BEST FESTIVALS IN ALBANIA
Boutique festival in Albania
Could Albania be the next hot festival destination? The folks behind Kala clearly think so. The second edition of this boutique festival trumpets its intimacy and exclusivity – only 2,000 people can attend (but don't worry, this isn't some Fyre Festival sitch). Dance on an array of private beaches, explore the Albanian Riviera or do yoga on the beach. The ticket price is fixed, but the cost of accommodation varies – book via the festival website.
Line-up includes Inner City, Jordan Rakei, Hercules & Love Affair, Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin, Hunee, Derrick May, Theo Parrish.
Dhërmi, Albania. Jun 12-19. £179.
BEST FESTIVALS IN BELGIUM
Belgian biggie with four days of the biggest rock acts around
If you're a fan of Reading & Leeds festival, then this four-day party across the channel could be the one for you. The headliners (P!nk, Tool, The Cure, Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine and Muse) speak for themselves, while the undercard is packed full of gems.
Line-up includes P!nk, Tool, The Cure, Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine, Muse, Kylie, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, New Order.
Werchter, Belgium. Jun 27-30. €105 (day), €243 (weekend).
Big sounds in a small Belgian town
Don’t worry about the name: Dour is anything but. For a festival you’ve probably never heard of, the five-day event boasts a super varied and name-stuffed line-up ranging from indie bands to hip-hop stars, plus a tasty selection of DJs to keep you going after dark. The beer’s not bad either.
Line-up includes A$AP Rocky, Disclosure (DJ set), Damso, Skepta, IAMDBB, Kaytranada, Andy C, BATTLES, Bicep (DJ set), GoGo Penguin, The Internet.
Dour, Belgium. Jul 10-14. €170 (camping), €75 (day).
A firm fave for indie fans
This sweet treat has been delighting festivalgoers since 1985 with scores of alternative rock and pop acts and, of course, knock-out Belgian beer. It’s a doddle to get to, with the closest station (Kiewit) within walking distance and your train fare from Brussels included in the price of your ticket.
Line-up includes Stormzy, Royal Blood, Tame Impala, Billie Eilish, Twenty One Pilots.
Hasselt, Belgium. Aug 15-18. €205 (full festival), €100 (one day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN BULGARIA
Four days in the clouds
This magical, mountainside marvel – which takes place a whole 850m above sea level – is less about the big-name headliners than the breathtaking views. Amid this backdrop, revellers can partake in yoga, mingle with the villagers, witness sunrise DJ sets and more. Plus, it ends the way all festivals should: with a pool party in a spa.
Line-up includes Bradley Zero, Rafael Da Cruz, Ishmael, Eddie C, Andrew James Gustav.
Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria. Jun 6-9. €140.
BEST FESTIVALS IN CROATIA
A Croatian banger in the dance fest calendar
Before SuncéBeat sets up at Tisno’s beautiful Garden Resort a the end of July, Love International gets a look-in. They’ve got a powerful line-up of house, disco and techno planned, with the finest selectors playing on boats and open-air stages.
Line-up includes Ben UFO, Andrew Weatherall, DJ Harvey, DMX Krew (live), Horse Meat Disco, Joy Orbison, Peggy Gou, Prosumer, Roman Flügel.
Tisno, Murter Island, Croatia. Jul 3-10. €150 (all week), €50 (one day).
London’s drum ’n’ bass scene on its hols
Tisno is a popular place in the summer months, with a wave of great dance festivals washing up on its beaches. This gem comes courtesy of south London drum ’n’ bass label Hospitality Records, who is returning for its second bash on the Croatian coast.
Line-up includes Andy C, Noisia, High Contrast, DJ Marky, Mefjus, Friction, S.P.Y, DJ Zinc, DBRIDGE.
Tisno, Murter Island, Croatia. Jul 11-15. £159.
