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The Events to Travel for this October

It’s the month of spooks, spirits and fiery autumn hues; mid-term holidays and long weekends eeking out the last of summer, or embracing early spring. If you’re travelling this October fend off the fake blood and make the most of your trip with our curated roundup of events worth getting on a plane for. Go on, be a devil. 

Bali – Written in the stars

Feeling jaded by Bali’s beach bars and over-hyped pool scene? Head inland to the verdant hills for the excellent Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (23-27 Oct) instead. A wide range of authors, artists, performers, politicos and thinkers gather for a lively cross-cultural exchange of ideas and inspirations. Lindy West and Irvine Welsh join a strong Indonesian lineup that includes filmmaker Garin Nughoro and award-winning poet, essayist and editor Nirwan Dewanto. Expect to return home with a reading list longer than Morticia’s nails, as well as cracking winter glow.

Barcelona – Fiesta, fiesta!

The Catalan stunner has a string of festivals this month, including the last of the major summer parties Festa Major de la Barceloneta (early Oct) and the world’s biggest fantasy film festival, Sitges Festival Internacional de Cinema de Catalunya (3-13 Oct). Barcelona Jazz Festival swings into town on the 19th (until 20 Nov); rounding out the month is the superb Open House BCN  (26-27 Oct) offering a rare two-day peep into some of the most beautiful off-limits homes and buildings.

London – Cutting-edge creativity

Perched at the avant-garde end of the art spectrum Frieze London (3-6 Oct) has a stellar rep as one of the world’s most exciting and influential art events, attracting a fashion-y crowd with contemporary works form 160+ galleries and thoughtful programming.

The National Gallery’s blockbuster A/W show Gauguin Portraits (7 Oct-26 Jan 2020), is the first-ever show dedicated to the artist, bringing together 50 works from around the globe, including paintings, sketches and contemporary 3D interpretations. 

Melbourne – Artscapades

An eclectic, electric global line up of music, theatre, performance, film and dance descends on Melbourne for the Melbourne International Arts Festival (2-20 Oct). Among the many highlights are music by The Flaming Lips and Kamasi Washington, Scottish actor/director/musician Cora Bisset’s ‘What Girls Are Made Of’ and celebrated Chinese choreographer Yang Liping’s ‘The Rites of Spring’. 

New York – Full house

Spotlighting NYC’s architecture and design, Archtober NYC (1-31 Oct), runs a stimulating program of talks, tours, films and nose-worthy ganders aplenty, especially during the Open House NYC (18-20 Oct). Try if you can to combine your trip with the three-day cultural extravaganza that is the New Yorker Festival (11-13 Oct). This platform of thought-provoking talks, performances and panel discussions attracts some of the starriest names in literature, politics and popular culture – Dua Lipa, Zadie Smith and Paul Rudd are set to appear this year. 

Shanghai – Brighter than bright

An extra-special occasion this year, China’s National Day (1 Oct) is the Republic’s 70th birthday, likely to be celebrated with lavish pomp and ceremony, plus a frenzy of shopportunity (the holiday coincides with Golden Week). In Shanghai, the International Music Fireworks Festival (30 Sep-6 Oct) is Asia’s largest and a  dazzling pyrotechnic performance set to music. Encore!

Sydney – Sculpted to perfection

Sydney swings into spring with the return of the spectacular Sculpture by the Sea (24 Oct–10 Nov), a free exhibition by Oz and global talents, with sculptures dotted along the scenic coastal walk between Bondi and Tamarama beaches.

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