What different kinds of festival are to be found on the ever-expanding international circuit? What companies are invited or gatecrash the events? What is the role of festivals and festival-going in a global theatrical economy? In this article Murray Edmond describes three festivals which he attended in Poland in the summer of 2007 – the exemplary Malta Festival, held in Poznan; the Warsaw Festival of Street Performance; and the Brave Festival (‘Against Cultural Exile’) in Wroclaw – and through an analysis of specific events and productions suggests ways of distinguishing and assessing their aims, success, and role in what Barthes called the ‘special time’ which festivals have occupied since the Ancient Greeks dedicated such an occasion to Dionysus. Murray Edmond is Associate Professor of Drama at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His recent publications include Noh Business (Berkeley: Atelos Press, 2005), a study, via essay, diary, and five short plays, of the influence of Noh theatre on the Western avant-garde, and articles in Contemporary Theatre Review (2006), Australasian Drama Studies (April 2007), and Performing Aotearoa: New Zealand Theatre and Drama in an Age of Transition (2007). He works professionally as a dramaturge, notably for Indian Ink Theatre Company, and has also published ten volumes of poetry, of which the most recent is Fool Moon (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2004).