The European festival season is nearly upon us. Take a look at these sensational festivals that will light up Europe this year.
Travelers and fellow festival enthusiasts, The Sherp comes equipped with a list of your ideal summer getaway options. Europe is a vast canvas of colourful music and culture festivals, most of which kick off in a few short months. Take a look at some of the greatest ones below, and make space in your schedule for at least one of these incredible fiestas!
1. Primavera Sound
When: June 2, 2016
Where: Barcelona, Spain
Continuing its trend of being the largest independent music importer in Barcelona, Primavera Sound, now in its 15th year has an amazing line-up greeting people into the cultural expanse of Spain. The festival just announced one of the best and most diverse lineups we’ve seen this year, featuring English rockers, Radiohead, NYC Electronic Rock act LCD Soundsystem and Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Ros as headliners. They are joined by artists like Tame Impala, Animal Collective, Action Bronson, Explosions In The Sky, Vince Staples and so many more. This coupled with the tourism friendly environment of Barcelona, and you have a winner! The second weekend following up from June 4 to 6 makes it the perfect Spanish vacation waiting to be taken.
(Source: Eric Pàmies/Primavera Facebook)
2. Rock Am Ring
When: June 3-5, 2016
Where: Nurburg, Germany
Known as the holy grail of rock music enthusiasts, Rock am Ring – which literally translates to “Rock in the Ring” – takes place in the scenic mountain area of Eifel. The festival annually sees 80,000 people rocking out to more than 80 international acts. Conceptualized in the mid-eighties, this festival has featured some of the greatest rock acts internationally. You can check out this year’s lineup here.
3. We Love Green
When: June 4-5, 2016
Where: Paris, France
We Love Green is a two-day jamboree taking place in the historically significant Parc de Bagatelle in western Paris, a park with rose beds and remarkable trees. Protectively giving it the concert vibe is We Love Green, making celebration in the park truly unique and fun, not to mention an absolutely natural experience. Right from organising the concert in a green park, to replacing tacky stands with organic food markets, along with naturally built stages, We Love Green scores a strong number in its ecological consciousness. They have workshops where they involve people to volunteer to build the festival together from scratch, and have this year, for the first time employed a think tank for active discussions on various pressing issues.
(Source: Yulya Shadrinsky | welovegreen.fr)
4. Download Festival
When: June 10, 2016
Where: Donington Park, UK
If you ask a hardcore rock music fan about which artistes are on his bucket list, the names that have just been announced for UK’s Download Festival will definitely match the lot. The rock festival that kicks off summer, Download is specifically dedicated to everything to do with metal and headbanging. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rock music noob, because these are some of the finest names the genre possesses. This year’s lineup features Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Deftones and more, Check out the full lineup here.
5. Isle of Wight
When: June 9-12, 2016
Where: Isle of Wight, England
Since it’s revival in 2002, the Isle of Wight has been the prime UK summer music festival, featuring some of the best musical talent across the globe. Having featured people like Bryan Adams, Paul McCartney, and Neil Young, Amy Winehouse, Jay-Z, P!nk, to name a few, as well as bands like The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones, REM, The Police, Coldplay, Bastille, Muse, Pearl Jam and many many more, this year’s line up for the festival seems to be a revisiting of the past, with bands like Queen, Stereophonics, Faithless and more you can check out here.
6. Sonar Festival
When: June 16-18,2016
Where: Barcelona, Spain
In a time when headline acts sell tickets, Sonar stands out and maintains its image as one of the best musical experiences on the globe. In order to move enough tickets, most festivals of its size lean hard on big and sometimes obvious names. And yet Sónar, has managed again and again to pack its two huge venues with impressively bold lineups. This year’s three-day event in Barcelona will be one of the most uncompromising yet.
When: June 22, 2016
Where: Somerset, England
Undoubtedly one of the biggest and most loved festivals in the world, there aren’t many events—of any kind, anywhere in the world—that could pull off a charming spell on you like Glastonbury. But then, now in its 44th edition, it still stands head and shoulders above so many others. Hosting upwards of 150,000 people, the gathering offers an infinitely diverse range of cultural, social and musical experiences. This year’s lineup is rumoured to be led by AC/DC and some more amazing acts. Keep tabs here for updates.
