Lifestyle & Culture

Dispatches’ Advance Notice Event Guide for Europe updated 8 September 2017

Summer is over, autumn is here in Europe.

It’s back to work, and back to school.

But do not fret, for there is still plenty to do for fun as we enter the twilight months of 2017. Our Advance Notice Event Guide for Europe, now published every Friday morning, will give you plenty of time to enjoy what’s coming around the bend, and what lays down the road into the year to come.

This week, you can get ready for Christmas in Amsterdam; prepare your closet for autumn and winter in London; and pay your respects to those who’ve sacrificed their lives in the name of speed on the Isle of Man.

Let’s go!


Amsterdam – Amsterdam Fringe Festival: What better way to send-off summer than with some cutting-edge performance art?

Through 17 September, the Amsterdam Fringe Festival turns its namesake city into one large stage filled with live art, theatre, music, comedy, dance, and so much more; check the full programme here. The festival itself “is an ode to the madness of the stage and to independence of spirit and it is a plea for artistic freedom,” and half of the performances are either in English or “Language No Problem.”

Tickets to any of the performances at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival can be purchased via the programme linked above, at the Fringe box office, or at the box offices of participating venues. Do note that while the Fringe box office will take your plastic, the box offices of participating venues will only accept cash.

Barcelona: La MercèThe Festes de la Mercè are the festivals in honor of Barcelona’s city patron, and seeing how this is one of the biggest celebrations of the year, there are many, many events. Up to 500, according to the main Barcelona website. The main events take place on 24 September. But there’s stuff going on the entire week before and after the day of La Mercè.

In addition to the traditional celebrations, there are lots of concerts, fireworks, food trucks, cultural events and modern, very international experiences. This is, after all, Barcelona we’re talking about.

You can see the full schedule – and it’s FULL schedule – here.

Traditional events include:

• Castellers – the human towers where everyone sees how high they can go. Not for novices, by the way.

• Correfoc – the parade of fire-breathing dragons. Lots of dangerous devils and other monsters march the streets and scare the people with fireworks and firecrackers.

• Gigantes – Giant figures of queens and kings, nobles and saints march through the streets of Barcelona accompanied by flutes and drums.

• Mercè – Celebrates the patron saint of Barcelona, who liberated the city across the centuries from many enemies. Not totally politically correct, but still a lot of fun.

Frankfurt – Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung: Otherwise known as the Frankfurt Motor Show, Frankfurt, Germany’s Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (International Automobile Exhibition auf Deutsch) is the world’s largest auto show, attracting nearly 1 million every other year to see the latest and greatest from the world’s automakers.

IAA is so large it had to be split into showing off what you and I could drive every odd-numbered year (like this one), and what fleet operators and other industry types would order for us to drive every even-numbered year (like last year).

The 67th IAA main theme is electrification, from regular and exotic electric and hybrid cars, to the services infrastructure supporting them. There’s also a model car collectors fair, a classic car show to see everything that came before, and, of course, European and world debuts of the latest and greatest, including:

  • The debuts of Citroën’s C3 Aircross, Kia’s Stonic, Mercedes-Benz’s X-Class, and Mercedes-AMG’s mysterious hypercar
  • Introductions to the redesigned Audi A7, Bentley Continental GT, Subaru Impreza, and Volkswagen Polo
  • Concept reveals from Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Smart, MINI, Kia, Borgward, and Chery

The show opens to the press 12 and 13 September, followed by industry insiders 14 and 15 September, before allowing one and all through the exhibition grounds in the heart of Frankfurt 16 through 24 September.

Tickets to the 67th IAA range from free admission for little ones under seven, to €47 at the door for a two-day industry pass.

Le Castellet – Bol d’Or: When most think of endurance racing, they think Le Mans, Daytona, or Sebring. When it comes to endurance motorcycle racing, however, one name sticks out: Bol d’Or.

Returning to Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France 15 through 17 September, teams of three will push themselves and their motorcycles to the limit over the course of 24 hours during the first round of the 2017-18 FIM Endurance World Championship.

Tickets to the 81st edition of Bol d’Or can be had for €62 to €82 through today; prices jump to €69 – €85 thereafter. VIP packages are also available.

London – London Fashion Week Festival: While the biannual London Fashion Week is only open to industry and media, you and yours can attend the London Fashion Week Festival at The Store Studios along The Strand after the Spring/Summer 2018 circus heads across the Channel to Paris and Milan.

The festival, held 21 through 24 September, will have catwalks full of fashion trends for this autumn and winter, which you’ll then be able to purchase from over 150 designers and brands. And of course, you’ll be able to attend talks with some of the world’s best designers and brands.

Ticket packages for the London Fashion Week Festival range from £20 to £60 (€22 – €65). Those who want a more VIP experience can opt for one of two LUXE ticket packages, which range from £145 to £200 (€157 – €217).

Luxembourg – BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open: This is international tournament is big event on the calendar of little Luxembourg. Every year, this tournament grows in popularity and now is attracting big-ish names in women’s tennis. This year, the Luxembourg Open is scheduled for 14 through 21 October and Eugene Bouchard of Canada (No. 76 WTA ranking) and Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands (No. 27) are the top draws.

Former WTA No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who won here in 2011, has announced she’ll return … maybe.

Tickets for qualifications and opening matches start at 8 euros and you can get them here.