A sun-fuelled DJ fest organised by the Southport Weekender folk
This week-long holiday on the Dalmatian coast is all about celebrating the best in house, disco, techno, soul, R&B and funk. It’s heading back to Tisno’s Garden Resort for its tenth edition, which is like a swankier, sunnier Butlins, and the gigs are held all over the place: on boats, on the beach and amongst the trees.
Line-up includes Kerri Chandler, David Morales, Mr G (DJ set), The Black Madonna, Kenny Dope, Joey Negro, Gilles Peterson, Soul Clap, Mr Scruff.
Tisno, Murter Island, Croatia. Jul 24-31. £185 (week), £160 (long weekend).
Electronic music in an evocative location
Set in the 200-year old abandoned fort for the last time this year, Dimensions festival provides revellers with four days of top-notch techno, soulful house and drum ’n’ bass. There’s so much to explore at this end-of-season fest, with beach, forest, boat and amphitheatre parties.
Line-up includes Anderson .Paak, Tony Allen & Jeff Mills (live), Objekt (live), Craig Richards, DāM-FunK (live), Gilles Peterson, Hessle Audio, Hunee, Peggy Gou.
Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia. Aug 28-Sep 1. £120.
Feel the bass on the Adriatic coast
It's the last time you'll be able to groove for four days and nights dedicated to all things bass at this festival in an abandoned fort in Croatia, with Outlook moving in 2020. Expect beach parties, boat parties and a massive rave-up in a 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre. The line-up is varied, and features stars of hip hop, underground dance, grime, drum ’n’ bass, and garage across ten stages.
Line-up includes Andy C, Loyle Carner, Bugzy Malone, Goldie (live), Ghetts.
Pula, Croatia. Sep 4-9. £135.
BEST FESTIVALS IN DENMARK
Good fun for a good cause with some of the biggest names in music
Roskilde makes for a very worthy alternative to Glastonbury. This eight-day romp is totally non-profit and always bags major names in pop, rock, rap and dance to help them raise thousands of kroner every year for charity. There are also exhibitions, skate ramps, a swimming lake, DIY area and a ‘food jam’ where you can cobble together your own delicious concoction.
Line-up includes The Cure, Travis Scott, Cardi B, Mø, Robyn, Christine and the Queens, Jorja Smith, Jon Hopkins, Jungle, Khruangbin, Parquet Courts, Tirzah.
Roskilde, Denmark. Jun 29-Jul 6. 2,100 DKK (full festival), 1,050 DKK (one day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN FINLAND
An eco-friendly festival in the middle of Helsinki
As well as nine music stages, a vinyl market and a cinema bar, Flow has an enthusiastic commitment to the planet. It has a zero carbon footprint, uses 100% reused materials and solely green electricity. Impressive stuff.
Line-up includes Cardi B, Earl Sweatshirt, Tame Impala, Robyn, The Cure, Father John Misty, Tove Lo, Modeselektor (live), Blood Orange, Pond, Neneh Cherry, Slowthai.
Helsinki, Finland. Aug 9-11. €205 (three days), €165 (two days), €105 (one day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN FRANCE
A massive eco-friendly weekender in Paris
If the name wasn’t enough of a hint, We Love Green are pretty set on helping the planet. So there are environmentally friendly initiatives everywhere, like cheaper beer when you recycle your cup and compostable toilets. Around the site, there’s a debate stage and art installations. Plus, Paris city centre is merely a walk away.
Line-up includes Christine and the Queens, Tame Impala, FKA Twigs, Future, Metronomy.
Bois de Vincennes, Paris. Jun 1-2. €109 (two days), €59 (day).
Get lost in the techno and the lush French countryside
What started as a house party that got slightly out of hand has now turned into a four-day techno-fuelled party atop a hill in south western France. Now in its fifth year, Monticule includes a host of international and local DJs, while there are a range of workshops to take part in when not partying.
Line-up includes Blawan, Simo Cell, Zenker Brothers, Low Jack, Judaah.
Domaine De Gayfié, France. Jun 19-23. €120.
