Urban Inspiration: Winter City Festivals

For those of us in cold climates it maybe hard to believe that we still have almost two months left of winter this year.  If you find yourself getting a little stir crazy trying to stay warm indoors, hopefully these examples of Winter City Festivals will inspire you to bundle up, head outside and see what your city has to offer.

igloofest-cubesIgloofest Montreal 

Last Friday night it was about -15F in Montreal, however that did not deter thousands of electronic music fans from gathering at Montreal’s Old Port for Igloofest 2015.  This electronic music festival takes place over four weekends and is one of my favorite winter examples, not necessarily for the music, but how it transforms a generally underused portion of the city in winter. Montreal’s Old Port was converted to the festival grounds with a combination of ice and steel to make a striking temporary architectural structure.  Visitors had plenty of ice sculptures to marvel at too. And if you are worried about being cold there were plenty of opportunities to dance at the festival.

FrostPoolPartyFROST Festival in Copenhagen

For the past five years FROST has transformed the most unlikely urban spaces to host famous musicians in the dark winter month of February. From an empty swimming pool, abandon aquarium and plenty of historic churches and buildings, the festival has brought to life various urban spaces during Copenhagen’s cold winter. Even the festival’s design identity works to make the winter city a little brighter.  Their 2014 branding served as a hidden treasure map of the city through images representing the festival’s locations.

Ithaca Ice Bar smallIthaca Winter Festival

In my own town of Ithaca, a series of outdoor winter events took place from December 5-14, 2014.  Held downtown, the events ranged from a national ice carving competition, to an ice bar, to a chowder cook off.  The festival also provided an opportunity to feature the local seasonal produce of the area with ice wine tasting. Unlike FROST and Igloofest Ithaca’s wide variety of events offered a much more family oriented atmosphere in addition to an Ice Bar for those over 21.

Your City

While not every city may hold large scale festivals and events in the depths of winter, hopefully the cold will not deter you from gathering with others outdoors this weekend. Perhaps you can create your own winter gathering over a backyard fire-pit and hot chocolate with neighbors.  If your city has an art gallery district you might gather some friends together for a winter gallery crawl.  Or just appreciate the beauty of a snow covered town with your camera tomorrow morning and hot cup of coffee. Who knows if you invite some friends along it could lead to a winter photo walk in your city.  The possibilities for enjoying our cities in winter does not have to keep us indoors, as long as we are inspired enough to explore.

IMG_5788Me, exploring and photographing in Montreal.

All images are linked to their original sources, expect the last photo by Joel Lim.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Winter Cities: Enduring or embracing our climate? | Encountering Urbanization

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