1. Iceland Airwaves, Iceland
by Flora The Explorer
Flora Baker is Flora The Explorer.
2. The Secret Garden Party, the UK
by Global Help Swap
The Secret Garden Party is one of the most picturesque festivals you will ever attend. Set in the grounds of a Georgian Farmhouse with its own lake (which you can swim in), river and landscaped gardens, this is a place where fairy tales are made.
The festival began in 2004 and has gone from strength to strength. Held every year in July at Abbots Ripton, near Huntingdon, England, the festival is normally set around a theme. This year’s theme is “Childish Things”. I would say 70% of the festival goers dress up around the theme which makes for some interesting photos!
This festival is where you can catch acts that are about to hit the big time. We have watched Florence & The Machine, The XX, and Lily Allen all before they became headliners. Like Glastonbury, The Secret Garden Party supports charities. The main one being The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which aims to prevent male suicide in the United Kingdom.
The Secret Garden Party is a great medium sized festival with a fun crowd. I will meet you at the Paint Fight!
3. End Of The Road Festival, the UK
by Global Help Swap
Starting in 2006, the End of the Road festival is held every year (in Sept) in the Larmer Tree Gardens on the borders of Somerset and Dorset, England. In 2011 the festival won the award for “best small festival” and it’s not hard to see why.
With four stages set around woods, gardens, and Tipis, this festival has an ultra mellow vibe. The music is centered around folk, Americana and alt.country. This year the festival will be celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary with Tame Impala, The War on Drugs and Laura Marling playing.
As the festival is held in beautifully landscaped gardens don’t be alarmed when you come across the peacocks roaming about. As well as the music there are also children’s play areas, a film tent, a library in the forest and much more. Like any alternative UK festival, our advice is to explore, explore, explore!
We attended this festival for the first time last year and loved the chilled out crowd and atmosphere. I will meet you in the woods for a game of hide and seek. Paul Farrugia is an avid traveler and blogger. When he is not traveling he likes to spend his free time reading, going to festivals and sitting down enjoying a nice glass of red! If you would like to reach him, check his blog Global Help Swap! You can follow him on Facebook as well.
4. Couleur Café, Belgium
by Wonderful Wanderings
Couleur Café is an annual music festival in the city of Brussels. It’s unique as it doesn’t take place in the streets of the city, either on a festival terrain, but on the events site of Tour & Taxis. Here you can listen to big hip hop and rap artists, but also to all kinds of world music, including reggae and Latin, and a bit of dubstep
Besides the stage acts, there are also always some side acts, like a marching band or street performers, who entertain the crowds throughout the day.
And if you do need a musical break, you can head to the world market or to the food stands. No need to fear: the food at Couleur Café is delicious and the options are plenty. There are about 50 food stands with products from all over the world, including vegetarian meals.
Tip for first timers: Couleur Café is in the middle of Brussels and parking options are scarce. The festival website doesn’t even address coming by car. On the upside: there are various discount options with public transportation especially for the festival, so be sure to check those out.
Sofie is a freelance writer, translator and travel blogger who takes people with her on her travels in Belgium and beyond. Her blog Wonderful Wanderings focuses both on the must-sees and daily life, on the big attractions and the places you’d never find by yourself. You can connect with Sofie on Facebook.
5. Rock in Rio Lisboa, Portugal
Rock in Rio was born in Brazil in 1985. In 2004, it arrived in Portugal to stay, with pretty big gigs such as Paul McCartney, Kings of Lion and Foo Fighters in Belavista Park, a natural stage that becomes a rock city every edition. RiR has also been held in Spain and this year it will arrive at the US, being Vegas the chosen city for its opening in the country.
Last year, Rolling Stones and other bands celebrated in Lisbon the 10th anniversary, 90 thousand people enjoyed how Bruce Springsteen made a last minute surprise appearance after being invited by Jagger to join the party. Pretty epic.
Inside the festival grounds, apart from a ferris wheel, there is Rock and Street dance, a food court and a chillout area. Unluckily, this one does not have a camping area and once you enter the festival, you can’t go out, a bit of a nuisance. But if you play along, it is one of your best bets in the country and you will be able to enjoy Lisbon, a fantastic city, as well!
6. Main Square Festival, France
I would go back in a whim just to enjoy once again the unreal scenery of the city where is held, Arras old town, about 150km away from Paris. 11 years old, Main Square is one of the best put together festivals we’ve ever been to. Apart from the cozy town, the camping zone happens to be located really nearby and Lille or Charleroi airports are both conveniently located around 45km away.
