The planet’s best events with a heart of gold at their core – from saving elephants to supporting up-and-coming artists, there’s a world of opportunities out there for you to have fun and get that warm and fuzzy feeling too.
From Bjork to Beyonce, and from Alexander McQueen to Marc Jacob, this fashion-meets-music extravaganza has dazzled and seduced us with world-class catwalk fashion and killer tunes since its inauguration in London back at the start of the century. Twitter virtually collapsed when Justin Bieber dropped his pants (to reveal a new range of Calvins, natch) in Brooklyn a couple years back. That’s the sort of event this is! Now a truly global phenomena, the event’s just wowed the crowds in Singapore, with Usher and Italian luxury brand La Perla stealing the show. In the past, charities from cancer to HIV/AIDS have benefited from this glamourous pairing. There are rumours already circulating that the show’s gonna return to NYC next year. If it does, fight (or at least queue for days) to get a ticket…
The day-glo herd of cattle are surely the world’s most well travelled bovines. The fibreglass mannequins are off to Perth, Australia next month, to be colored up and made fabulous by the good people of Western Australia in the latest edition of this fun, free public art showcase. Forty life size cows create the ultimate 3D blank canvas for the rest of us to unleash our creativity and make them udderly beautiful (see what we did there?) The cows will be exhibited for six weeks from early November throughout the wonderful city of Perth, after which some will be auctioned to raise money for the city’s Telethon, which raises money to support child health research. The event started in Chicago in 1999, since when over $30 million has been raised through auctions: benefitting cities from Stockholm to Tokyo.
…but what if elephants are more your thing? They’re more our thing! Well, you’re in luck. A parade of pachyderms has also been stomping around the world for the past six years. Decorated by artists and celebrities from each host country, this is one super-sized public art event you’re really not going to miss. Did we mention that they’re life-sized? Ok, they’re baby elephants, but still, that’s the size of a small car to you and me. In dayglow colors. Over 100 of them. A generous 20% of Elephant Parade profits are donated to elephant welfare and conservation projects. Next up, suitably enough, is Elephant Parade India, in Delhi and Mumbai across 2017. This outing aims to generate funds to secure 100 elephant corridors across India for the hugely endangered Asian elephant.
GRAND RAPIDS ART PRIZE
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, their yearly Art Prize festival shows how modern art can be fun. It’s an open invitation, and competition, for artists to do something amazing. It’s a massive, democratic, non-profit and thrilling event that takes over the city. And the results are spectacular, and very inspirational. This isn’t scary chin-stroking conceptual art – it’s 100,000 paper planes being launched off of buildings while bands play in the streets and kids look up to the skies in total wonderment, or it’s a walk back in time, with huge photos of old Grand Rapids superimposed on the new city – and, every September, the event helps up and coming artists really make a big splash, and gives out over $500,000 in prizes, ensuring our next generation of creatives continue to make the world a thrilling place. Art Prize shows off Grand Rapids as a creative, inspirational city – where literally anything can – and often does – happen.
ECHIGO TSUMARI TRIENNIAL
The world’s largest international art festival (so big it needs a three-year run-up!) is beautifully summed up in its mission statement: “In summer, cultivate the fields; in winter, cultivate the mind.” That’s because here, in the rural heart of Japan, art really is about making a positive change. This region is facing tough times – depopulation, earthquakes, an aging society and a steady decline of traditional culture. How to stem the flow away to the big cities? Invite artists from around the world to use this 760 square kilometre canvas as a backdrop for art which engages with this bucolic rural landscape of terraced rice fields, forested hills and ancient villages. To celebrate the notion of ‘satoyama’, the traditional Japanese state of humans living in harmony with nature. It’s this life-affirming concept that lies at the heart of this wonderful event, which examines how art can be a force for good: and develops new links connecting people to each other and to the land. Proceeds go directly to support local farmers, communities and grassroots initiatives. And the art is sensational.
THE MUSIC RUN
Billing itself as the world’s loudest run, dance and party event, The Music Run’s 5 kilometre course is lined with over 120 speakers, blasting out motivational beats across five themed music zones – rock, pop, old school, hip hop and dance. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping – and your legs pounding – nothing will. It’s non-competitive, so don’t worry if you dance more than sprint, it’s not about smashing your PB or beating the man in front. If anything, it’s about shimmying your way to the finish line! Proceeds from entry fees are donated to charitable causes in the city where each event is held, and the Purosangue Project – a not-for-profit organization working to support young athletes and promote a culture of no doping in sport across the globe, as well as the development of coaching and healthcare in Africa. Healthy pursuits both, we think you’d agree? A huge event across Southeast Asia, the Music Run is heading to Malaysia in 2017. Get your dancing/jogging shoes out!