Gilles Peterson brings beats to the south of France
A fan of Gilles Peterson’s radio show? This festival brings it to life, with seven days and nights of expertly curated music. An eclectic line-up of electronica, jazz, world music and dance is served up on the beach in the daytime and at their cliff-top amphitheatre, Théâtre de la Mer, come nightfall. This year, the festival runs for an extra day – making it eight in total – although there won't be any shows on July 1.
Line-up includes Swindle (live), DJ Koze, The Comet is Coming, Kamaal Williams, Steve Spacek, Mr Scruff, Peggy Gou, Boogarins (live).
Sète, France. 28 Jun-6 Jul. €260 (full festival), €40 (one day).
Paris’s answer to Glastonbury
With a stunning sixteenth-century park for a setting and a riverside backdrop, this three-day festival, usually billed as France’s answer to Glasto, is a pretty dreamy set-up. Its prestige is proved year-on-year by attracting a stellar set of acts to rival any line-up on this side of the Channel. Plus, the food is a festival’s answer to Le Cordon Bleu.
Line-up includes The Cure, Major Lazer, Aphex Twin, Jorja Smith, Jungle, Foals, Royal Blood, Bring Me The Horizon, Johnny Marr.
The Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Paris. Aug 23-25. €159 (three day), €115 (two day), €69 (day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN GERMANY
Three days of rock, pop and dance with ‘Mad Max’ vibes
This German giant of the festival calendar bridges the worlds of rock and dance in an old industrial museum, so as well as the acts, there’ll be huge steam-punk pieces of machinery towering above.
Line-up includes Bon Iver, A$AP Rocky, Jorja Smith, Skepta, Four Tet, Modeselektor (live), Bonobo (DJ set), The Black Madonna, Maribou State (live), Ross From Friends (live), Slowthai.
Ferropolis, Gräfenhainichen, Germany. Jul 19-21. €139 (weekend), €69 (day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN HUNGARY
A blow-out in Budapest
With whopping international acts packed into a full seven days, this monster festival delivers if you’re after familiar headliners, but offers plenty of time to explore less familiar acts further down the bill too. You party and camp on Old Buda, an actual island in the Danube, meaning that although Sziget is technically a city fest, you’ll feel a world away from real life.
Line-up includes Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Florence + The Machine, Jungle, IDLES, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Post Malone, Franz Ferdinand, James Blake, Years & Years, IAMDBB.
Budapest, Hungary. Aug 7-13. €329 (seven days), €289 (five days), €209 (three days), €75 (day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN ICELAND
One of the many relatives in the Sónar family
Originally founded in sunny Barcelona, Sónar now travels the world each year. Reykjavik has been a point of call since 2013, offering an eclectic mix of acts over three days in a huge glass beehive, also known as the Harpa Concert Hall. This year sees the addition of an extra day, and the chance to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Line-up includes Richie Hawtin, Jon Hopkins, Little Simz, Objekt, Little Dragon, Orbital, Avalon Emerson.
Reykjavik, Iceland. Apr 25-27. €129.
Inner-city celebrations for the summer solstice
Secret Solstice welcomes big-name artists, a bumper line-up of DJs and experimental electronic bands who’ll give you more than enough to go on until the sun (eventually) goes down.
Line-up includes Robert Plant and the Sensational Spaceshifters, Martin Garrix, Rita Ora, Foreign Beggars, Pussy Riot, Mr G, MK.
Reykjavik, Iceland. Jun 21-23. 15,999kr (full weekend), 10,999kr (one day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN ITALY
Fine wine, fantastic food and some of the best deep house around
A few days in Tuscany sampling all the region has to offer when it comes to food and drink sounds a lovely way to spend a long-weekend in May. Throw in music by Dan Shake, Chaos in the CBD and CC:Disco! and this might just be the best way to spend a blissed-out three days.
Line-up includes Dan Shake, Chaos in the CBD, CC:Disco!, Laurence Guy, Bosconi Soundsystem, Dukwa.
Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. May 16-18. €100 (weekend).
