Aah, sweet sweet July. The month that marks the official start of the beloved festival season.
Festivals are pockets of adventure and new experiences that are pretty much unmatched. And that is exactly why festival hopping needs to be your new favourite thing. You can meet all kinds of new people and hear all kinds of awesome music. And what better time to start than the official beginning of the festival season? July 2016 brings on some seriously cool festivals that are perfect if you want to explore while having the time of your life. Here’s a list of the best:
1. Exit Festival, Serbia
When: July 7-10
Exit is an award-winning summer music festival held at the Petrovaradin Fortress in the city of Novi Sad, Serbia. The festival boasts of a pretty eclectic lineup that includes artists ranging from various genres such as Hardwell, Motorhead, Tom Odell and Eagles of Death Metal. This year they have David Guetta, Bastille, The Vaccines and Wiz Khalifa coming in. Held each year in a gargantuan fortress that sits atop Serbia’s second capital of Novi Sad, Exit is loved and touted as much by locals as it is by the jet-set festival crowd.
2. Latitude Festival, UK
When: July 14-17
The Latitude Festival is an annual music festival that takes place at Henham Park, near Southwold, Suffolk, England. The festival is run by Festival Republic, who also run the Reading and Leeds Festivals. The festival has grown exponentially over the years and is known for it’s awesome family friendly atmosphere. Set in beautiful woods, the festival has so much to offer from film to music, comedy to literature and theatre to poetry. There are all sorts of hidden gems to discover. Previous performers have included Alt-J, Jon Hopkins and Portishead. This year, they have Chvrches, M83, Father John Misty and Chet Faker.
3. Fuji Rock, Japan
When: July 22-24
Fuji Rock Festival is an annual rock festival held in Naeba Ski Resort, in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The festival combines almost everything we want in a music festival in one fabulous package. It has mountains, forests and some of the best rock music. The festival is the largest outdoor music event in the country with 100,000-150,000 festival goers in attendance. The crowd is mostly made up of carefree and respectful Japanese festival-goers, although there is now a stronger international showing. The lineup is one of the best parts of the festival with acts such as Foo Fighters, Motorhead and Noel Gallagher. This year’s lineup includes heavyweights such as red Hot Chilli Peppers, Sigur Ros, Beck and Disclosure.
4. Lollapalooza, United States
When: July 28-31
If you want an immersive music experience that gives you a taste of the best of a variety of music genres, Lollapalooza is the place for you. The annual music festival covers everything from popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, to EDM bands and artists, as well as dance and comedy performances and craft booths. The festival also has a Berlin edition that takes place in September this year. Though the festival claims to celebrate alternative acts, its lineups are usually adorned with pretty mainstream acts such as Imagine Dragons, Pixies, Ellie Goulding and Axwell. This year’s lineup includes artists such as Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, The Last Shadow Puppets and Flume.
5. Pitchfork Music Festival, United States
When: July 15-17
Pitchfork focusses primarily on alternative rock, hip hop, jazz, rap electronica and dance music. The lineup is carefully curated to bring out the creme de la creme of the music industry and it keeps getting better every year. You can also expect to be blown away by the hottest indie acts of the season. Just not that, the festival is also a fertile space for all the creative souls out there as it hosts all kinds of art and crafts exhibitions. The food at the festival is stuff dreams are made of, as local and international vendors make their way to the festival serve up some tasty treats. This year’s lineup has Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Carly Rae Jepsen, Twin peaks, FKA Twigs and Kamasi Washington.
6. Secret Garden Party, UK
When: July 21-24
The SGP is exactly as fun as it sounds like. The festival is set in the lush green fields of Abbots Ripton, it is ten acres of landscaped garden, bordering a river and with a (swim-able) lake right in the centre of it. It happens to be one of the most beautiful festivals in the UK. This has become one of the most sought-after summer festival experiences this side of the Atlantic. It’s grown from the inaugural event in 2004 of less than a 1,000 to almost 30,000 gardeners. Each year has a theme, which costumes and camps are built around. The festival is a crazy celebration that includes everything from lingerie parties to glamping. This year’s lineup has Air, Caribou and Primal Scream as headliners.
7. Tomorrowland, Belgium
When: July 22-24
The mecca of all that is dance music, Tomorrowland, Belgium is the kind of festival you need to visit once in your lifetime. And if possible, several times in your lifestyle. The world’s biggest DJs and music producers will make their way to Boom as the edition is called to play at one of the most insane parties in the world. Organisers will put up an unforgettable show with 15 stages dressed in over-sized flowers, active volcanoes, giant disco balls, explosive butterflies and copious amounts of confetti to give a spectacle not easily replicated.
8. Wife Carrying Championship, North America
Do you really love the woman in your life if you haven’t lugged her around an obstacle course? Not really, no. You can finally do that in the annual Wife Carrying Championship, that requires men to perform all kinds of feats and get themselves (and a female partner) to the finish line in record time. These feats include piggyback, fireman’s carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist). The festival has roots in ancient traditions of wife-stealing and sees almost 10,000 spectators every year.
9. Ultra Europe, Croatia
When: July 15-17
The European edition of the insane dance music festival is ready to trump all your festival goals this July. It is Croatia’s first (and one of Europe’s first) EDM stadium festival and it is a raging party that you cannot dream of missing out on. Think exotic boat parties, beach fiestas and performances by some of the best DJs in the world and you might just be closer to anticipating this mad party. This year’s got Alesso, Above and Beyond, Nero and Deadmau5 all ready to set the stage alight.
10. Movement Croatia, Croatia
When: July 28-1 August
Movement Festival is the European cousin of the ‘Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF)’, one of the most important and historical dance music festivals of the world, held in Detroit since 2000. Prepare for parties that go well into daylight, lots of beautiful people and monochrome clothes and a frankly astounding lineup for such a small location. The 2016 lineup includes Ben Klock, David Morales and Solomun.