When: June 25, 2016
This is one of the oldest festivals in Europe, it was started in 1971 by 2 high school students. In 1972 it was taken over by the Roskilde Foundation, a non-profit organization with about 2,000 volunteers to keep it running (also a good way to get a free ticket). The profits from this festival are donated directly for humanitarian and cultural causes. Since 1971 big bands like Guns n Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes, The Who, U2, etc have played there. Even Ravi Shankar had been presented at Roskilde. The Arena Stage aka the Green Stage is the largest tent in the world covering over 17,000 people.
(Source: Bobby Anwar/The Local)
9. Hideout Festival
When: June 26-30, 2016
Where: Island of Pag, Croatia
Croatia is slowly but surely becoming the new Ibiza, with a variety of destination for beach and music festivals sprouting up all over its shores. Among the many taking place in the beautiful country Hideout is definitely one of the best and will return to its home on the island of Pag. Set around two clubs located on the beachfront, the pools and palm trees make it feel tropical – a place to let go and breath the fresh sea breeze.
(Source: Hideout Festival/Facebook)
10. EXIT Festival
When: July 7, 2016
Where: Novi Sad, Serbia
The EXIT Festival was named the best music festival to visit in Europe this summer by leading tourist organization Best European Destinations. The award is given in cooperation with the European Commission according to EXIT organizers. The festival will feature acts like Ellie Goulding, Bastille, Wiz Khalifa, Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike, Nicky Romero, Robin Schulz and more to be announced.
11. Calvi On The Rocks
When: July 8-13, 2016
Where: Corsica, France
Calvi on the Rocks is France’s very own summer island festival, aiming to whisk you away for a blissful six-day adventure to the French island of Corsica. This year’s edition just wrapped up with splendour, leaving behind footprints in the sand and some incredible pictures. Calvi on the Rocks “guarantee total immersion in music, a communion with the sea and the stars” according to their website. To go with the transcendent music, the festival organizes fitness programs for the attendees, the ethereal surroundings of the Théâtre de Verdure and of course, Schweppes cocktails and Cuban mojitos for anyone who wants one.
(Source: Calvi On The Rocks/Facebook)
When: July 14, 2016
Where: Southwold, UK
The Latitude Festival, remains a musical event that brings together not just the best musical acts, but at its heart a truly rustic festival. Known for great musical lineups and the scenic atmosphere, it also ups its game by including many accessible features for disabled persons. Take a look at the festival’s incredible 2016 lineup here.
(Source: Victor Frankowski)
When: July 15, 2016
Where: Grafanhainichen, Germany
Set in one of the most unique festival locations in the world, Melt! brings life to the gigantic monuments of the machine age with its colorful lighting and thumping tech beats. This is the ultimate “Industrial Meets Electronic” music festival that takes place in the massive industrial museum of Ferropolis, Germany. The event location spreads over 6 floors, and has a line-up of nearly 100 live acts over the weekend.
(Source: Stephan Flad)
14. Secret Garden Party
When: July 21, 2016
Where: Abbots Ripton, England
Two words. Magical and carnival-esque. This annual independent festival for music and arts is probably the most well known and loved boutique festival that exists. It takes place in Abbots Ripton, near Huntingdon, England. The location of the festival is its USP – a Georgian farm house accompanied by its own lake, river and gorgeous landscape. The organizers concentrate on making the festival a visual experience with floating boats, crazy entertainment and a yearly theme. Over the years (starting in 2004) Chase and Status, Django Django and Bastille are some of the bands who have featured at this festival. This year awesome acts like Caribou, Primal Scream and more.