Techno in a post-industrial park in Turin
Wavy garms and bucket hats are not a requirement: an appetite for raving hard is. Known for crafting top-tier techno and house line-ups, this weekend festival has more than 30 DJs and acts on the bill for 2019. Futur Festival takes place in a former car factory turned city park in the heart of Turin: basically, it’s a massive urban party in a huge industrial hangar.
Line-up includes Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Jamie Jones, Boys Noize, Vitalic, Peggy Gou, Charlotte de Witte.
Turin, Italy. Jul 6-7. €65 (two days), €45 (one day).
Intimate drum ’n’ bass parties in Sardinia
Putting the breaks into, er, your summer break, this festival on the Italian island of Sardinia delivers eight whole days of drum ’n’ bass, in pleasingly small parties around the town of San Teodoro. And it’s not just raving: a chilled vibe, white sandy beaches, and brilliant Italian food and drink make it a relaxed holiday as much as a mad sesh.
Line-up includes TBC.
San Teodoro, Sardinia. Sep 7-14. £TBC
BEST FESTIVALS IN MALTA
One very cool host, all her DJ mates and a shedload of ravers on an island
This queen of the mash-up leads her loyal subjects to the Maltese coast for some fun in the Mediterranean sun. AMP parties are legendary for their outstanding line-ups and Lost & Found does not disappoint. Expect to see the best house, techno, grime and bass DJs at castle raves, pool parties, in boats and on the three nighttime stages.
Line-up includes Annie Mac, The Black Madonna, Chase & Status (DJ set), Artwork B2B Horse Meat Disco, Bugzy Malone, Peggy Gou, Shy FX, Skream, Toddla T.
St Paul’s Bay, Malta. May 2-5. £129.
BEST FESTIVALS IN MOROCCO
BEST FESTIVALS IN THE NETHERLANDS
Magical Dutch dance party
For one day only, Mystic Garden sees Amsterdam’s Sloterpark transformed into a psychedelic playground for house and techno fans. Expect to see DJs playing next to giant toadstools, costumed performers cavorting in the woods, and fairy wings on the dance floor. Organic food stalls are on hand to fuel the grooving.
Line-up includes Boris Werner, Cliff De Zoete, Industrialyzer (live), Benny Rodrigues, Dispar Vulgo.
Amsterdam, Holland. Jun 15. €49.50.
Quality electronic music in the woods
Delve deep into the woods in the outskirts of Amsterdam for three days of non-stop vibing with DJs big and small. Then once the day bits are done, head into the capital for a series of club nights specially laid-on.
Line-up includes Andrew Weatherall, Ben UFO & Blawan, John Talabot, Jon Hopkins (DJ set), Kamaal Williams, Pharoah Sanders Quartet, Róisín Murphy, The Comet is Coming, Yussef Dayes.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Jul 31-Aug 4. €61 (day). Weekend tickets are sold out.
An eclectic treat just across the North Sea
You might be surprised by some of the music on offer at this Dutch staple. Sure, there will be some far-out grooves and a solo or two, but you can expect hip hop, R&B and some legendary performers from the world of pop.
Line-up includes Burt Bacharach, Janelle Monáe, Rag'n'Bone Man, The Internet, Jamie Cullum, Toto, Chance the Rapper, Kamasi Washington, Ms Lauryn Hill.
Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Jul 12-14. €300.
BEST FESTIVALS IN NORWAY
An environmentally friendly romp in a city park
Join the 18,000-strong crowd gathering near Oslo’s city centre for Øya’s stellar rock, hip hop and pop line-up. The long-running festival is held in the massive Tøyen Park (think east London’s Vicky Park vibes), which is as green as the promoters’ dedication to helping the environment.
Line-up includes The Cure, Robyn, Karpe, Tame Impala, Sigrid, James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt, Tirzah, Rex Orange County, Ezra Collective, IDLES, Pond, Slowthai.
