6 Perfect Festivals to Kick Off Your 2016 Season

Article by: Marcus Dowling|@marcuskdowling

Tue December 22, 2015 | 00:00 AM

2016’s music festival season kicks off with a sextet of events held in luxurious locales worldwide. Adding idyllic vistas to blissful sonic vibes creates the space and place for anyone to embark on a year of festival attendance in the most ideal manner possible. For many fanatics, the action picks up in March when events like Balispirit, BUKU Music + Art Project, SXSW and Beyond Wonderland hit the calendar. However, if looking to get an even earlier start on things, here are six excellent early events from which to choose.

Envision Festival, Costa Rica, February 25-28, 2016

Celebrating its sixth anniversary in 2016, Envision takes place in the small village town of Uvita on Costa Rica’s southern tip. The beachside jungle event promises “opportunities to celebrate [your] spirits, heal [your] bodies and minds, and revitalize [your] souls,” in order to go back to your daily life equipped to face the challenges of our rapidly changing world. 2016’s event features grooving dance bands like Beats Antique and Random Rab, as well as a full slate of non-dance events including yoga and holistic workshops. Also promising everything from surfing and kayaking to horse riding and jungle walks, this is not just a top-tier festival, but rather a truly elevated cultural experience.

Holy Ship!, Bahamas, January 3-6, 2016 and February 10-13, 2016

Gary “Destructo” Richards and the crew at HARD’s EDM cruise turns five in 2016, and has expanded to now include two separate cruises from Miami to different ports of call in the Bahamas – just in time to cure your winter blues with a hit of sunshine. The event's loyal ShipFam is a passionate group of dance fanatics who are regulars at each event and were celebrated in Destructo’s latest house jam of the same name. Each year, a who’s-who of global dance superstars get on board the ship and play sets for what feels like 24 hours a day, from the ship itself to whatever beach it's docked at. With headliners including the likes of Kaskade, Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, Porter Robinson, Chromeo, DJ Snake, RL Grime, Baauer and other acts totaling roughly 50 per cruise and 100-plus overall for both annual voyages, it’s an ultimate cavalcade of bangers, jams, and grooves.

Jam Cruise, Belize and Mexico, January 6-11, 2016

The MSC Divina cruise ship sets sail from Miami, Florida to Belize and Mexico for the 14th consecutive year for the “musical adventure of a lifetime” known as Jam Cruise. Almost three thousand partiers and 25 bands are expected this year, including Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Dr. John and The Nite Trippers, Galactic, Snarky Puppy and more set to headline. If you're looking for a heaping dose of tasty jams with a side of sunny days, starry nights and picturesque vistas, look no further – Jam Cruise has been at it longer than most on the high seas. From the Disco Room to the nightly All-Star Jam, it’s a five-day, non-stop party.

Rainbow Serpent Festival, Australia, January 22-25, 2016

More than 10,000 people a year venture to Lexton – a city in Victoria, 100 miles from Melbourne – for January’s Rainbow Serpent Festival. Northern Hemisphere-based festies know that this event falls during the peak of summer in Australia. Thus, sun-kissed good times with 150 DJ acts including Pretty Lights, John Digweed and the 20th anniversary celebration of Iboga Records are par for the course. Australia’s unique aboriginal background is reflected in the name of the event, which is directly linked to the Dreamtime creation story of dancers connecting the Earth with people via the art of dance. Advertising itself as an event that is “a unique combination of music, art, performance, spiritual education, relaxation and healing,” Rainbow Serpent uniquely blends ancient Australian culture and cutting-edge music in a fanciful way.

The BPM Festival and Day Zero, Mexico, January 8-17, 2016

Techno and house fanatics look to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico’s ten-day BPM Festival as a celebratory gathering of deep vibes to kick off their year of dancing ahead. Names including Adam Beyer, Maya Jane Coles, Dusky, Pete Tong and Visionquest are on the lineup in 2016, playing sets at ten different oceanfront beach clubs. The coastal resort town in Mexico sits along the eastern Yucatán Peninsula's Riviera Maya strip of Caribbean shoreline, and features beaches, coral reefs, and white sands along miles of shoreline. With literally hundreds of acts booked for hundreds of parties over ten days, BPM is much more than a festival, it’s a dance experience unlike any other.

Day Zero, Mexico, January 8, 2016

About 45 minutes away from The BPM Festival is Day Zero in Tulúm, Mexico. The one-day fest offers up its own amazing event production and beats from Damian Lazarus, Fur Coat, Felix Da Housecat, Bedouin, and Blond:ish, and more. Established the world was slated to end in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar, the festival instilled it with a vibe of escapism and abandonment. Here you'll find long nights and delicious sunrise sets soundtracked by the best beatmasters around.

Splore, New Zealand, February 19-21, 2016

Tapapakanga is a working farm and regional park set along New Zealand’s northernmost coast. As the location of the three-day camper-driven Splore Festival, this idyllic, seaside space allows for the “[celebration of] arts and culture with a community of like-minded people who love and respect our environment.” This year, 20,000-plus attendees are expected for the 11th annual event, where chill vibes and excellent music dominate. This celebration involves music from a diverse group of acts including soul bands The Brand New Heavies and Hiatus Kaiyote, rappers Ragga Twins and Tkay Maizda, plus dance acts Klangrussell and Leftfield.