(Source: Andrew Whitton)
When: July 22, 2016
What sets Tomorrowland apart from the rest is its storybook setting and immersive nature. Described as Trippy Technicolor Fantasies, stages undergo seamless transformations with a well-executed attention to detail. In 2011, the “Alice in Wonderland” theme translated into a real-life journey down the rabbit hole with live characters, real waterfalls, next-level pyrotechnics, and life-size mushrooms that catapulted stage design to new heights. The line-up is always a banger, as you can expect every respectable dance music act to be playing at Tomorrowland.
When: August 1-7, 2016
An army of the best psychedelic artists from around the world will assemble in Hungary every year, when the leading festival brand for psy-trance takes place. Since 2011, the Ozora festival has been attracting audiences from all over the globe at its magnificent venue, and the major credit for their intense traction must be awarded to their undivided focus on providing an overall festival experience with the best independent names in the world. This six day mega event sees fans of the genre descend on Hungary in the millions.
(Source: Yonatan Benaksas)
17. Wacken Open Air
When: August 4, 2016
Held every year Wacken Open Air brings to life a small, otherwise quiescent town in Germany with over 80,000 uber-tattooed festival attendees from all over the planet. The paradise of every metal lover, Wacken, which started in 1990 as a couple of young metal fans from the area pooling in ash, building a stage and bringing in a couple of metal bands went on to feature some of the biggest names in metal rock ever known to mankind. From Iron Maiden, Apocalyptica, Ozzy Osborn to Motörhead, Slayer, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest and more – underground, experimental, fledgling and legendary. There have been a multitude of incredible performances at Wacken over the years.
18. Wilderness Festival
When: August 4, 2016
Where: Oxfordshire, England
Wilderness Festival is one of the most eclectic festivals out there, incorporating theater, music, sports, yoga, art and much more in a humble four-day celebration. Despite its modest and un-ostentatious demeanor, this festival is far from shy. Buoyant costumes and the mysteriously discreet night celebrations deem Wilderness an enigmatic boho heaven. The very essence of this festival is exceedingly enigmatic. If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box experience that stimulates not only your auditory, but all your senses, then you have found your place in Wilderness.
(Source: Wilderness Festival/Facebook)
When: August 10, 2016
Where: Budapest, Hungary
Every year, during the month of August, the tourist-attracting island city of Budapest adopts a carnival-like atmosphere for Sziget, one of Europe’s largest open-air events. The festival, a combination of music, art, exhibitions, theatre and circus has people come in from all over the world thriving in the festival’s made-up city space. The general vibe of the festival reflects the best of summer as we know it. There is ample amounts of playfulness, as everyone engages in a bunch of activities that the festival plays host to. The festival makes sure to be one for everyone – there’s place to relax, play board games, engage in dress-up circus shows, and listen to ample amounts of music.
20. Boom Festival
When: August 11, 2016
Pretty much the most sought after psytance festival of the season, The Boom Festival is a biennial “transformational festival” that takes place in Portugal that features music performances and a broad variety of visual art exhibits. Boom Festival began in 1997 as a psychedelic trance music festival with a main stage and a lounge area with mellow, “chill-out music”. Now, there are five stages – each dedicated to type of music. Other attractions include sculptures, an art gallery, street theatre, and fire performances.
21. Green Man
When: August 18-21, 2016
Where: South Wales
The Welsh festival sees an amalgamation of independent folk-inspired music, literature, art and worship in the green countryside of Brecon Beacons, a mountain range in South Wales. Nature and art walks hand-in-hand, as the four day festival watches families descend to have the best kind of British Summer. Like Burning Man, the festival ends with the customary burning of the Green Man sculpture, made with leaves. All of this happens in a more intimate, beautifully lush green surrounding, thereby making it quite the variant to its more radical American counterpart.
22. Way Out West
When: August 20, 2016
Where: Gothenburg, Sweden
Known as the “Swedish Woodstock” this festival is a lot less popular than it should be. This brilliant alternative music festival brings just over 30,000 attendees to the humble surroundings of the Slottskogen (which translates to “castle forest” in Swedish) in Gothenburg every year. Eco-friendly, with a focus on incredible music, this festival has other aspects you must explore – such as their lineup of art and film. This year’s lineup features the likes of Chrvches, Daughter, M83, Jamie XX, and many more. View the entire lineup here.
