Can you feel the mud under your wellies? The sounds of revelry and anticipation across fields of eager music fans, the smell of myriad food stands and beer (hopefully nothing else)… yes, it’s the summer, and that can only mean one thing: music festivals.
Festivals are, after all, a great way of seeing the world. From Germany to Japan, weekend visits to either buzzing cities or fields in the middle of nowhere can be your door to discovery. While we’re at it, they can also be a great way to sample a country’s culture and cuisine, while meeting some rowdy locals.
Following your favourite artists on tour is a travel opportunity like no other, and it’s also a great way to get into teaching English. Yes, plenty of TEFL careers have either been started, or enhanced, by travelling to music festivals worldwide.
So get your tent, your band t-shirts and – yes – your phrase books out. There’s a planet of sound out there.
Why not start at the top? And by “the top”, we mean a festival named after a mountain. Laboured metaphors aside, Japan is inarguably one of the world’s top TEFL destinations, so why not fit in one of the world’s most famous festivals while you’re at it?
Fuji Rock takes place on the last weekend of July, and the line-up this year is utterly stacked. Lizzo, Weezer, Foo Fighters, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes represent just a handful of amazing international acts. And the cream of Japan’s musical crop is well-represented too, with the likes of KYARY PAMYU PAMYU on the bill.
The Japanese music scene is extremely diverse. Consider the noise aerobics of Melt-Banana or Asobi Seksu, for example. There’s the undeniable cool of 90s indies acts like Shonen Knife or, if you’re looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, the idol-meets-metal onslaught of Babymetal is a sight and sound to behold.
Again, Japan is obviously a massively popular TEFL destination, and it’s no wonder. Check out our guide here!
Is central Europe more your bag? Sziget Festival, held on the 10-15th of August in Budapest, is an absolute scorcher of a festival. If you’re thinking of dance verbunkos, polka or folk, you are way, way off – this is a festival that loves it loud.
You want internationally acclaimed headline acts? Sziget has it covered: Lorde, Diplo, Viagra Boys, David Guetta and Billie Eilish will be cranking up the decibels. Mainland Europe does festivals extremely well; you’ve probably heard of the likes of Rock Werchter in Germany and Pukkelpop in Belgium.
As for TEFLing? Hungary is an excellent place to teach, with very decent salaries and a cost of living that’s extremely favourable. Read our TEFL Guide to Hungary for the full skinny on what’s happening in Budapest and beyond.
We hear they like a party in Brazil. That’s just what we’re being led to believe. There’s this thing called Carnivale, and there’s also Tomorrowland, which is a sister festival to its namesake in Belgium.
Held in Itu’s Parque Maeda in São Paulo, the all-night no-messing vibes of Carnivale meet shuddering drops and thudding kick drums, with DJs like Steve Aoki, Tiesto and Aline Rocha ensuring a few sleepless nights. It’s also a festival that nods to the indigenous Brazilian culture, with the CORE stage “debut[ing] within the magical grounds of Parque Maeda, where music and nature come together”.
If you’re into house and techno, this is the one for you. As for TEFLing in Brazil, you’re missing the party if you’re not there already. Demand for English is enormous, from Belo Horizonte to Rio Grande Do Sul, and while the salaries aren’t breathtaking, the views, the enthusiasm of students and the lifestyle absolutely are.
How about an guide to TEFL in Brazil? Whistles and elaborate Carnivale costumes not included.
Moving up the way ever so slightly, we’re taking it to Costa Rica and the inimitable BPM festival. BPM stands for beats per minute, and you can imagine the kind of music we’re talking about here; DJs and beatmakers from around the world converge on beautiful Tamardindo every January.
Taking place across multiple venues, it really is the ultimate beach festival for fans of underground dance music. Although we’re looking at the Costa Rican edition, BPM has held parties in “Bali, Barcelona, Beirut, Brazil, Dubai, Ibiza, Mykonos, New York City, Toronto, and the Zurich Streetparade” – suffice it to say, they know how to host an event.
This one is really for the dance music heads; while big festivals and bigger-name acts like David Guetta are fine and well, BPM is about discovering talent you’ve never heard before, and catching a vibe as new DJ after new DJ seamlessly brings the evening together. If you’re in a mood for discovery – your interest in TEFL would suggest you are – then this is the one for you.
As for TEFLing in Costa Rica? Increasingly, we’re seeing a real growth in interest towards Latin America in general, and Costa Rica is undoubtedly an excellent location for teaching English. With extremely keen students, a low cost of living and tropical weather, this is an amazing place to develop a career in teaching English as a foreign language.
You think we’re forgetting Africa? Not a chance. Over to Accra, the capital of Ghana now for AfroFuture Festival, one of the fastest-growing music events in the world. Heralded as the “new king of music festivals” by Forbes, AfroFuture is a true celebration of African music and art, with a million exciting genres covered over 10 days in multiple venues.
Formerly known as ‘Afrochella’, in a nod to the USA’s Coachella, AfroFuture Festival combines Afrobeats, Soukous, Highlife, Amapiano and loads of other sounds, with a special emphasis on local art, food and opportunities to socialise. Fashion is also a major part of it; if Coachella looks are a genre unto themselves, you’d best believe the ‘fits at AfroFuture Festival are going to knock it out of the park.
This is a festival like no other.
Want to see more of the world, teach English and find amazing musicians around the globe? The TEFL Org Guide to the World has it all!