The XP Guide: May 2024

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Now that Mercury Retrograde is over and the stars are back on our side, the weather had better be in good spirits as well, because May’s calendar is packed with festivals, sporting events and culinary experiences designed to take us outside. As long as the pollen holds off and the devastating heat waits until summer, expect to spend the merry, merry month of May basking in the sunshine, starting with a celebratory Cinco de Mayo patio margarita.

Keep reading for experiential inspiration from the biggest happenings this month — and check out how XP Land XLISTERS are involved in everything from Kansas’ Kelce Jam to Outstanding in the Field’s West Coast residency.


C2 Sky Lab. Photo courtesy Sebastian Roy

XP Fronts at C2MTL: May 21-23; Montréal, QC

We’re starting off strong: the XP Fronts are coming to C2 Montréal May 21-23. From riveting talks by visionary experiential thinkers to unparalleled learning opportunities from the best in the biz, the XP Fronts are a springboard into the future of experiential, set against the backdrop of vibrant Montréal in full bloom. A lineup of stories and speakers (including XLISTERS like Abbey Londer, Debi Wong and Emilie Baltz, among others) will point to the future of our industry, including curated conversations with XP Fronts Ringleaders and connection with other XP pros.

The three-day creative business conference was founded by Sid Lee and Cirque du Soleil in 2012. This year, C2MTL, with XLISTER Nico Fonseca at the helm as creative director, takes over the Old Port’s Grand Quay, highlighting innovative trends springing from the convergence of commerce and creativity. Passes are still available — get yours here.


Photo courtesy Outstanding in the Field

Outstanding in the Field 2024: May 18-26; Various California locations

Artist and XLISTER Jim Denevan founded the unique dining series “Outstanding in the Field” in 1999, and it has since become a must-experience event for adventurous food enthusiasts worldwide. The transformative series emphasizes a table-to-farm connection, with meals enjoyed at communal tables — potentially turning strangers into lifelong friends. The 2024 season starts in California before heading up the Pacific coast, featuring events at various notable locations throughout May, including a mountaintop in Malibu and Stolo Vineyards in Cambria.


Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images

Netflix Is a Joke Festival: May 2-12; Los Angeles

Netflix Is a Joke Fest, the largest comedy festival in North America, returns this month with over 400 live stand-up shows and special events across 35 venues in Los Angeles. Featuring a star-studded lineup including Chris Rock, Ali Wong, Kevin Hart and David Letterman, the festival comprises 12 days of diverse comedic performances, from the outrageous to the surreal. Produced by Netflix — including Festival Director, Executive Producer of Live Events and XLISTER Abbey Londer — in collaboration with Live Nation, the festival showcases the world’s best comedians and artists, taking over iconic landmarks and historic comedy venues throughout LA.

Kelce Jam: May 18; Bonner Springs, KS

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s Kelce Jam music festival is returning after a successful event last year, including a memorable performance with Machine Gun Kelly. The festival — sponsored by Jim Beam and produced by XLISTERS Adam Richman and Joe Silberzweig of Medium Rare — celebrates Kelce’s third Super Bowl win with the Chiefs. This year’s lineup includes Lil Wayne, Diplo and 2Chainz (no, Taylor Swift’s not on the schedule… yet), plus local restaurant pop-ups, interactive activations, and a livestream for fans unable to attend in person.

BottleRock 2024: May 24-26; Napa, CA

Set in the heart of Napa, BottleRock Festival combines three days of live music, wine and food, with performances by world-class musicians and chefs across three music stages and a culinary stage. XLISTER Dave Graham, CEO and co-founder of Latitude 38 Entertainment, revived the event after a financially shaky start in 2013. This year’s music lineup features Stevie Nicks, Pearl Jam, Ed Sheeran, Megan Thee Stallion, Maná and Queens of the Stone Age, enhancing the festival experience alongside local wineries and restaurants. Plus, the festival extends its reach with AfterDark concerts from May 22-27 across the Bay Area, featuring artists like Norah Jones and St. Vincent.

