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The 2021/22 events worth saving your annual leave for

Here are the world's biggest events making a comeback in 2021 and 2022.

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The COVID-19 outbreak has continued to affect major sporting events as well as music, arts and cultural festivals around the world in 2021.

However, in light of the situation, many events have been able to continue in COVID-safe ways either with increased health and safety or by moving aspects online.

You might be holding onto your annual leave now, but in 2021 and moving into 2022 these are must-attend events to put those precious holidays towards.

1. Rising, Melbourne

Created to replace the Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night, Rising is a winter-inspired festival of lights, video, art and music.

After being delayed by COVID-19, Rising debuted on the night of a lunar ecplise and was a great success.

Rising will return in 2022 featuring local, national and international artists. Can't wait? For an early taste of the Rising experience buy tickets to visit Patricia Piccini's exhibition until 16 January 2022.

  • 2021 dates: 26 May to 6 June, 2021
  • 2022 dates: TBA
Check out flights for the next dates

2021 event

2. Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne

Drawing in local and international crowds of 700,000+, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is the largest comedy festival in the Southern Hemisphere.

The festival of funny wrapped it's 34th year after a great season with 390 shows and 3,822 performances bringing laughter back to Melbourne's streets after especially hard times.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival will be back in 2022 and we expect it'll be bigger and funnier than ever.

  • 2021 dates: 24 March to 18 April, 2021
  • 2022 dates: 30 March to 24 April, 2022
Check out flights for the next dates

3. Vivid Sydney, Sydney

Brightening Sydney over the winter months, Vivid is a light, music, arts and ideas festival like no other. Over 2 million attendees flock to marvel at the artistic works that are projected onto some of Sydney's most iconic buildings, including the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Unfortunately the lights remained off in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. However, keep late May and early June free next year as the site states Vivid Sydney will "shine brighter than ever in 2022".

  • 2021 dates:17 September to 9 October, 2021 (cancelled)
  • 2022 dates: 27 May to 18 June, 2022
Check out flights for the next dates

4. Dark Mofo, Hobart

Quirky, strange and filled with sinister undertones, Tasmania's mid-winter arts festival Dark Mofo has been growing in popularity over the years. But in 2021, its creative director Leigh Carmichael hinted that it may be coming to an end, he told the ABC "Perhaps it's run its course?... We'll use the audience response as a guide to inform a view about the future".

The good news is the festival's brighter twin Mona Foma will return this summer in January 2022. Keen to experience Dark Mofo's quirky display of local art, music, food, film and noise? We'll update this page when dates are announced.

  • 2021 dates: 16 June to 22 June, 2021
  • 2022 dates: Mona Foma (January 2022), Dark Mofo (TBA)
Check out flights for the next dates

5. Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay

One of Australia's best-loved music festivals was supposed to celebrate its big 20th anniversary in 2020. Sadly, it's had to postpone its big "do" until 2022.

For anyone who had their hopes set on a specific artist though, the event's co-producers Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco say "We intend to rebook as many of the 2020 artists as possible and we have started to work through that process".

On the line-up were Flume, The Strokes, Midnight Oil, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Tyler, The Creator. So far Tyler, The Creator and The Strokes have been confirmed as headlining acts as well as the Gorillaz.

Tickets are on sale now through Moshtix for the new 2022 dates.

  • 2021 dates: 19 November to 21 November, 2021
  • 2022 dates: 22 July to 24 July, 2021
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6. Festivale, Launceston

Festivale is the summer event to see in Tasmania. It's a 3-day celebration of Tasmanian produce, beer and wine located in the wide City Park.

As if the best food and drinks Tassie has to offer isn't enticing enough Festivale also welcomes live entertainers, comedians, roving entertainment and steet performers. Past headliners have included Eskimo Joe and Vanessa Amorosi.

Tickets go on sale from 1 October 2021.

  • 2021 dates: 5 February to 7 February, 2021
  • 2022 dates: 4 February to 6 February, 2022
Check out flights for the next dates

7. Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne

The largest film festival in both Australia and the southern hemisphere the 69th Melbourne International Film Festival took place virtually in 2021.

The MIFF as it's lovingly called was streamed into the homes of Aussies for a whole week with over 100 titles to choose from.

As one of the world's oldest ongoing film festivals, running since 1952, the MIFF is expected to return for its 70th edition in 2022.

  • 2021 dates: 5 August to 22 August, 2021
  • 2022 dates: TBA
Check out flights for the next dates

8. Wellington On a Plate, Wellington

Running for the full month of August, Visa Wellington On a Plate is a food festival promoting the ideas of eating and drinking and "being Welly".

The festival is all about celebrating the region's producers and promoting Wellington as not just the capital of New Zealand but the undisputed "culinary capital" as well.

Hosting over 140 individual events, there is something every foodie can enjoy.

  • 2021 dates: 1 August to 31 August, 2021
  • 2022 dates: TBA
Check out flights for the next dates

9. Darwin Festival, Darwin

The Darwin Festival is Australia's "hottest winter arts festival" taking place in August each year to celebrate the arts scene in Darwin.

The festival developed from events celebrating the revival of the city after the Cyclone Tracy disaster in 1974.

