Festival season is here once again, so our crack team of writers have been chained to their keyboards to make sure you don’t miss a thing. Over the following pages you’ll find listings for all the best fests across the world. We’ll reveal the No.1 festival in the world, as voted for by you! And we catch up with the team behind Southport Weekender as they celebrate 30 years of top-notch parties. So grab your sunnies and glitter (and your wellies just in case), and prepare for the most wonderful time of the year...
Although the UK is now officially on its way out of the EU, we’ll still be making the most of our free movement to enjoy Europe’s delectable selection of fests…
The entire city of Lyon transforms into an electric buzz of creative arts during Nuits Sonores. The day programme is alive with prize selectors chosen by guest curators The Black Madonna, Nina Kraviz and Jon Hopkins, while the night flexes from grime titans to jazz legends.
WHERE: Multiple venues, Lyon, France
WHEN: 23rd - 28th May
PRICE: €26 - €140
HIGHLIGHTS: Air, Stormzy, Jon Hopkins, Helena Hauff, Floating Points, Bambounou
Primavera is renowned for breaking new artists in Spain with acts such as LCD Soundsystem and The xx getting their Spanish break at the week-long, coast-side event. As such, the line-up focuses more on bands and alternative/indie, but there’s a whole stack of innovative electronic masters to warrant a holiday in Barcelona too. Call it a pre-Sónar recce mission.
WHERE: Parc del Forum, Barcelona, Spain
WHEN: 31st May – 4th June
HIGHLIGHTS: Aphex Twin, Henrik Schwarz, Joy Orbison, Tycho, Romare, Dixon, Flying Lotus
WORLD CLUB DOME
Welcome to the ‘largest club in the world’. For three days in June, Frankfurt’s Commerzbank Arena stadium is transformed into an epic 15 stage, 200 DJ playground with roof cover if it rains. Now boasting a new Forest Stage area, all house, techno and EDM tastes are catered for.
WHERE: Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany
WHEN: 2nd - 4th June
PRICE: €69 - €199
HIGHLIGHTS: Deadmau5, Martin Garrix, Jauz, Solomon, Sven Väth, Steve Aoki, Marshmello
New kid on the Spanish festival block founded by renowned crew Moody Collective, Uva claims to be the country’s first boutique festival… With an intimate 500-cap, a connoisseur line-up, all local food and a rural, historic cliffside location that makes your eyes fizz, they could be right.
WHERE: Ronda, Spain
WHEN: 2nd - 4th June
PRICE: €100 - €140
HIGHLIGHTS: Antal, San Proper, Trus’Me, Andrea, Nu Guinea, Moody Collective
WE LOVE GREEN
With a focus firmly fixed on a finer future, We Love Green has become a Parisian institution for forward-thinking citizens who share an interest in sustainable technology and decent music. Over two days camping in the heart of Paris, expect a volcano of enlightenment for the mind, ears and, as it’s France, stomach.
WHERE: Bois De Vincennes, Paris, France
WHEN: 10th - 11th June
HIGHLIGHTS: A Tribe Called Quest, Nicolas Jaar, Moderat, Action Bronson, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Richie Hawtin, Flying Lotus, DJ Koze
Dedicated to music, technology and creativity since 1994, Sonar has always been focused on progress and the innovators behind it. Across its day and night schedules you’ll find showcases from some of the very best across every genre.
WHERE: Barcelona, Spain
WHEN: 15th - 17th June
PRICE: €54 - €310
HIGHLIGHTS: Carl Craig presents Versus Synthesizer Ensemble, Daphni & Hunee, De La Soul, Eric Prydz, Justice, Nicolas Jaar
Iceland's Secret Solstice is genuinely one of a kind. Hosted during its famous midnight sun and home to an array of unique party spaces such as a 5,000-year old lava tunnel, there’s no other festival like it. The line-up backs up the hype, with a strong selection of big names that aren’t on every other bill this summer.
WHERE: Reykjavik, Iceland
WHEN: 16th - 18th June
HIGHLIGHTS: The Prodigy, Chaka Khan, Roots Manuva, Kerri Chandler, Wolf + Lamb
PARADISE CITY FESTIVAL
A private island with a castle, a 100 percent solar powered campsite and recycled landscape, gourmet restaurants, free cardboard tents and an optional butler service. Oh, and some really tasty techno across three stages. This festival really lives up to its name. Take us down…
WHERE: Castle Ribaucourt, Perk, Belgium
WHEN: 23rd - 25th June
PRICE: €48 - €85
HIGHLIGHTS: Robag Wruhme, Âme, Sebastian Mullaert, Acid Pauli, Audion, Jeremy Underground, Ulf Eriksson
A two-day techno feast just west of Amsterdam; Awakenings celebrates 20 years of, well, awakening Dutch dance fans in style this year, as some of the most important names in techno have been recruited to mark the occasion — 110 important names, to be precise.