Tøyenparken, Oslo, Norway. Aug 6-10. £277.57 (weekend), £98.10 (day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN POLAND
Techno party in a fort on the outskirts of Warsaw
Festivals in eastern Europe always seem to have a bit more of an industrial edge to them than their western European cousins, and the second edition of Instytut really lives up to the stereotype. Three stages are housed inside a garrison's walls, and the music will be pounding from sunset to sunrise.
Line-up includes Ben Klock, John Talabot, Maceo Plex, Richie Hawtin, Donato Dozzy, Paula Temple.
Modlin Garrison, Warsaw, Poland. Jun 21-22. 300zł (two days), 200zł (one day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN PORTUGAL
Primavera’s more relaxed little sister
The lush Parque da Cidade in Portugal’s dramatic second city hosts this mini Primavera, with a reduced line-up, smaller crowd and more laid-back atmosphere. The tickets are cheaper to boot, and the city’s bounty of port only sweetens the deal.
Line-up includes Solange, Stereolab, Interpol, Erykah Badu, Nina Kraviz, Jarvis Cocker, Danny Brown, James Blake, Mura Masa, Jorge Ben Jor, Modeselektor (live).
Porto, Portugal. Jun 6-8. €141 (weekend), €66 (day).
Three days of music on the beach
Just a short train ride west of Lisbon will land you on the exceptional beaches of Algés, where NOS Alive is held. Here, a whole bunch of genre-straddling acts vie for your attention, from big-name artists to local faves.
Line-up includes The Cure, Vampire Weekend, The Smashing Pumpkins, Bon Iver, Jorja Smith, Hot Chip, The Chemical Brothers, Thom Yorke, Weezer, Robyn, IDLES.
Passeio Marítimo de Algés, Portugal. Jul 11-13. €139.77 (weekend), €60.98 (day).
Heavyweight techno party in Portugal
Taking over the coastal town of Viana do Castelo, Neopop – formerly called Antipop, though actually nothing to do with pop music at all – is comparatively little-known in the UK. But with a stellar line-up, and an extra day of partying for 2019, it ought to be on the radar for any serious techno fan. Expect to lose track of time: sets run way past dawn.
Line-up includes Underworld, Richie Hawtin, Amelie Lens, Ben Klock, Maceo Plex, John Digweed.
Viana do Castelo, Portugal. Aug 7-10. €85.
A Portuguese offering from the Soundcrash crew
A converted factory in the old docks of Lisbon forms the labyrinthine backdrop for Nova Batida. Last year was its debut event and it's fair to say that it will live long in the memory. The people behind it are also responsible for Soundcrash events and Soundwave in Croatia, among other shindigs, so you’re in safe hands. The 2019 line-up is just as epic as last year’s, with Nubya Garcia, Ibibio Sound Machine and Floating Points all on the bill.
Line-up includes Four Tet, Friendly Fires, Jon Hopkins (DJ set), Octavian, Slowthai, Floating Points (solo live), Daniel Avery, Ibibio Sound Machine, Nubya Garcia, Theon Cross.
Lisbon, Portugal. Sep 13-15. £99.
BEST FESTIVALS IN SERBIA
Rave on the River Danube
The vast Petrovaradin fortress plays host to four nights of music on the banks on the Danube. The line-up skews more towards more towards electronic music than rock, although more acts are yet to be announced. With ten stages and big crowds, expect to party long, and to party hard.
Line-up includes The Cure, Carl Cox, Paul Kalkbrenner, Greta Van Fleet, Tom Walker, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Jeff Mills, Charlotte De Witte, Maceo Plex.
Novi Sad, Serbia. Jul 4-7. From £59. £27 supplement to camp.
BEST FESTIVALS IN SPAIN
One of the best city festivals out there
Well known for its eclectic line-ups, Primavera dodges the regular big acts in favour of cult heroes, independent music and a healthy number of local acts. Alternative rock, hip hop and experimental dance music all get a fair showing for a very reasonable ticket price.
Line-up includes Cardi B, Erykah Badu, Solange, Interpol, J Balvin, Future, Janelle Monáe, James Blake, Robyn.
