well as the many workshops and talks in the studio’s art lab.

Want to welcome the moon in early October? Tickets range from £25 to £90 (€28 – €99).

Ascot – Ascot Beer Festival: Looking to mix your beer and cider festivals with some horse racing? Head up to Ascot, England for the 2017 edition of the Ascot Beer Festival at Ascot Racecourse 6 and 7 October.

Once you purchase your ticket to all of the action on the track, enjoy over 200 real ales and 30 ciders and perries, plus food, live music, and, of course, live racing.

Tickets to the Ascot Beer Festival (via Ascot’s Autumn Racing Weekend) range from £18 to £36 (€21 to €41), depending on the day you go. Token and tasting glass prices have yet to be announced as of this writing.


Berlin – Festival of Lights: Light up your autumn with the annual Festival of Lights in Berlin 6 through 15 October. The festival is one of best-known such light art festivals in the world, attracting national and international artists to transform the heart of Berlin into a world of color. FOL attracts over 6 million to its various installations, all of which can be found with this map.

And the cost of admission? Free.

Certaldo – Boccaccesca Food and Wine Festival: Though October is about beer, food, and all things German, there is a refuge for those who prefer the finest Tuscan wines with their equally fine Italian foods: the Boccaccesca Food and Wine Festival in the Tuscany region of Italy.

From 7 through 9 October in the Tuscan town of Certaldo, Boccaccesca is a gourmet’s delight. The theme this year is flowers, from the various colors and scents, to the flavors they bring to your tongue. There will also be plenty of street food and wonderful wines — such as Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano — available for enjoyment, as well as a market filled with wonderful products from Tuscany; cooking demos and competitions; medieval reenactments; and entertainment for the little ones.

And the best part? Admission is free.

Ibiza – Ibiza Closing Parties: If you’re an expat living in Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Stockholm, it’s hard to believe it’s still summer somewhere. That somewhere until the middle of October is Ibiza, where the Closing Party season has already started and goes until mid-October, if not later.

There are so many we don’t have room to list them individually. But you can see a handy list here on MyIbiza.

Ibiza …. where the party never stops.

Kent – The Social Festival: Can’t make it to Ibiza? Ibiza will come to you in the form of the Social Festival on Sept. 29 & 30.

The concept is that The Social Festival brings a taste of Ibiza to the southeast of England with a line-up of “the world’s most discerning electronic music talent,” according to the website.

There will be four indoor arenas as well as outdoor arenas for this, the EDM festival’s fifth anniversary. Acts this year include the Martinez Brothers, Acid Mondays, Carl Cox and Black Coffee. You can see the full lineup here.

Tickets start at 59 euros and you can get them here.

Sant Sadurni d’Anoia – Cavatast: Need more wine in your life? How Spain’s own fizzy wine, cava? Then head on down to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, Spain 6 through 8 October for Cavatast.

Cavatast is an annual celebration of cava, inviting one and all to sample the finest cavas around, as well as the different dishes designed to go with each cava. Guided tours of cava wineries, workshops, and a cava market complete the programme.

Though the festival is free to attend, you’ll need to pay €3 for a cava tasting glass (€5 to make one yours), then €5 for four cava tickets and €6 for four food tastings.

Stockholm – Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival: 2017 marks the 26th year for this event, which is all about spirits.

This event is so big it takes two weekends: 28 thru 30 September, and 5 through 7 October.

A lot of brands debut new beers and whiskys during the festival including Hanalei Island IPA with guava, orange and passion fruit this year and Motörhead Whisky honoring late Lammy Kilmister.

The Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival is open to the public, but it’s also a big industry event with testings, master classes and seminars. Right now, there’s not a lot on the website, but we’re assuming that will change as we get closer to the event. Though there are at least 200 exhibitors taking part.

Tickets start at 250 krona, or about 26 euros and you can get them here.


Ullapool, Scotland – Loopallu, Rosshire: We started to tag this one “Middle of Nowhere, Scotland,” it’s so far north … five hours from Edinburgh. But this this festival on the edge of a loch is one of Scotland’s legendary gatherings … and, unfortunately, the final Loopallu.

