Europe

8 of the Best Music Festivals in Europe


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Live music festivals are becoming a huge industry. At one time there were only a few local festivals, with a focus on food and drink with music along for the ride. Now we’ve got to the point where there are so many festivals happening you could fill up an entire calendar if you really wanted to. To help you choose some of the more interesting ones. Here are some of the best music festivals in Europe.


1. Leeds Reading Festival – UK

One of the oldest music festivals in the world, it’s held at two locations at the same time every year and lasts from Friday to Sunday. In practice, it’s only ever referred to by whichever location is closest. There are multiple stages, offering music from hardcore, metal, hip hop, grime and underground artists of all stripes. Compared to some of the other music festivals around the world it’s fairly small, with a combined capacity of roughly 200,000 people.

Time of year: August/Summer
Line-up, booking and more info: readingfestival.com and leedsfestival.com

2. Tomorrowland – Belgium

If you’re a fan of electronic music, then Tomorrowland is the festival for you. Since its inception in 2005, it’s rapidly become one of the most popular festivals ever, with tickets being nigh impossible to get as they sell out within minutes of being released. To compensate for this the festival has slowly been increasing in length and now takes place over two consecutive weekends. In 2012 it won an award for being the best festival of its kind and has some legendary DJ’s and EDM producers in its lineup.

Time of year: July/Summer
Line-up, booking and more info: tomorrowland.com/en

3. Creamfields – UK

If Tomorrowland is the biggest single electronic music festival, then Creamfields is certainly the most widespread. It started out as a relatively small festival in the UK, but has since gone on to be hosted in other countries across Europe and around the world at some point during the year and has become one of the best music festivals in Europe because of this. It features a wide range of electronic music styles, so if you prefer your old school trance, hardstyle or newer EDM genres then you’re in for a treat.

Time of year: August/Summer
Line-up, booking and more info: creamfields.com

4. The Great Escape, Brighton, England

If you’re up for something a bit different then The Great Escape in Brighton is a unique festival that showcases new music and up-and-coming bands. The acts play in venues all over the city, including along the famous Brighton Pier, in pubs and bars, on the beach, in hotels, and even in churches. Most of the performances tend to only be for 20-30 minutes and are a wonderful taster of the band’s sound and the music that they make.

Brighton is also a fantastic city to visit with cute streets and cafes, a wonderful waterfront and plenty of places to relax by the sea. The city is also perfectly located south of London (and Gatwick Airport) making it very easy to get there if you’re flying in or travelling from London. If you do visit for this festival then be sure to book your accommodation well in advance as you will be left with fewer choices and expensive options otherwise.

Time of year: Spring
Line-up, booking and more info: greatescapefestival.com

5. Outlook – Croatia

Although not as big as the other festivals we’ve mentioned here, it makes up for it with pure coolness. For a start, it’s held in an abandoned fort and huge sound systems are rigged up in every place imaginable. Some of the UK’s best underground and electronic musicians come here, and it’s become something of a major destination for young Brits looking for a different kind of holiday.

Time of the year: September/Summer
Line-up, booking and more info: outlookfestival.com

6. Green Man – Wales, UK

Green Man is one of the best festivals in the UK and you’ll find it every year in Wales. The festival hosts fantastic acts and previous lineups have included Metronomy, Kraftwerk, Bicep, Wet Leg and heaps more amazing artists. You’ll find various stages dotted amongst the festival grounds each offering top performances, plenty of food and drinks stalls and additional activities to do as well, including a kid’s play area, helter-skelter slides, a Ferris wheel, comedy shows and lots more.

Whether you’re a family with kids, a group of 20-year-olds, or even retired this festival will suit the interests and be accommodating for everyone. With various campsites for families, people with disabilities, as well as general festival goers it should feel comfortable for all.

One thing, in particular, we love about this festival is the green mentality of creating as little non-recyclable waste as possible. Therefore you’ll find drinks are served in reusable stack cups, there are recycling bins everywhere and even what gets mixed together will be triaged (sorted) as much as possible to reduce what goes into landfill.

Finally, as this festival is nestled among beautiful hills and trees the layout of the festival will allow you to really appreciate this.

Time of year: August/Summer
Line-up, booking and more info: www.greenman.net

Performances at Green Man Festival
Image by @mikecleggphoto / team

7. Donauinselfest – Austria

The festivals we’ve talked about so far have all been pretty successful – relatively speaking. But compared to Donauinselfest in Austria they’re like ponds in an ocean. This festival has the honour of being the largest ever music festival in the world and is even free to attend. Over the course of three days, hundreds of thousands of people attend. This makes it not just one of the biggest open-air music festivals, but one of the biggest events full stop. There are 11 open-air stages as well as 16 tented areas, spread over a length of 4.5 km.

Time of year: June/Summer
Line-up, booking and more info: donauinselfest.at

8. ULTRA Europe, Croatia

ULTRA Europe is our final selection of top music festivals to enjoy this summer 2019. Located in Croatia, with top acts performing including Swedish House Mafia, Above and Beyond, Armin Van Buuren, The Chainsmokers and many more. Last year the festival attracted an incredible 150,000 partygoers from 142 countries around the world, clearly making this an event that music lovers definitely don’t want to miss.

Time of the year: July/Summer
Line-up, booking and more info: ultraeurope.com

Hardwell at Ultra Europe, photo by RUDGR
Hardwell at Ultra Europe, photo by RUDGR

Summary

It’s nearly impossible to choose from all of the festivals that exist. Not everybody is going to have the same taste in music, and some of you will prefer smaller events over week-long million-people extravaganzas. Also, have a read of our Top Tips for Your First Music Festival for tips.

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Zac Green

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Here Zac Green from popular music blog ZingInstruments.com gives us a rundown of the best music festivals in Europe!

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