These countries have the most music festivals

These countries have the most music festivals


norman lebrecht

May 13, 2023

We have received a list of countries with the most music festivals per head of population.

No surprise to find the US and UK and numbers 1 and 2.

But number 3?

Full list here.


  • Guest says:

    It actually is a surprise – because it’s wrong. As the table clearly shows, in terms of most festivals per capita, the UK is only 4th on the list (and the US is 11th).

  • william osborne says:

    If it were classical music festivals, I suspect the USA would rank far lower.

  • Paavo says:

    There are 48 “classical music” festivals in Finland per year. This alone makes 8.66 festivals per capita (1M). Plus many festivals of other music genres.

  • Jonathon says:

    I take it this is not including classical music festivals? France has between 6 to 8 thousand festivals a year. You can check their own statistics on the matter.

  • Peter Schünemann says:

    In Finland only 9 Festivals? Have a look at the official page of Finland Festivals.

  • SVM says:

    Their methodology for identifying and counting music festivals seems very unsound (it has the look of some monolingual anglophones spending a couple of hours searching on the web and making a spreadsheet of what they found). Several longstanding fixtures in the UK classical-music festival calendar are absent, such as Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne (unless that is denoted by “Lewes”, the nearest substantial urban area), Hatfield House, Huddersfield, and Leicester. Also, there seems to be some inconsistency in how to count related but distinct festivals — Cheltenham is counted as ‘2’ (presumably, one for the classical festival and one for the jazz festival), whilst “Edingburgh” [sic] is counted as ‘1’ (presumably, the EIF and the Fringe are being treated a single entity). And why does the paragraph on “major festivals” in the UK not mention the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, a festival that is far bigger than Glastonbury and the other named examples (much as I abhor how the BBC has wrecked the Proms since the departure of Roger Wright, there is no denying the enormity of that festival’s scale and reach)? Farther afield, they fail to mention Bayreuth, for an example of a really obvious omission.

    More generally, we should be very suspicious when an English-language survey produces a database that happens to be dominated by anglophone countries (and countries in which fluent English speakers amount to a very significant percentage of the population, such as the Netherlands). To my mind, such a bias suggests strongly that the team of compilers lacks the foreign-language expertise to source comprehensive information about festivals in non-anglophone countries (you cannot rely on English-language web search results and databases alone).

  • J Barcelo says:

    What would be far more pertinent for SD is how many Classical Music Festivals are out there. The numbers will be quite a bit lower. Colorado has the most summer offerings for the classical listener. But like so many other festivals around the world, they all re-hash the same well-known (and beloved) warhorses. Only Leon Botstein at Bard seems to have a sense of adventure and play music off the beaten track.

  • AC says:

    I’m a researcher in creative geography in Japan and there are at least 70 *major* classical music festivals held here each year (I have the full list). That’s not including other “college-level” music festivals (at least 40), smaller “amateur” festivals (at least 10), music festivals without “festival” in their titles (at least 10), and music festivals of other genres. This list is unreliable.

  • Colin48 says:

    US and UK are top for the actual number of festivals. For the number per head of population, Croatia, Netherlands, and Norway seem to be the leaders.

  • Doc Martin says:

    That list is completely wrong. Ireland has > 300/year.

    Someone has done a cut n paste job, without checking the data.

  • Pavel says:

    Are you saying there are no classical music festivals in Russia ? Or Russia has less classical music festivals than Ireland? :):):) Just unbelievable…