Barcelona, Spain. May 30-Jun 1. €195 (full festival), €100 (day).
Electronic music and digital culture in the heart of Barcelona
For three days every June, over 100,000 people flock to Barcelona as Sónar takes over venues across the city. Expect a long weekend of cutting-edge dance music, a digital creative conference for industry insiders, and night-long parties for Sónar by Night.
Line-up includes A$AP Rocky, Andy C, Artwork, Daniel Avery, Daphni, Disclosure (DJ set), DJ Koze, Erol Alkan, Floating Points, Four Tet, Kaytranada, Skepta, Underworld, Vince Staples.
Barcelona, Spain. July 18-20. €185 (weekend), €125 (two nights).
Indie heroes in the Basque mountains
This northern Spanish festival may be in the hills, but you can easily take a bus there or walk from the comforts of the city. Meaning you’ll be fresh daily to see the big name alternative rock and dance acts filling the stages.
Line-up includes Hot Chip, IDLES, Khruangbin, Modeselektor (live), The Strokes, Thom York, Weezer, Bicep (DJ set), Todd Terje (DJ set).
Bilbao, Spain. Jul 11-13. €145 (weekend), €160 (weekend with camping).
Three days of epic riffs
A relative newbie in the Spanish festival set, Mad Cool returns for its fourth year with an incredible line-up blending young up-and-comers with some absolute legends. Giants of the scene top this weekender, which is putting the average punters first – reducing the capacity and getting rid of VIP sections at the front of the stages.
Line-up includes Bon Iver, Iggy Pop, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Robyn, The 1975, The Chemical Brothers, The Cure, The Hives, The National, The Smashing Pumpkins, Vampire Weekend.
Madrid, Spain. Jul 11-13. €175.
Stadium sounds in sunny Spain
This year Benicàssim marks its 25th anniversary, and the festival on the sunny Spanish coast has pulled out all the stops. Rock and pop dominates the billing, but the Spaniards know how to party, so expect DJs till dawn too – you can always recover on the beach the next day.
Line-up includes Kings of Leon, Lana Del Ray, The 1975, Franz Ferdinand, George Ezra, Jess Glynne, Blossoms, You Me At Six.
Benicàssim, Costa del Azahar, Spain. Jul 18-21. €155.
Sea-faring Belle & Sebastian-curated festival
In 1999, Scottish indie rockers Belle & Sebastian curated The Bowlie Weekend festival in Camber Sands. Twenty years on, they're doing it all again, but this time aboard a boat that will ride the waves from Barcelona to Sardinia (and back again). Mogwai, Django Django and Yo La Tengo will be there – and you can blame any drinking-based mishaps on 'seasickness'.
Line-up includes Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, Django Django, Yo La Tengo, Camera Obscura, Hinds.
Sets sail from Barcelona, Spain. Aug 8-12. From £649.
The world's biggest reggae festival
Back to Benicàssim, where this week-long reggae festival draws a stellar line-up to the Spanish sun. The ethos is full-on peace and love, ensuring good vibes whether you’re attending a sustainability workshop or getting down to dancehall.
Line-up includes Ziggy Marley, Third World, Marcia Griffiths, Busy Signal, Chronixx, Queen Ifrica, Israel Vibration.
Benicàssim, Spain. Aug 16-22. €190 (full festival), €35 (one day).
BEST FESTIVALS IN SWEDEN
The pick of international acts in a scenic Scandi setting
Taking place in multiple venues across Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg, Way Out West has netted many of the best of the acts doing the summer festival rounds. It’s super-Scandinavian, and we’re not just talking about the long summer nights – the festival is proudly committed to sustainability, and can claim to be LGBT+ certified.
Line-up includes Cardi B, The Cure, Stormzy, James Blake, Jon Hopkins (live), Earl Sweatshirt, Jungle, Zara Larsson, CupCakKe, Rex Orange County, IDLES.
Gothenburg, Sweden. Aug 8-10. 1,995 SEK.
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