There's no party like a gay festival. With the holiday season over and most New Year's resolutions long broken, it's time to start planning new debaucheries for 2016. Part of that planning should include attending at least one or two of the top 10 gay festival events in 2016. Whether a week end in Spain or a Brazilian street blowout, any gay festival on this list is a once in a lifetime experience. With quite a few of them taking place on beaches, visitors may even be able to forgo checked baggage.
1 – Carnival Rio
February 5-9, 2016
This annual Brazilian extravaganza is Mardi Gras' big brother. The celebration includes daily parades, multiple balls, and street parties all over the city. One of the most popular events is the Scala Gay Gala, which will take place on Tuesday February 9th. Tickets for the ball range from $110 to $976. Tickets to watch the parade range from $24 for open front box seating to $973 for a luxury suite.
2 – Winter Party Miami
March 2-7, 2016
This 22 year old circuit party is winter's biggest beach party. With daytime pool parties and dance concerts at night, visitors don't get much sleep. Though tickets to events can be bought separately, a pass is a good deal for those attending multiple events. Costs range from $225 for a 24 hour pass to $675 for the 6 day all access pass. Students and Florida residents qualify for additional deals.
3 – The Laneway – Sydney Mardi Gras
February 19 - March 6, 2016
What started as a march for civil rights is now one of the biggest LGBTQ celebrations in Australia. Events range from self defense classes to rowdy parties. Two big events are Fair Day, which is free, and the Mardi Gras Party, which costs $159.55 AUD (about $110 USD). It ends on March 6th with The Laneway, a major street party which charges $71.18 for general admission tickets (about $50 USD).
4 – White Party Palm Springs
April 8-11, 2016
The next major gay festival takes place in Palm Springs, California's gay Mecca. This gay party is the perfect way to shake off the last vestiges of winter. Aside from the white party itself, events range from a military ball to a closing party. Though it is possible to buy event tickets separately, the weekend pass is only $394 and includes the four major parties. An extra $80 buys attendees the upgraded VIP pass.
5 - Song Kran Bangkok
April 14-17, 2016
Song Kran keeps the gay party going in mid-April. It kicks off with a Glam Gala, which goes right into an after party. Subsequent days feature pool parties and renowned DJs. Flashing lights, throbbing music, and plenty of skin can be found at this four day dance festival. The Glam Gala costs 1,800 BAHT (about $50 USD), while an all access VIP pass is 7,500 BAHT (just over $200 USD).
6 – Delice Dream Sitges
May 4-10, 2016
This week long ocean front party is only six years old but is already internationally known. It takes place in Sitges. A short drive from Barcelona, Sitges prides itself on being Europe's best known gay resort. Dinner shows, costume parties and clubbing is all part of this all inclusive event. VIP passes include all the events and cost only €205 (about $220 USD), though the hotel room is extra.
7 – Circuit Festival Barcelona
August 2-14, 2016
The longest and biggest event on this list is the Circuit Festival, which lasts for two weeks in gay Barcelona before keeping the party going another four days in Ibiza. The time is packed with pool parties, a day at a water park, and plenty of clubbing at night. Though tickets are not yet on sale for 2016, the 2015 all access pass to the Barcelona leg of the festival costs €360 (about $390 USD).
8 – Magico Festival Ibiza
August 11-15, 2016
This boisterous four day festival takes place on the Spanish island of Ibiza. Not only are there parties throughout the weekend, the magical location helps to elevate this event to more than just another party. An all access bracelet is a steal at only €100 (about $108 USD).
9 – Xlsior Mykonos
August 17-21, 2016
Located on a tiny Greek island, Xlsior Mykonos is a perfect mid-summer gay party. Huge open air stages are set up right in front of the sea, with well known DJs blasting music for the thousands of visitors. Though only seven years old, the island location and musical talent helped propel this festival up the list. Ticket sales are not yet open, but will likely go fast.
10 – WE festival Madrid
New Year 2017
The last party of the year, and on this list, is the WE Festival in Madrid. Exact dates and prices have yet to be announced, but the 2016 festival included 7 nights of clubbing all over Madrid. An all access VIP bracelet for the 2016 celebrations cost €400 (about $432 USD) and included two drinks.
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