It was a long shot. From the festival website:

Lucky 13. On paper they said it wouldn’t work, a festival in late September in a remote village on the West Coast of Scotland 60 miles from the nearest town, but that was 10 years ago. 

For 13 years, this has been both a music festival featuring new acts, and a literary festival. Mumford and Sons, Paolo Nutini and Franz Ferdinand have all played the festival, which is 29 and 30 September this year.

The final act of the final festival will be The Vatersay Boys.

The finale is sold out, but you can get on a waiting list here.

Loopallu is dead. Long live Loopallu.


Amsterdam – Amsterdam Light Festival: Start your Christmas season right with the sixth annual Amsterdam Light Festival 30 November 2017 through 21 January 2018. The canals and city streets in the heart of Amsterdam will come to life with over 40 light sculptures from Dutch and international artists — including a light object by Chinese artist and activist Ai WeiWei — all evoking this year’s theme, “Existential.”

Whether on foot or on a canal cruise, you’ll definitely see the Netherlands’ most famous city in different light as the sun sets on 2017. More information about the Amsterdam Light Festival will come soon.

Basel – Baloise Session: Back in 1986, co-founders Matthias Müller, Enrico Bonometti, and Stephan Werthmüller organized the first Rheinknie Session in Basel, Switzerland, featuring performances from Oscar Peterson, Albert Collins, and Koko Taylor. Two years later, the music festival’s fame exploded when jazz legend Miles Davis brought down the house, prompting Montreux Jazz Festival founder Claude Nobs to become a patron of the festival.

Two name changes later, the Baloise Session continues its proud, three-decade-long tradition of presenting music in an intimate, club-like setting. Tom Jones, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Sir Elton John, Grace Jones, and Deep Purple have been among those to perform at the festival.

Who will be performing at the 2017 Baloise Session? Chris Rea and Imelda May open this year’s performances. Other artists scheduled on the programme include: Goldfrapp; Nelly Furtado; Alicia Keys (who will have back-to-back performances on the 1st and 2nd of November); Kool & The Gang; and Tim Bendzko.

If this lineup is up your alley, tickets are on sale right now. Ticket prices range from CHF 60 to CHF 270 (€53 – €237), and can be purchased via the programme linked above.

The 2017 Baloise Session will run from 21 October to 9 November.

Europe: The Heaven Upside Down Tour: While our editor-in-chief Terry Boyd feels the magic in the air whenever he hears Bruno Mars, yours truly prefers to walk in the darkness with Marilyn Manson in her ears. The industrial rock legend and visual artist will embark on the European leg of his The Heaven Upside Down Tour 12 November in Helsinki, Finland’s Ice Hall. He’ll also make an appearance at our home of Eindhoven, Netherlands 28 November, where he will take the stage inside Klokgebouw.

His tour — in support of his new album, Heaven Upside Down, due 6 October — will conclude in London’s SSE Wembley Arena 9 December. To see where he will be in between Helsinki and London, as well as to purchase tickets, click the first link above.

Paris – Pitchfork Music Festival Paris 2017: The City of Light becomes the City of Sound for a few nights. Join The National, Run the Jewels, The Blaze, and more of your favorite indie acts for three nights at Grande Halle de La Villette – one of Paris’s coolest Right Bank venues – at the seventh annual Pitchfork Music Festival Paris 2 through 4 November.

If a few solid hours of jamming in a former slaughterhouse doesn’t quite satisfy, good news: For the first two nights of the festival, you can keep the party going at Le Trabendo, a nearby club (with a 700-person maximum capacity) after the festival set officially ends.

If you’ve booked that hip Airbnb for the full week, check out the Avant-Garde soirées in the two days leading up to the festival (31 October and 1 November 2017). Initiated in 2016, these pre-parties invite festival-goers to check out new talent in venues across the Bastille neighborhood.

Tickets to Pitchfork Avant-Garde are €16 for each night. As for Pitchfork Paris, a three-day pass will set you back €110, while a single-day ticket goes for €50.

