Like mushrooms, festivals are often found in forests and fields. Like festivals, mushrooms offer us a break from everyday life, the chance to enter a world that celebrates nature, music, and togetherness. It was only so long then, until festivals that celebrate fungi themselves began to sprout up all across the world. 

The Magic of Mushroom Festivals

Some of these festivals celebrate psychedelic mushrooms. Some celebrate nature and foraging, and aim to educate the visitor about the fungal world. Others focus on food and flavors. Most touch on all of these various elements that make up the mycelium-like network of mushroom culture. Each year, more mushroom focused-festivals than ever appear amongst the woodlands. So, without further ado, let’s check out the ones that you should have on your radar, whether you actually attend, or simply admire from afar…

20th Annual McCloud Mushroom Festival

Location: McCloud, California, USA. Dates: 25-26th May 2024

via McCloud Mushroom Festival

California’s McCloud Mushroom Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Held every memorial day weekend, this festival welcomes over 10,000 during the two day event. During the ‘mushroom, music, and wine’ festival, visitors can take part in mushroom foraging workshops, making the most of the wild mushroom season that coincides with this festival. It also boasts over 100 food, artisan, and craft vendors, has a diverse music line-up, and best of all is free to the public. 

MycoFest 2024

Location: State College, Pennsylvania, USA. Dates: 2-4 August 2024.

MycoFest has been a hub for all things shroom for a decade at this point, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The brainchild of William Padilla-Brown, the self-styled multidisciplinary citizen scientist, the festival aims to explore his project, MycoSymbiotics — a system that focuses on research, cultivation, and design relating to mushrooms and algae. The festival itself boasts educational workshops, foraging classes, live music, and much time for fungi-fans to meet and muse over all things mushroom. 

Telluride Mushroom Festival 

Location: Box Canyon, Colorado, USA. Dates: 14-18th August 2024

This festival has been going for 44 years, far before, as the website boasts the “new age mushroom renaissance”, with its founders including the likes of Paul Stamets and Andrew Weil. Over time it has bloomed into the largest gathering of mushroom enthusiasts in North America, a much-adored “weekend of mushroom love, community connection, and fungi everything,” The bursting program includes mycology lectures, guided foraging sessions, and of course, the all important Telluride Mushroom Festival parade, where the local town is quite literally flooded by folks in mushroom themed costumes, with music, dancing, and the appearance of an iconic vehicle dubbed the ‘Amanita-mobile’. This festival, nestled in a Box Canyon in the Rocky Mountains, also has a special focus on psychedelic mushrooms, as one might expect from an event co-founded by Paul Stamets. 😉

Matsutake Festival

Location: Ura, Bumthang, Bhutan. Dates: 23-24 August 2024.

the Matsutake mushroom via Wikimedia Commons

The Matsutake mushroom is a culinary delicacy, prized especially in Japanese cuisine. This festival takes place during the height of its growing season in the magical Ura Valley in Bhutan. Set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, this festival may offer the most picturesque foraging session you could ever dream of. You can sample traditional dishes such as shamu datshi, a warming matsutake mushroom and cheese curry, which sounds like exactly what you’ll need after days of foraging, dancing, singing, and soaking in mineral baths.

Kennett Square Mushroom Festival 

Location: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA. Dates: 7-8th September. 

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, claims to be the “Mushroom Capital of the World”, and honestly, who are we to argue? It does after all provide half of all the mushroom supply to the US, from tasty shiitakes to medicinal maitakes. This festival began 40 years ago, starting as a one day, one block affair, and slowly morphing into a nationally recognised extravaganza, attracting thousands annually. They even have a mascot, a giant mushroom who wanders the festival, appropriately named Fun Gus. This years theme is ‘Growing Strong’, which aims to highlight the growing popularity of mushrooms across the world, and their numerous health benefits. 

Borgotaro Mushroom Fair (Fiera del Fungo di Borgotaro) 

Location: Borgotaro, Parma, Italy. Dates: 16-17th and 23-24th September

This festival takes place over two weekends in September, and is definitely one for the foodies — because y’know, Italy. Established in 1975, it celebrates the famed Borgotaro Porcini mushroom, a delicacy known for its earthy flavor. (Spoiler alert: you won’t find any psychedelic mushrooms here!) During the festival the town comes alive, its cobblestone streets strewn with vendors and performers, while foodies scour the woods for the “precious jewel” of the porcini. 

UK Fungus Day 2024

Location: Various venues across the UK. Date: 5th October

via UK Fungus Day

Established in 2013, this isn’t so much a specific ‘festival’ but rather a countrywide holiday that sparks its own mini-festivals. Falling on the 5th of October this year (prime shroom season in the UK) there are many different ways people celebrate Fungus Day, from foraging, to attending lectures and workshops, to taking part in the British Mycological Society’s photography competition. If you live in the UK and want to take part, simply explore what events are happening in your local area. Or, if there aren’t any — throw your own! As the UK Fungus Day website attests: “Life on Earth would not exist without fungi!”