Spoleto Festival USA: May 24 to June 9; Charleston, SC

This year’s Spoleto Festival USA will feature over 100 live performances — including dance, theater, opera and concerts — in historic venues across Charleston. The lineup showcases significant talents like Yo-Yo Ma and Jason Isbell but has scaled back on opera, presenting only one chamber piece. Maintaining its reputation as a major cultural gathering in the Southeast, the festival also incorporates a chamber music series hosted by cellist Paul Wiancko, diverse jazz performances including artists like Dianne Reeves, and multiple classical concerts with the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra.


Photo courtesy @spaceexplorers.theinfinite on Instagram

Space Explorers: The Infinite: Opens May 3; Houston

XLISTERS Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael’s immersive VR experience Space Explorers: The Infinite is set to transport its Houston visitors to the International Space Station. Using VR headsets, visitors can take a virtual walk through the ISS and engage with astronauts throughout the station. To build this out-of-this-world experience, Felix & Paul partnered with NASA to create 3D cameras capable of operating in space, then shot all angles of the space station and 12 astronauts on six separate NASA missions. The footage collection took over three years, resulting in enough 3D video that the visitor feels like they are truly in the space station as they walk around the 10,000-square-foot open room.


Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagi

Met Gala: May 6; NYC

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2024 Met Gala will showcase the Costume Institute’s new exhibition, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” featuring a collection of about 250 rare and historical fashion items. Expect the gala’s theme, “The Garden of Time” — inspired by J.G. Ballard’s short story — to bring an array of floral and botanical ensembles to the red carpet. The event will be co-hosted by Zendaya, Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny and Chris Hemsworth. The Met Gala serves as a fundraiser for the museum’s Costume Institute, culminating in one of the most exclusive parties of the year. It includes a tour of the exhibition and a sit-down dinner, all under Anna Wintour’s strict no-phone policy.


Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Miami Grand Prix: May 3-5; Miami

The Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix promises an action-packed weekend of practice, qualifying and race events, along with a new F1 Sprint race and the all-female F1 Academy debut. Off-track, the Grand Prix week in Miami will be bustling with events including luxury car auctions, upscale club performances, and various pop-ups around the city. Highlights include high-end dining experiences like Carbone Beach and the Once Upon a Kitchen dinner, featuring globally renowned chefs and immersive dining environments. 

Kentucky Derby: May 4; Louisville, KY

The 150th annual Kentucky Derby is set to take place at Churchill Downs this weekend, making it the longest continuously held sporting event in the US. Twenty horses will compete this year for a record $5 million purse, with Fierceness the favored contender (5-2 odds) in this first leg of racing’s Triple Crown. Alongside the main event, the day will offer a full schedule of 14 races, plus a sea of mint juleps, pastel suits and grand hats. Louisville is buzzing with events all week, including the Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Eve Gala on May 3, featuring celebrities like Jack Harlow and Peyton Manning, raising funds for diabetes research.

Indy 500: May 26; Indianapolis, IN

Held at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this year’s Indianapolis 500 will see 33 IndyCar drivers competing over 200 laps in the race famous for its competitive nature and unpredictable outcomes. This year, drivers Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward and Josef Newgarden lead the betting odds. Kyle Larson, a popular NASCAR driver, will attempt the challenging Memorial Day “Double,” participating in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

French Open: May 20 to June 9; Paris

The 2024 French Open marks the second Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year (after January’s Australian Open), featuring men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles, as well as junior and wheelchair categories on its clay courts. Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Iga Świątek will return to contend in a field that includes 128 players in each main singles draw. Despite facing ongoing injuries and limited recent tournament play, Rafael Nadal — renowned for his resilience and a record 14 French Open titles — is determined to compete at Roland-Garros this year, potentially marking a final highlight in his illustrious career.


Photo courtesy Dartmouth College

Wisconsin Wrights New Play Festival: May 16-18; Madison

From Artistic Director and XLISTER Jennifer Uphoff Gray, Forward Theater Company’s Wisconsin Wrights Festival promotes new plays by Wisconsin playwrights, utilizing an extensive feedback process that leads to development sessions with professionals. This development culminates in public readings, each night dedicated to a different play, to provide focused exposure. The 2024 lineup — including Thomas Campbell’s dark comedy The Flying Corpse, Amy Quan Barry’s quirky drama The Other Side, and Lila Hovey’s queer historical dramedy Anatomical Hearts, — explores everything from familial legacy to personal identity.

Join us in XP Land. A community for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all of those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.

Welcome To
Experiential Is Everything

XP Land is for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders, and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.