Poperinge – Poperinge Beer Festival: Belgium and beer have always been a classic pairing since the Catholic Church first gave French and Flemish abbeys permission to brew small quantities of suds in the 12th century.

You can experience the results of this long history of brewing 28 and 29 October at the Poperinge Beer Festival in Poperinge, Belgium, located on the French/Belgian border 90 minutes west of Brussels.

Over two days, some 2,500 visitors will be able to try 100 beers from 25 breweries in Belgium and a few other European countries inside the Maeke Blyde event hall.

There will also be plenty of food and live music to enjoy at “Belgium’s coziest beer festival” in the nation’s proclaimed “Hops City.”

Admission to the 22nd annual Poperinge Beer Festival is free, but you’ll need €3 for a commemorative tasting glass — which you can return for a refund, or keep as yours — and €1.80 for a single tasting token.

Reykjavik – Iceland Airwaves: The sun may not stick around once the clock strikes noon, but it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying one of Reykjavik’s biggest music festivals, Iceland Airwaves.

From 1 through 5 November, check out several artists representing Iceland’s music scene — such as Sigrún, Ásgeir, and Kælan Mikla — as well as international artists like Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, and Jo Goes Hunting; here’s the full lineup.

Tickets for Iceland Airwaves run from ISK 8,900 to ISK 21,900 (€77 – €189).

• 2018

Ascot – Royal Ascot: Several months from now, the Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, England will come to life with the thunder of hooves and throngs of fancy-dressed party people when the centuries-old Royal Ascot welcomes the British summer 19 through 23 June 2018.

The horse racing extravaganza is known more for the thousands in attendance than the horses who compete for a share of nearly £7 million (€7.6 million) in total prize money over the course of the competition. In fact, the Royal Ascot is considered a major event in the British social calendar; thus, expect to see lots of wealthy, well-mannered, very important people in their finest there (aside from the Queen and her family, of course).

Tickets will go on sale sometime in September, so be sure to check the website frequently for when sales begin.

Geneva – Geneva International Motor Show: Once the annual auto show season passes through Detroit and Chicago, the circus leaps across the Atlantic to Geneva, Switzerland for the annual Geneva International Motor Show, scheduled for 8 through 18 March 2018.

Geneva hold the distinction as being the only auto show recognized by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles to occur annually in Europe (Frankfurt rotates between production and commercial vehicles year by year, and Paris is held every two years), and is one of the top five auto shows in the world. And in an ode to Swiss neutrality, Geneva is considered a level playing field for the world’s automakers, as Switzerland doesn’t have an auto industry of its own.

There’s not much news so far for the upcoming show, though Volkswagen announced it will unveil its flagship electric sedan there, and Lamborghini will reveal a “one-off” (more like a dozen at most) supercar to wow the well-moneyed masses.

Paris – Mondial de l’Automobile: Speaking of Paris, Mondial de l’Automobile –
otherwise known as the Paris Motor Show – returns from its biennial holiday 4 through 14 October 2018. Paris usually takes up the torch for production vehicles when Frankfurt focuses on commercial wares every even-numbered year (like 2018).

Held at Paris expo Porte de Versailles, the Paris Motor Show welcomes over 1 million guests every other year to see what will be in their driveways and garages as the global auto show season winds down for the year. It’s too early to know who will be there or what will be shown, but it’s never too early to put this show on your calendar for 2018.

Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup: Assuming Trump and Kim Jong-un don’t start WWIII, soccer fans will gather en masse between 14 June and 15 July 2018 to 11 cities within European Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

This festival of football returns to Europe for the first time since 2006 and is the first time ever the World Cup has made an appearance in Eastern Europe. Thirty-two teams from around the world will compete to hoist the FIFA World Cup Trophy among the 81,000 fans in attendance at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium at the end of the month-long show, as well as a chance to compete in the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup.

The first phase of ticket sales kicked off yesterday, and will conclude 12 October; full ticket purchasing details can be found here.

To Top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the latest news and updates from Dispatches Europe. Get lifestyle & culture, startup & tech, jobs and travel news dispatched to your inbox each week. Keep up with what's going on in Europe. Everything Expat.

You have Successfully Subscribed!