(Source: Niklas Hellerstedt Creative Commons/Fest300)
When: August 25, 2016
Where: Daresbury, UK
Creamfields festival is pretty much the epicenter of dance in the UK. The long standing festival ( it started in 1998) always comes armed with a massive line-up that includes the biggest names in the industry today on around 8 arenas. This year Deadmau5, Pete Tong, Avicii and Eric Prydz will be headlining the event among (many) more. If you’re someone who wants to experience a pure EDM festival, Creamfields is the place for you.
24. Reading & Leeds
When: August, 2016
Where: Reading & Leeds, UK
The infamous Reading & Leeds Festival is heralded as the best music show on the planet. With the most revered artists from across the globe playing each year across the August bank holiday weekend, it is a genuine rite of passage for discerning music lovers everywhere.
When: August 27, 2016
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
This one hardly needs an introduction, Mysteryland Amsterdam is as impressive and loved as it’s versions in other countries. If you’re looking to go hard before you go home, Mysteryland is the festival you need to be at. Remember: The fireworks right at the end are totally worth the wait.
When: August 31, 2016
Where: Pula, Croatia
Outlook, set in an abandoned fort perched above the Adriatic sea, next to a beach right near Pula, Croatia, is a festival featuring some incredible music from the enthused dance music scene from around the world, for a period of four days. Think beauty, some partying till the night drops dead, and some good bass music, brought in from the qualitative quarters of the genre, and it will be an electronic music gathering worth cheering.
27. Festival No 6
When: September 1, 2016
Where: Portmeirion, UK
This exquisitely beautiful boutique festival organised in the lush green expanse of Portmeirion is a must-visit for numerous reasons – and that beautiful music lineup is just one of them. The 2015 edition features the likes of Mark Ronson, Belle & Sebastian, Metronomy, James Bay and the 2 Bears to name a few. This in addition to the festival’s brilliant selection of performance and visual art, gourmet food, river facing expanse, and intimate gatherings, making it a breathtaking affair, the music at boutique gala suits its setting perfectly, with a eccentric range of rock, folk and techno, and stages set at different venues in villages. You can check out the current lineup of the festival here.
28. Electric Picnic
When: September 4-6, 2016
Easily one of the most popular music festival’s in Ireland, Electric Picnic is everything that it is hyped up to be. Crowd-friendly, beautiful, and with impeccable lineups, this is the large-scale festival that rivals many other international ones. Last year’s lineup featured Jon Hopkins, Florence + The Machine, and many more. We can’t wait for this year’s roster to be revealed. Apart from the music, Electric Picnic has a bunch of immersive activities, including an inflatable church, a “together disco”, and a “body and soul” arena.
When: September 8, 2016
Where: Isle of Wight, England
In terms of cultural spectacles, Bestival is a no-holds-barred mega event that involves music, performance art, fancy dress parades, drag parties and so much more, that it wonderfully fits in during its four-day run. In addition to being one of the most respected and coveted boutique festivals around, the natural beauty extended to the festival due to its location in the green pastures of Robin Hill, situation in Isle of Wight, creates the amazing Bestival experience that has actually won several awards!
30. Iceland Airwaves
When: November 2-9, 2016
Where: Reykyavik, Iceland
For an intimate music festival, there’s no place cooler than Reykyavik, a city that’s poised on the edge of Nordic culture. While you may have heard of Bjork, Of Monsters and Men and Sigur Ros, who’ve put Iceland on the international music map recently, the country has a lot more to offer. This brilliant festival has everything you’d ever want – intimate shows, quirky clubs and even quirkier destinations, along with an eclectic lineup any alternate rock fan would love. Local acts are a big part of the event too, some of who will make you fall in love with Icelandic music. But the festival isn’t just about music any more. It transforms downtown Reykjavik into a city-wide event full of art, music, fashion and fun!
(Source: Alexander Matukhno/Fest300.com)