Not the usual type of Festival

Wife Carrying World Championship, Sonkajarvi, Finland. Tomatina, Bunol, Spain. The Big Feastival, Kingham, Oxfordshire.

If you are interested in visiting a festival, but would like to experience something different from your typical music celebration, the following might be just for you. From gruelling obstacle races to tomato fights and food festivals, these events will very likely prove to be an experience you will never forget.

Here are some events which will take place over the summer months:

Wife Carrying World Championship, Sonkajarvi, Finland, July 4 – 5

The origins of this championship are linked to ‘Rontainen the Robber.’ There are many variations to this 19th century legend, such as that the robber trained his men with heavy sacks or that he stole the wives from the various villages. The most important thing is that as the name suggests, this competition involves throwing your wife on your back and running through a gruelling obstacle course.

The modern day version took place for the first time in Finland in 1992 and foreign contestants were admitted in 1995.

The length of the obstacle course is officially 253.5 metres, with the track having two dry obstacles and a water one that is around one metre deep.

The competitors are a couple and the male carries the female who must weigh a minimum of 49 kilos. If not, she has to carry additional weight to make up for the shortfall. There are various ways in which the male can carry the female.

The winners of the race are the couple who complete the course in the shortest time.


La Tomatina, Buñol, Spain, August 27

This is a festival in which the participants pummel each other with tomatoes for one whole hour purely for the fun of it.

As is common with these events, their origin is not known for certain. Dating back to around 1944 or 1945, some say that it started when a lorry carrying a load of tomatoes was overturned.

Another story is that during a parade, the people attending the parade started throwing tomatoes at some woodland animals which were eating away at some watermelons. The targets of the tomato throwers quickly became each other.

The tomato throwing incident soon became an annual event, much to the chagrin of the town’s authorities who did their utmost to put a stop the yearly ‘fights’. They soon gave up and a few years later actually became responsible for the organisation of the event. And as they say, the rest is history.

This is what happens. Someone scales the traditional palo jabón, a greasy pole to reach the ham which has been placed at the top of the pole. Once a ham is dropped from the greased pole, the tomato fight can begin.

Over 130,000 kilos of tomatoes are transported into Plaza del Pueblo by truck, where over 30,000 participants are awaiting for the event to start. The fight lasts one hour, with participants instructed to wear goggles and gloves and to squash the tomatoes before throwing them.

As soon as the hour is up, water hoses are used on the spectators and to wash away the tomato mess. This leaves the streets looking scrubbed. You see, the acidity in the tomatoes is very effective to get the streets cleaner than they were before the fight!


The Big Feastival, Kingham, Oxfordshire, August 29 – 31

The Big Feastival is a unique weekend celebration of music, food and fun, presented by Jamie Oliver and Alex James. Offering top chef demos and the best in UK’s street food, it is a festivity of food and experiences. The event is supported by Jamie Oliver and held in Alex James’ farm in the Cotswalds.

People attending this family event have the opportunity to visit local producers’ stands, join a cookery class or attend Q&A sessions with top chefs.