Sting, Green Day, Iron Maden, David Guetta, Muse, and The Prodigy have played there. This year dates are July, 3rd to 5th, being the 3-day passes and Saturday / Sunday tickets over. So if you want to have a peak, the Friday pass is your best bet and you could be listening to Lenny Kravitz and Shaka Ponk in a few weeks.
A great atmosphere, a mix of festival-goers, families, and locals, perfect for the first timers and likers of all kinds of music. Truly enjoyable!
Maria runs Concerteca. Follow them on Facebook.
7. Festival do Sudoeste, Portugal
by A World to Travel
This one is held in Zambujeira do Mar, in the South West coast of Portugal, hence the name. Jose traveled there in 2011. Unluckily, Amy Winehouse – who was leading the line up – had just passed away but still he could enjoy some other great bands and DJs like Asian Dub Foundation, Underworld, Deus, Scissor Sisters, David Guetta, Snoop Dog, Swedish House Mafia, Alpha Blondie, Interpol and many others spread across 4 stages, being his favorite the reggae one.
Although temperatures can get really harsh and shades are almost non-existent, there is a pond where you can get some relief during the day. Highly recommended.
8. Berlin Festival, Germany
If we want to talk about music festivals we can forget Berlin, the cradle of the (in)famous Love parade has nowadays many other remarkable events to follow like the small, but incredibly important, Berlin Festival.
The Berlin Festival used to take place at Tempelhofer Feld, the abandoned airport and city lung, but fast enough has left behind the “overpopulated” festival idea and moved into a more intimate space, the Arena Berlin. It takes place along 3 days in a row in the “city center” and offers a huge amount of possibilities from cultural workshops, to Crazy DJ electro parties till chillout mornings/afternoons in one of the most particular swimming pools in the city, The Badeshift.
One of the remarkable things is the support to the local artists, the Berlin festival counts with huge international names such as Rudimental or Fritz Kalkbrenner but its also a place with a big space for the local community giving Berlin bands and artists a jump to the mass public.
I always refer to it as the “nearly 30’s festival”, is a city festival, therefore, no camping place, you will sleep totally comfy in your bed and have a shower in your bathroom before hitting the party again. It’s not a massive festival just small scenarios, cultural event, and many possibilities… Call me old but sounds like the paradise to me.
Valen & Jesper have been traveling for about 3 years now, they settle down in Berlín for a while and from here plan their next adventure. Follow them on Facebook.
9. Paredes de Coura Festival, Portugal
by A World to Travel
A lot has been said around here about our favorite music festival ever. After having attended the last 4 editions (read 2014 Paredes de Coura Uncut Chronicle Part 1 and Part 2 here), we can only wait for next August to go back and live it up once again. Dream location on a hill featuring a cool river – perfect for the afternoon ‘Jazz na relva’ sessions as well as cooling off when the sun is at its highest, and a couple of big stages that remain pumping it up till 5am mostly (sometimes, coming as a great surprise, further in the wee hours!).
We even put a short video featuring the very best of last year’s edition.
Seriously, you need to check this one out. Priceless!
10. Hellfest, France
11. Sonisphere, the UK
12. Boom Festival
by Mochila Nomada
Boom Festival is a biannual trance music festival which is held a few km away from Idanha-a-Nova, a Portuguese town by an awesome lake that soon becomes one of the festival-goers favorite places to hang out.
More than 30 thousand people gathers to attend this ‘conscious’ and ‘sustainable’ festival. So much that it was awarded the ‘Outstanding Greener Festival Award’ in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
And music is just only a small part of what is going on there. Conferences, workshops, exhibitions, games, chillout areas, and a huge camping zone from the lake to some close mountains’ peaks.
Jairo runs Mochila Nomada and wrote about the festival here: mochilanomada.com/boom-festival. Follow him on Facebook.
13. Colours of Ostrava
14. MITO Festival, Italy
Normally, when you think of summer festivals, you imagine muddy fields and dancing all night long. Now, I’m not saying that’s not nice! But MITO, one of my favorite summer festivals, taking place every year in September, is very different. MITO stands for Milano and Torino, the two cities where the festival happens.
It’s very hard to put the festival into a specific category as one of its characteristics is that there are concerts for all preferences, from classical to jazz, rock and electronic. The venues are also special; concerts take place not only in theatres and halls but also on trains, at trans stations, parks, and reconverted factories. MITO is one of the reasons why September is my favorite month in Milan!
