Whether you’re a flannel-clad hipster, a long-haired headbanger, a hippie in harems, or a radical skinhead, there is a music festival in the world perfectly tailored for you. Here’s a list of festivals you should aspire to attend, since they may just be the best of their kind – the largest, most diverse and most happening music festivals for the genre you love. Put them on your bucket list, right now.
We all know that rock will never die. It’s a world unto itself, and historical significance aside, it’s amazing to experience live. And there really is no end to the list of amazing rock festivals the world has to offer.
The Glastonbury Festival near Somerset, England is the largest greenfield festival in the world, attracting nearly 175,000 people every year along with the biggest names in rock music. Rock in Rio is another gargantuan festival that’s so popular, its tickets are sold out two years in advance! Other festivals like Lollapalooza in Chicago, and Roskilde in Denmark are rock-centred festivals that have branched out into other genres, and are known to deliver some of the best rock experiences every year.
Are you into moustaches, checked flannel and large-framed spectacles? Do you think artists like Coldplay and Arctic Monkeys are just too mainstream? Is your playlist filled with Bon Iver, Iron and Wine and The National? Then these festivals might just be the place for you.
While this might sound rather mainstream for someone as cool as you, but Coachella features the best possible Indie lineup year after year. Coachella is a music and art festival held annually in the Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert. Bestival in UK is yet another super-popular 4-day festival that features a number of Indie artists, and has actually won awards! Other amazing festivals like Rock En Seine and Bonnaroo are places where you can unleash the hipster in you.
The era of the skinheads may have passed, but along with the post-punk revival of the 90s and early 2000s came some amazing bands like The Strokes, The White Stripes and Interpol. The genre has definitely struggled to stay alive, but if you stand by the aesthetics of the old garage-style music, there are a few music festivals should give you what you need.
The largest travelling music festival in the United States of America, The Vans Warped Tour is often touted as one of the reasons punk lives on. Every year, it features as many as 100 artists per show, with venues in places like parking lots or fields. Antifest in the Czech Republic and is another fest that is attended by a hardcore punk audience as well as some insane bands every year. Possibly one of the most eclectic punk festivals is the Drop Dead Festival, and its actually a DIY festival for “art damaged music”. If punk is what your soul really is, you definitely have to check these out.
Folk and nu-folk artists are slowly taking over international music. The focus has now shifted to using folk influences in rock or indie music, and folk artists are slowly creeping into everyone’s playlists. Folk music festivals celebrate this new generation of folk artists, as well as keep root music alive.
The Big Tent Festival in Scotland is a two-day event that is dedicated to music, art and all things green, and forms a veritable feast for the folky soul. But one of the most well-known and successful folk festivals is the Green Man Festival, that showcases a huge number of popular folk rock and indie-folk artists every year. Other gorgeous festivals like the Cambridge Folk Festival and the Florida Folk Festival focus on root and country music, and if this is the kind of thing you love, make your way to these, pronto.
Nearly all of us millennials have had a metal phase, or at least what we thought was a metal phase. Not all of us have stuck with it. But for all you real headbangers and metalheads in the crowd, you’re probably tired of the Bhayanak Maut mosh pit by now. Let’s face it, India just doesn’t have a happening metal scene. And we all know the action lies abroad.
Every year in Germany, in a little village called Wacken is a summer festival of epic proportions called Wacken Open Air that showcases both well-known and obscure bands that you might find on your playlist. Bloodstock Open Air in England is yet another, that remains true to its name every year. Other metal festivals (that are not for the faint of heart) are Download Festival and Ozzfest, which was founded by Ozzy Osbourne himself!
If you are an EDM fanatic and think that Sunburn is the most epic thing you have ever seen, you can rest assured there are quite a few festivals all over the world that are just as good or much, much better. EDM festivals have a reputation of being on a scale that is a class of its own, with their party vibe, massive audiences and overall brilliance.
You may have heard of Tomorrowland, and the largest annual electronic music festival is definitely the stuff of dreams. Electric Daisy Carnival is another intense EDM experience you should definitely have in your lifetime. Other festivals that would be perfect for the EDM junkie are Ultra Music and Global Gathering, which are held in places all over the world every year.
7. Hip Hop/Rap
A genre that has really made it big in the mainstream in the last couple of decades or so, hip hop is something that a lot of people enjoy. If you want to get your groove on, there are a lot of festivals that bring the best of these artists of the world together, and are a real treat for a fan of hip hop.
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tenessee is slowly becoming the festival to be at every year. It continues to attract big names from the hip hop universe, and fans flock here every year to see these acts. The Made in America Festival, created by Jay-Z and Budweiser in 2013, and Fresh Island in Croatia are others you need to attend if you pride yourself on being a hip hop lover.
Jazz is a genre that has lived and thrived since the 1920s. If you are one of the cultured ‘uns, there are some amazing jazz festivals you should attend at least once in your life.
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Canada, is the biggest jazz festival in the world. A 10-day extravaganza, this festival brings together around 3000 artists from all over the world and is a jazz-lover’s Mecca. The Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in Denmark are two other festivals that have made a huge mark in the world of jazz.
In recent years, the hippie movement all around the world has gone largely underground, and has taken psychedelic trance festivals with it. But there are still a number of places you can go to possibly have the most trippy trip of your life.
The Ozora Festival held in a village in Hungary is one of the biggest and most popular psychedelic trance festivals in the world. It features an unbelievable lineup, and it also happens in Goa every February! Boom Festival in Portugal is another one of those big names in trance and psychedelic music. A festival that you have to attend if you’re looking for a unique experience with great psychedelic, trance and techno music is Transahara, a party that’s set in the middle of the desert on the Morocco border.
10. World Music
Now that we have the internet, and access to music from all over the world, we’ve become privy to some amazing international music trends and artists. And yes, there are festivals that bring together artists from all around the world, so that you can experience the international musicians you love, and maybe even be introduced to some great new ones.
The Great Escape Festival is a major three-day festival that showcases new artists from all around the world and a huge variety of genres. Other festivals you should probably attend are the Green Man Festival in Wales and the Wild Mint Folk Festival in Moscow.