WHERE: Spaarnwoude Houtrak, The Netherlands
WHEN: 24th - 25th June
PRICE: €45 - €95
HIGHLIGHTS: Ricardo Villalobos, Maceo Plex, Chris Liebing, Joseph Capriati, Dave Clarke, Tale Of Us, Loco Dice, Floorplan
From the makers of such blockbusters as Sziget, we head deep into Hungary to Lake Balaton for a five-day electronic knees-up. Nothing but the biggest names are playing at this beautiful beach location. This year, boat parties feature hosts like Sasha, Art Department and Max Cooper.
WHERE: Lake Balaton, Hungary
WHEN: 5th - 9th July
HIGHLIGHTS: Dave Clarke, Sasha, Max Cooper, Noisia, Section Boyz, Zeds Dead, Erick Morillo
A ‘must-do’ for any self-discerning festival connoisseur; everything about Exit is unique, from its political roots to its fortress location, to its sheer 16-stage scale. With a rich musical range, and a rave that doesn’t wind down until sun-up, Exit always delivers.
WHERE: Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia
WHEN: 6th - 9th July
PRICE: £27 - £109
HIGHLIGHTS: Faithless (DJ set), Paul Kalkbrenner, Duke Dumont, Foreign Beggars, Black Coffee, Hardwell, Solomun b2b Dixon
Its legend galvanised by the instantly recognisable ‘shed’ shots, and praise from the legends who’ve played there, Kappa FuturFestival has exploded in just six years. No bells, whistles or gimmicks here; just two days of the finest house and techno. Enough said.
WHERE: Parco Dora, Turin, Italy
WHEN: 8th - 9th July
PRICE: €45 - €60
HIGHLIGHTS: Masters At Work, Fatboy Slim, Nina Kraviz, Carl Cox, Marcel Dettmann, Jackmaster
MELT! is a German festival institution. Set in the old coal mine site of Ferropolis, you can rave under the romantic, post-industrial shadow of towering diggers and cranes to a forward-thinking music policy that’s extra fat this year as the event celebrates its 20th anniversary.
WHERE: Ferropolis, Germany
WHEN: 14th - 16th July
HIGHLIGHTS: Bonobo (live), Bicep, Sampha, Egyptian Lover, Ellen Allien, Daniel Avery
At a whole month long, you could be forgiven for expecting Gem Festival to really break the bank. Thankfully you’d be wrong. At just €152 for a ticket, €20 per day for accommodation and around €2 for a beer, it’s a winner in our book. And that’s before we even get to the line-up...
WHERE: Anaklia, Georgia
WHEN: 14th July - 14th August
HIGHLIGHTS: Honey Dijon, The Drifter, Axwell & Ingrosso, Dubfi re, Martin Garrix, Martin Buttrich
A festival of insane proportions, Tomorrowland is so big it’s now two weekends, boasts 69 arena hosts, over 1,000 artists, and DJs who would usually only play late at night open the event — Carl Cox midday set anyone? Alas, it’s so big it sold out within 64 minutes.
WHERE: De Schorre, Boom, Belgium
WHEN: 21st - 23rd / 28th - 30th July
PRICE: SOLD OUT
HIGHLIGHTS: Netsky, Martin Garrix, Ben Klock, Booka Shade, Kerri Chandler, Maya Jane Coles
Now flexing an extra day to celebrate ten years, Amsterdam’s premier culture hurricane Dekmantel continues to be one of the most innovative and extensive arts festivals in Europe, with lectures, workshops and raves. Day tickets are already sold out.
WHERE: Amsterdam Bos/Multiple venues,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
WHEN: 2nd - 6th August
PRICE: SOLD OUT / Single concerts from €12.50
HIGHLIGHTS: Steve Reich, Jeff Mills & Tony Allen, Arca, Ben UFO, Nathan Fake, Joy Orbison, Omar S, Sun Ra, Karenn (live), Helena Hauff
LET IT ROLL
The longest-running all-drum & bass festival, Czech Republic’s Let It Roll gets bigger and more audacious with its production every year. With a spaceship mainstage, an eye-melting opening ceremony and a line-up that represents all colours of the jungle rainbow, this year’s label arena hosts include Hospital, Ram, Shogun, Eatbrain, Symmetry, Dispatch and Critical.