15. Time in Jazz, Italy
by My Adventures Across The World
Time in Jazz takes place every August in Berchidda, in the North of Sardinia (Italy), and it is a must for any jazz, music and even nature lovers. It consists of a whole week or more of jazz concerts, held across a number of villages such as Berchidda and the surroundings, with open-air concerts (which are free to attend).
The festival is organized by Paolo Fresu, a Sardinian born world famous trumpet player. Each year he gathers the most acclaimed jazz musicians for some incredible concerts.
It is an overall great event not only for the incredible quality of the music, but also for the settings: imagine listening to some great jazz in the middle of the forest, or in the pretty square of a lovely village. And some of the world’s best beaches are nearby too. Visitors can stay in one of the various camping sites or in some bed and breakfast accommodation, and top off their visit with some fabulous local food and wine!
Claudia Tavani, a former human rights lawyer and academic, writes at My Adventures Across The World. Follow her on Facebook.
16. Super Bock Super Rock, Portugal
We uncover this one last year. Super Bock Super Rock Festival is held in Aldeia do Meco, in the outskirts of Lisbon, and Eddie Vedder, Massive Atack and Kasabian played there already. We could see a very young audience, a just fine camping zone, outstanding VIP area (not difficult, after all, it is VIP!) and a great location by the beach.
This year it will take part in July, at Nations Park, Lisbon, and it will be the 21st edition of one of Portugal’s main festivals. A 3-day pass is around $100 – a day ticket is half price – and Sting, Blur, Florence and the Machine and many others are already confirmed.
SBSR surprises the crowds every year with pretty diverse lineups. Metallica, Rage Against The Machine, Ben Harper, Arcade Fire, Incubus… a never-ending list that pleases very different crowds every year.
Have a look at Maruxaina’s blog here.
17. Donauinselfest, Austria
by Girl vs Globe
18. Marés Vivas
19. La Route Du Rock
French and British festival – goers love the event mainly because the line up is always a top-notch, no two bands ever overlap so there is no need to choose what you want to see more and the organization is always spotless!
The festival always hosts top international performers such as Massive Attack or Portishead, this summer Bjork is announced to play!!! But they are really great with spotting new bands and singers early too! Brilliant Mac Demarco or Perfect Pussy had performed on La Route du Rock early on in their career.
Next one will take part on August 13-16 2015.
20. Electric Castle, Romania
WHICH ONES ARE WE MISSING? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW and if you are a travel blogger yourself, feel free to contact us to complete this list.
Luckily, this is not the end. Check out the following articles as well and start scheduling your favorite music festivals for this upcoming Summer:
Coolest Music Festivals Around the World
Coolest Music Festivals in Spain
Coolest Music Festivals in Galicia
Yikes! I hadn’t heard of any of these. Thanks for putting together such a great list!
I was just about to comment about Glastonbury not being on the list! I have to say, that in the UK we are so lucky to have the festivals you listed here, and dozens more great ones that didn’t get a mention!
Hey Dave! It would be awesome to feature your favorite one! Glasto has been ‘upgraded’ to the ‘Coolest Music Festivals World Edition’ 😀
Wow this is quite the list! having little kids, i don’t see these in the near future for me, but i have been known to Enjoy a music festival in Canada. So maybe in a few years time i will get to check one of these out!
Nice list! I’m however surprised Glastonbury has not made it to the list but got a mention just in passing 🙂
Because Glastonbury is so freaking awesome that made it to the ‘Coolest Music Festivals Around the WORLD’ list. Link at the end of this article 😀
Reading your post made me realize how long it has been since I’ve been to a music festival. I’ll have to take a closer look in my next destination and see if I can track one down. I’m sure they are around and would be worth finding. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thank you for sharing this extensive list of event. Makes you want to pack your bags and go rockin on some festival right away!
Right? Just do it! 😀 Next Summer I want to festival hop my way around Euroupe. Dream trip!
Awesome list. These look like a blast! Great photography too.
All those pretty pics have been mainly taken by the bloggers recommending the festivals! Aren’t they just great?
Wow. It’s really cool to see all of these great events listed in one place. There are so many. You could travel the world just for music festivals and never run out.
Yup! Pretty much 🙂
So many great festivals to go to!
We’ll have a look. Thanks for the suggestion! 🙂
Great list here Inma! Thanks for having me:)
Such a pleasure Sofie!