Over 18 days and nights the festival plays host to outdoor concerts, film, visual arts comedy and cabaret.

  • 2021 dates: 5 August to 22 August, 2021
  • 2022 dates: 4 August to 21 August, 2022
Check out flights for the next dates

10. The Truffle Festival, Canberra

The Truffle Festival is a celebration of all things garnished and flavoured with truffle.

Started in 2009, the festival has grown to include 6 truffle growers and operates as the centre point for a whole host of truffle themed and focused events during the Canberra winter.

The festival features tastings, cooking classes, stays, tours and of course the all important truffle hunting.

  • 2021 dates: 18 June to 28 August, 2021
  • 2022 dates: TBA
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11. Festival of Lights, New Plymouth

For 6 weeks Pukekura Park in New Plymouth lights up with a range of beautiful light displays and live music events.

From 8:30pm every night the lights turn on transforming the park into an entrancing space full of wonder.

This season features 17 incredible new installations from the cheeky Wise Monkeys to the insta-worthy Full Spectrum.

  • 2021/22 dates: 18 December 2021 to 30 January 2022.
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12. Sydney Solstice, Sydney

Launched for the first time in June 2021, Sydney Solstice is Sydney's very own winter festival celebrating food, the arts and creative industries.

For 2 weeks revellers can expect to join in a fun range of activities in the lead up to the longest night of the year.

Sprawling through the CBD, down Oxford Street, out to Newtown and around Darling Harbour, Sydney Solstice has something for everyone.

  • 2021 dates: 8 June to 20 June, 2021
  • 2022 dates: TBA
Check out flights for the next dates

13. Tomorrowland Winter, France

Europe in summer is what bucket lists are made for. There are island beaches aplenty and festivals around every corner. However, for something a little left-of-centre, try it in winter.

You can enjoy ice skating, Christmas markets and winter music festivals. One of the best is the winter edition of Tomorrowland, which runs at the end of ski season in March.

Held in the French Alps, it's an indoor affair that was set to feature Armin Van Buuren and Steve Aoki in 2020. It's been cancelled for 2021 as well but is sure to make your friends jealous in 2022 if you go.

  • 2021 dates: Cancelled
  • 2022 dates: 19 March to 26 March 2022
Check out flights for the new 2022 dates

14. Ultra Music Festival, Miami USA

America's Ultra Music Festival was one of the first music events to be cancelled due to COVID-19. Set to be headlined by Flume, Major Lazer, Afrojack, David Guetta and Armin Van Buuren to name a few, the festival was also cancelled in 2021.

There's no news yet if the line-up will remain, but we're hopeful.

All 2020 ticket holders can use their tickets for the 2021 or 2022 events. Instructions on how to do this have been sent by email. Unfortunately, no refunds were issued. This means there will be limited tickets for 2022 so get in quick when they go on sale.

  • 2021 dates: Cancelled
  • 2022 dates: 25 March to 27 March, 2022
Check out flights for the new 2022 dates

Glastonbury Festival at night - Somerset, England

15. Glastonbury, UK

In the UK, the famous Glastonbury music and arts festival that was slated for it's 50th outing was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021.

Any deposits already placed can be rolled on to 2021 or refunded, which means you've still got a chance to catch the event next year if you don't already have a ticket. They go on sale in December.

To give you an idea of who might be playing, 2020's line-up included Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Diana Ross.

  • 2021 dates: Cancelled
  • 2022 dates: 22 June to 26 June, 2022
Check out flights for the new 2022 dates

16. Eurovision, Italy

Arguably the biggest song contest in the world, Eurovision was able to return to lift spirits the world over in 2021. Taking place in Rotterdam in The Netherlands the contest was won by the Italian rock band Måneskin. This means Italy will take on hosting duties in 2022, although the host city has yet to be announced.

You'll be happy to hear that it has confirmed a good handful of countries are already signed on to compete for the trophy.

This includes the representatives for Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine to name a few and of course (confusingly for some) Australia.

  • 2022 dates: TBA for May 2022
Check out flights for the new 2022 dates

17. E3, USA

Open to the public since 2017, E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is one of the largest gaming expos in the world.

Held in Los Angeles, it brings developers, manufacturers, media and enthusiasts together to unveil the latest updates in the video game space. In 2021 the event was held virtually for the first time.

While E3 2021 was called a success the event is expected to return to an in-person format in 2022.

  • 2021 dates: 12 to 15 June, 2021 (Online)
  • 2022 dates: TBA for June, 2022
Check out flights for the new 2022 dates

Cherry blossoms and tourists in the boat on the Sumida river enjoying Hanami at day time, Koto ward, Tokyo, Japan, Spring.

18. Cherry blossom festival, Japan

Nature's beauty comes out in full swing during Japan's cherry blossom season. Also called "Sakura matsuri" the festival runs from late March through April and sees these beautiful blooms overrun the city of Tokyo.

Take a punt down one of Tokyo's canals or do as the locals do and roll out a picnic mat in the park among the blossoms. Viewing the flowers is called "hanami". Famous parks for this are Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park, Koishikawa Botanical Garden and Shinjuku Gyoen.

  • 2021 dates: March-April, 2021
  • 2022 dates: March-April, 2022
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