WHERE: Milovice Airfield, Prague, Czech Republic
WHEN: 3rd - 5th August
HIGHLIGHTS: Andy C, Camo & Krooked, Netsky, Delta Heavy, Hype b2b Hazard, Icicle, Dimension, Current Value
AKA: The Art Of Techno Exhibition. Neopop is a celebration of electronica in all its nascent and innovative forms as it welcomes generations of top-notch acts to perform across two stages in its grand fort-side location in North Portugal. From DJ Bone to Dixon by way of Kraftwerk 3D, Neopop continues to represent the true craft.
WHERE: Forte de Santiago da Barra, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
WHEN: 3rd - 5th August
HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Liebing, DJ Stringray, Dax J, Helena Hauff, Jane Fitz, Dr Rubinstein, Moderat (live), Maceo Plex, Paula Temple, Planetary Assault Systems (live)
Get OFF on this beauty… A cosy lakeside retreat due west of Krakow, OFF has been in operation since 2006 and consistently maintained a size and left-of-centre remit that relishes in the indie fringes. Home to a series of talks and workshops, plus some premium techno, hip-hop, rock and electronica, OFF is most definitely ON.
WHERE: Katowice, Poland
WHEN: 4th - 6th August
HIGHLIGHTS: Talib Kweli, Jessy Lanza, The Black Madonna, Swans, PJ Harvey, Circuit Des Yeux, Carla Bozulich, Daniel Johnston
WAY OUT WEST
Gothenburg's gift. Way Out West is more than just a three-day appreciation of great music in a park in the centre of Sweden’s hipster capital; as the festival winds down at night, the clubs wind up for Stay Out West, a series of parties hosted by Diplo, Shake070 and many more.
WHERE: Slottsskogen Park, Gothenburg, Sweden
WHEN: 10th - 12th August
HIGHLIGHTS: Frank Ocean, Danny Brown, Major Lazer, The xx, Chance The Rapper, Fatima Yamaha
A brand new two-day party in the idyllic grounds of a 13th century Bavarian castle, limited to 700 people with full focus on discerning house, disco and techno and fine food and artistic direction from DJ Tennis. This almost sounds too good to be true. Get on board; if Farrago smashes it this year, it will only get bigger.
WHERE: Schweppermannsburg, Bavaria, Germany
WHEN: 18th - 19th August
HIGHLIGHTS: Isolée (live), Mano Le Tough, DJ Tennis, John Talabot, Optimo, Honey Dijon
Established in 1993, Mysteryland is officially the world’s longest running dance festival, so they know their way around a line-up or two. This year is no exception, as over 340 acts play on stages hosted by the likes of Dave Clarke, Cocoon, Ram Records, Hospitality, Mad Decent and the perennial vibe merchants Elrow. It’s no mystery why this festival has remained a fave for so long.
WHERE: Haarlemermeer, The Netherlands
WHEN: 26th - 27th August
HIGHLIGHTS: Deadmau5, Oliver Heldens, Above & Beyond, Miss Kittin, Eats Everything, Dave Clarke, Andy C, Camo & Krooked
All aboard! The Ark is a unique four-day sonic voyage across the seven seas (well, the Med) on a massive cruise liner that’s also home to a two Michelin Star restaurant, a rock climbing wall, cinemas and even its own shopping mall. Not that you’ll have any time for that type of caper; the line-up is stacked!
WHERE: Barcelona, Spain – Marseilles, France – Ibiza
WHEN: August 31 – September 3
HIGHLIGHTS: 2ManyDJs, Boys Noize, Cassius, Roger Sanchez, Stephan Bodzin, Masters At Work, Henrik Schwarz, KiNK, Chris Liebing
An essential date on the calendar for the d&b community, SUNANDBASS has been a scene tradition since 2003. Over eight days, the town of San Teodoro plays host to some of the vibiest drum & bass parties all year. Serious dubs are taken, big tunes get broken, progress is made.
WHERE: San Teodoro, Sardinia, Italy
WHEN: 2nd - 9th September
HIGHLIGHTS: Line-up TBA