Are you tired of the UK’s unpredictable weather? Fed up of squelching around in muddy fields and getting soaked when the heavens open? Then this is the year to ditch the wellies and don the sunglasses for a festival in warmer climes. From Croatia to Spain, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking your perfect summer fest. Why go on separate trips when you can have a holiday and festival in one?!
Barcelona, Spain 13-15 June
Sonar is a three-day rave fest and is the highlight of Barcelona’s cultural calendar with its blend of cutting-edge artistry and entertainment by day, and the very best of electronic music by night. As it’s an urban festival you won’t need to pitch a tent or navigate through a sodden field. Among Sónar’s legendary artists to have graced the decks are Daft Punk, Fat Boy Slim, Orbital and The Chemical Brothers. Despite these established electro giants, Sónar is very much about new and emerging talent. This June the night time venue will host leading DJs Skrillex, Major Lazer, Soulwax and TNGHT to name a few. Synth-pop favourites Pet Shop Boys will be returning after over a decade, along with electronic innovators Kraftwerk who will perform their technological 3D extravaganza. Soak up the experimental vibe (and the sunshine) by day and dance the night away as killer DJs bring the banging beats.
Tisno, Croatia 11-15 July
If sun, sea and clubbing and are your bag, then three days in the stunning surroundings of The Garden Tisno will be right up your street. Set in a natural amphitheatre overlooking a beautiful sandy bay with crystal-clear water you’ll be in paradise – and the music hasn’t even started yet! This year Electric Elephant will welcome Mancunian music maestro Mr Scruff, along with Michael Mayer, Tobias Thomas and Fabric regular Pete Herbert. Kick back on the beach with a cold beer or cocktail and take a dip in the Adriatic Sea as DJs provide your holiday soundtrack. You could even hop aboard the Argonaughty for one of its legendary boat parties. When the sun sets, hit the dance floors at the Main Stage and Beach Bar before heading to the outdoor Barbarella night club for the ultimate al fresco after party.
Boom, Belgium 26-28th July
This fantastical fest has established itself as one of the top electronic festivals in Europe. Set in the fairy tale surroundings of De Schorre National Park, Tomorrowland’s unique fantasy amusement park setting is complemented by a dance-heavy line-up with sub-genres from house to dubstep. A lot of effort goes into decorating the festival area and last year festivalgoers could take a ride on the highest mobile ferris wheel in Europe – The Brussels Airlines Cloud Rider. Vibrant, dynamic and highly charged, Tomorrowland has been described as “A trippy technicolour fantasy”. This year’s winning line-up includes Avicii, Tiesto, Knife Party, Armin Van Buuren, Benny Benassi, Eric Prydz and many more banging DJs.
Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB)
Benicàssim, Spain 18-21 July
This four-day fest on the east coast of Spain is perfect for partygoers who want to dance until the sun comes up or even take the party to one of the nearby beaches. FIB has something for everyone with its enticing selection of pop, rock, indie and electronic artists, as well as short films, fashion shows, silent discos and art exhibitions. Since the first fest in 1994, Primal Scream, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Oasis and Lou Reed have rocked Benicàssim. There’s another strong trio of headliners this year with The Killers, Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age, while upcoming artists include Palma Violets, Aluna George, Deap Vally, Jake Bugg and Swim Deep. Oh and bassline junkie Dizzee Rascal will be bringing the dirty bass and spitting some rhymes.
Landgraaf, Netherlands 14-16 June
If you want an established rock fest without the Download price tag, Pinkpop is the one for you. It was first held in 1970, making it the longest running annual festival in the world. Held in the aptly named Megaland Park it spans 27 hectares, allows 50,000 campers at various sites and even has its own festival market. Over its 43 years it has welcomed huge names such as Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Bruce Spingsteen and the E-street band. The three mammoth bands to headline this year are Kings of Leon, Green Day and The Killers. Joining them for the perfect combination of rock and indie are The Vaccines, Alt-J, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Gaslight Anthem, Queens of The Stone Age and Paramore.
The Garden Festival
Tisno, Croatia 3-10 July
The Garden Festival is an idyllic event – perfect for beach bums with a love for dance music. Where else can you swim in the glistening Adriatic, relax beneath the pines on a private sandy beach and dance under the stars as live bands and DJs play quality underground music? The intimate boutique festival, nestled on a stretch of sun-kissed coastline, boasts a Tiki Bar, a champagne lounge and an outdoor nightclub. An unmissable highlight for festivalgoers, the Argonaughty boat parties set sail twice daily for more frolics on the ocean blue, and a chance to enjoy the breathtaking surroundings of course. And without the hordes of people it’s easy to find old friends and make new ones. Why not stay for a full week to visit the nearby waterfalls or the many beautiful islands off the cost of Zadar.
Barcelona, Spain 22-26 May
Known for its eclectic line-up, Primavera has always focused on showcasing new, independent bands alongside renowned artists. This year for instance will see the likes of Disclosure, Crystal Castles, Foxygen, Jessie Ware and Band of Horses, with headlining performances from French alt rockers Phoenix, Britpop kings Blur and Aussie post-punk rockers Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Its diverse range of music makes this urban fest a meeting place for all generations and last year alone it attracted a whopping 150,000 festivalgoers to the Parc del Fòrum on the coast of the Balearic Sea.
Dinkelsbühl, Germany 15-17 August
Calling all metal heads! Summer Breeze Open Air will be bringing the heavy tunes to Dinkelsbühl once again. You know how sometimes you can’t catch all your favourite bands at festivals? Well, at Summer Breeze the bands alternate between the Main Stage and the Pain Stage so that you can enjoy all the sub-genres of metal with no overlapping. This year you can rock out to the thrash metal of Anthrax, the groove metal of Lamb of God, the power metal of Firewind and even the melodic death metal of Soilwork. If you need a break from the all the moshing and walls of death, simply head over to the beer garden to enjoy a cold one and a bite to eat.