Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts organizes most of the festivals in Istanbul. Mostly in warm months there are many festivals that you can join and enjoy in Istanbul.
Nevruz: Locals celebrate Nevruz on 21st of March for a welcome to spring. In Istanbul beside Sultanahmet in Cankurtaran, locals arrange big open air party on this day. It is a typical Ancient Middle Eastern Spring Festival. Locals make a fire in middle and jump over bonfires.
International Istanbul Film Festival: It is held every year in April and venues for this festival are around Istiklal Street in Beyoglu. It is a great non-profit organization for the people who are keen to see the latest Turkish cinema releases and some local film stars. This festival aims to encourage the development of cinema in Turkey and to promote films of quality at the Turkish cinema market.
International Istanbul Theatre Festival: It is held every year on May. In this festival just a few performances are in English. Festival includes in its program the finest examples of classical and experimental theater, dance, physical theatre, music theatre, theatrical concerts. Each year the Theater Festival attracts more than 20.000 audiences.
Orthodox Easter: In Istanbul Fener, there is a big Greek Orthodox community and they celebrate Orthodox Easter. Like all we know; Istanbul has been the centre of the Eastern Christian Church since Constantine moved the Roman capital there in the 4th century. In this sacred Easter Sunday night people come together in the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Istanbul and busloads of people come from Greece for the occasion.
International Istanbul Music Festival: This cultural event is held every June and July in Istanbul.The most exclusive stars, awarded young solists, local and international orchestras of the classical music meet with Istanbul's music lovers in this music festival. Performances take place in a number of stunning venues around Istanbul.
International Istanbul Jazz Festival: This festival usually runs for 2 weeks and it is held every July. Jazz Festival offers a selection of jazz music performances with the participations of famous artists from all over the world. It hosts not only jazz but also rock, pop, blues, reggae and New Age concerts, among others.
Rock’n Coke: It is the largest open air rock music festival, sponsored by Coca Cola. Crowds can hit 50000 during 2 days. At the end of every summer it is held with both national and international performers featured.
Akbank Jazz Festival: It is among the most important activities in modern jazz in Istanbul. This Jazz festival has always a rich program with the participation of worldwide famous performers as well as the most famous names of Turkish jazz.
Efes Pilsen Blues Festival: Turkey’s longest lasting music Festival is held in October or November and runs 2 days. It has been entertaining fans of the blues since 1990. It gives blues lovers unforgettable music experience every year.
The International Istanbul Music Festival offers a program which includes classical music, ballet, opera and traditional music performed by world-class artists in Istanbul. Istanbul concerts show the local audiences great performances of foreign artists and also show the world its own Turkish product. In summer, all concert halls are working full time to provide colorful cultural events and some of them are also held in football stadiums especially in the Ataturk Cultural Center.
Many world famous singers visit Istanbul for concert. Here are some great and famous musicians that have been to Istanbul: Bryan Ferry, Oscar Peterson, Lisa Minnelli, Dave Brubeck, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, John Mclaughlin, Sarah Vaughan, Paco de Lucia, Buena Vista Social Club, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Ivan Lins, Daniela Mercury, Tania Maria, Hermeto Pascoal, Milton Nascimento, Sergio Mendes, Chico Cesar, King Diamond