festivals in Ankara
Located at the center of the country, Ankara, Türkiye’s capital, keeps its finger on the pulse of the country’s thriving art scene. There is truly no end to the arts & culture events and festivals in the city!
The International Ankara Music Festival, one of Ankara’s longest-running international events, has been organized by the Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation for the past 36 years. The festival, which takes place each year in April, hosts prominent artists, orchestras, and ensembles from Türkiye and abroad. Following established tradition, the festival’s opening and closing concerts are given by symphonic orchestras. The festival, which is a member of the European Festivals Association, also includes young talents in its program every year.
The International Ankara Jazz Festival, one of Türkiye's biggest jazz festivals, is organized by the Ankara Jazz Society. Each April, the festival features world jazz musicians and contributes to the recognition of Turkish jazz artists abroad. Other important festivals, which host world-renowned musicians, groups, and orchestras at different concert venues in the city and are anticipated by the music-loving public are the International Şefika Kutluer Festival, the New Music Festival, and the XJAZZ Festival.
Every year several music festivals dedicated to different music genres take place in Ankara and host many international and Turkish artists on their stages. Especially popular with university students and young music audiences are the Oxo Music Festival in April; the Bilkent MayFest and the Holifest in May; the Burn Sonance Festival in September; the ODTÜ Vişnelik Music Festival, the GençFest, and the Majalis Festival in October; and the Rock Station Festival in November.
Thanks to the wide variety of film festivals held in Ankara throughout the year, the city is always lively and the agenda of film lovers is always full! One of these film festivals is the Ankara International Film Festival, which has continued uninterrupted since 1988 and is organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Festival films compete in the categories of short films, feature films, and documentaries. In addition, many innovative and creative projects compete each year at the “National Feature Length Film Project Development Support Contest” that is organized to support young creators and innovative projects of Turkish cinema. Every year, the festival brings together international and Turkish movie stars, young talents, producers, and directors in Ankara and offers the cinephile public a rich film program.
Cinema lovers also have the opportunity to participate in many alternative cinema festivals held in Ankara. Film festivals that shed light on global issues by focusing on different themes are the Flying Broom International Woman’s Films Festival, a bold film festival with a program comprising films shot by female directors, in May; the International Ankara Migration Film Festival, featuring films focusing on migration issues in October; the International Labor Film Festival with a film program that is screened every year on May 1, and the Accessible Film Festival which aims for everybody, including people with disabilities, to have access to watching films under equal conditions.
Ankara’s rich range of film festival alternatives also includes Filmekimi Ankara, the AFSAD International Short Film Festival, and the International Second-Hand Film Festival, which take place annually.
Of course, Ankara's art life is not limited to film and music festivals. The International Ankara Theater Festival, one of the leading festivals of the city, has hosted hundreds of theater companies and plays since 1996. Apart from its rich program, the festival, which opens its curtains every November, includes workshops, panels, and talks with the participation of the public. Supporting both national and international private and amateur theater groups, the festival provides a magnificent festival experience to theater lovers.
The International Flamenco Ankara Festival, one of the first festivals that comes to mind when it comes to dance in Ankara, is a meeting point for Latin dance lovers and dance groups from Türkiye and abroad. Taking place every November since 2007, the festival offers an impassioned program in perfect harmony with the fiery tradition of flamenco.
Other festivals that keep Ankara's art scene alive throughout the year are the Ethos Ankara International Theatre Festival in March; the ODTÜ Theatre Festival in April; the Ankara Comics and Art Festival in May; the International Solo Contemporary Dance Festival in September; the Ankara International Comedy Festival in November, which was the first comedy festival in Türkiye; and the International Ankara Puppet Festival, which hosts puppet artists from many different countries in October.
In Ankara, gastronomy enthusiasts can participate in festivals organized in many different branches of gastronomy from desserts to wine, bread to pickles. The festivals offer participants a delicious day with entertaining activities, competitions, and products exhibited at the stands. The most popular among these festivals are the Ankara Ice Cream and Dessert Festival and the Enfest Street Food Festival in June; the Ankara Coffee Festival in September; the International Çubuk Pickle and Culture Festival in October which showcases the delicious pickles of the Çubuk district; the Ankara Break Fest and the International Bread Festival in November; and the Ankara Taste Festival in February. Wine enthusiasts look forward to the International Kalecik Black Grape Festival in September, and Bir Yudum Üzüm (A Sip of Grape) in March.
The Ankara region, which is known for hosting many ancient Anatolian civilizations, has a very rich cultural history. It comes as no surprise that there are many festivals in the capital that introduce these cultural values to the public.
Festivals that offer a local experience with local foods and products, traditional sports activities, music and dance performances include the International Beypazarı Culture, Tourism and History Festival (Uluslararası Beypazarı Kültür, Turizm ve Tarih Festivali); the Kite Festival, the International Nallıhan Silk Needle Lace Festival of Culture and Art and Commemoration of Tapduk Emre (Uluslararası Nallıhan İpek İğne Oyaları Kültür Sanat ve Tapduk Emre’yi Anma Etkinlikleri); and the Karapürçek Oil Wrestling.
Sporting Events and Festivals
Color Sky 5K Ankara, the Ankara Dragon Festival, and the Mamak Model Aircraft and Aviation Festival held in September are among the sporting activities and festivals that attract attention in Ankara.