Munich – Oktoberfest: Only the largest beer and fun festival in the world, but we know what you’re thinking (aside from how many beers and sausages and dances you can stand in a sitting): shouldn’t Oktoberfest be in Oktober?

It once was. The first was held 12 October 1810 “in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen,” then moved up to September over the years to take advantage of the warmer weather.

Are you ready to fill your belly full of beer, sausages, and fun? Then head over to Munich between 16 September and 3 October for the 184th edition of Oktoberfest, which kicks off with a parade to the tents and the tapping of the first Oktoberfest keg by the Munich mayor in the Schottenhamel Tent on the first day. Admission is free, beers hover around €11 per Mass (1 litre).

Paris – European Heritage Days: This is the difference between being a tourist and an expat. We get a chance to see the Paris tourist miss. This year, European Heritage Days – 16 and 17 September – are the only days some monuments and organizations are open to behind-the-façade public tours.

This year, see the Elysée Palace, Matignon, Musée d’Orsay and the Arc de Triomphe. And don’t forget modern buildings such as the Philharmonie de Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton, and the Cité de la Mode et du Design.

Every tour is free, and as the name suggests, there’s likely a European Heritage Days event where you are on the continent.

Rome – Longines Global Champions Tour: If you’re a fan of show jumping and always wanted to see the best of the best, then Round 14 of the 2017 Longines Global Champions Tour will be your final chance in Europe to see the best show jumpers from around the world before the season concludes in Doha.

The Eternal City’s Stadio del Marmi will serve as the setting for the penultimate chapter of the 2017 season come 21 through 24 September. And if you want to experience this majestic equestrian magic, all you need to do is show up, as admission is free, first-come, first-served.

Stockholm – Comic Con: Comic Con in Stockholm runs 15, 16 and 17 September, bringing together fans of movies, games, anime, TV and every pop-culture category you can think of. Lots of people in costume for the costume contests. You get picture. BUT, a lot of the big computer game companies come to Stockholm to debut their latest creations because Sweden is a hotspot for game developers.

Special guests will be Cobie Smulder (“Avengers,” “How I Met Your Mother”) and Iain Glein  from “Game of Thrones.”

Tickets are 245 Krona (25 euros) and you can get them here.

Stuttgart – Cannstatter Volkfest: Is Munich’s Oktoberfest too much Oktoberfest for you? Then head up to Stuttgart for Cannstatter Volkfest near the end of this month!

Cannstatter Volksfest is a smaller version of the famed Oktoberfest, which means less people — particularly those who make obnoxious “how-to” videos like the one above — and thus, less time in the queue for beer and brats. The fun festival takes place from 22 September to 8 October, and features carnival rides, parades, beer tents, and German and regional food, just like your favorite state fair back home.

And best of all: admission is free.



Albuñuelas, Spain – 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).

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, you’ll be happy to know tickets went on sale yesterday; 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.

Eindhoven – Dutch Design Week: This is the preeminent event in a city that seems to have something compelling going on every day.

DDW is so big the “week” takes up 9 days, 100 locations and 2,500 designers from all over the Netherlands, Europe’s most creative country. If you really want to know what’s coming in every facet of design and art, from cars to clothing, this is the event. Yes, there are entire buildings dedicated to DDW … as well as entire sections of the city including Strijp-S, Eindhoven’s emerging collection of residential space, businesses, retail and labs that attracts the Netherlands’ creative class.

We dedicated a weekend to it last year and only scratched the surface, seeing everything from outrageous new fashion designers to pre-fab housing. We’ll have a preview as we get closer to the date. Stand by ….

DDW runs from 21 to 29 October.

Eindhoven – Sushi Festival Eindhoven: Bayonetta once said it wasn’t Christmas without caviar. Would my favorite Umbra Witch consider sushi as a Christmas delicacy, as well?

You might after attending Sushi Festival Eindhoven in Eindhoven, Netherlands — our home — 23 December. Sushi stands, workshops, chefs, and more await your senses a mere 48 hours before Sinterklaas or the Krampus come to visit your house!

Not much is known about the programme yet, but you can pre-register for updates and a chance to win tickets to the festival.

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.

Isle of Man – Isle of Man TT: The Isle of Man TT is no ordinary motorcycle competition. The two-week-long festival of speed at Snaefell Mountain Course pushes man and machine to their limit and beyond, sometimes with fatal results; a total of 255 riders have lost their lives on the 37-mile circuit since the first Isle of Man TT in 1911, three more taken by the Reaper in 2017.

Tickets to the 2018 Isle of Man TT will go on sale in a few months; you can be the first to know by subscribing to the newsletter here. The death-defying competitions will run from 26 May through 8 June 2018.

Roermond – Solar Weekend Festival: This summer may be fading into memory, but you can get ready for next summer when the Solar Weekend Festival returns to Roermond, Netherlands’ Noorderplas around early August 2018.

The long-running beach party features the best in house, electro, dubstep, hip hop, jazz, reggae, soul, disco, pop, classical… if you can name it, it might be at Solar.

Surrounding the stages are lots of games, party tents, theatre shows, and, of course, parties for days.

Tickets to next year’s Solar Weekend are likely to go on sale in late November, with more to be released over the following months.

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.

Tickets to the 2018 World Cup will go on sale soon; bookmark to buy a seat to history.

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