Maximise your festival experience by turning it into a holiday. Here’s our round-up of the best music festivals in Europe
Words Helen Brown
Get some sun, sand and sea, as well as seeing some of the world’s greatest bands and music talent. The following are our pick of Europe’s best music festivals. They offer amazing line-ups in locations that warrant a short flight. Whether you’re after the city, countryside or sea, these are the perfect music + holiday combinations.
Secret Solstice, Iceland
If local Icelandic folklore is to be believed, mid-summer is when the elves are out in full force for a party. Join them at Secret Solstice. This festival offers otherworldly landscapes and geothermal springs to recuperate and recover. This year’s line-up includes Anderson Paak, Seth Troxler, Foo Fighters and The Prodigy. Additional events include a midnight sun boat party, as well as the Lava Tunnel. 15th – 18th Junesecretsolstice.is
Meadows in the Mountains, Bulgaria
Hedonists and those born with a penchant for adventure, this is the festival for you. Now in its sixth year, MITM provides genuine atmosphere and a sense of escapism. It’s set in the beautiful surroundings of the Rhodope Mountains, 850m above sea-level. Legend has it that this was the homeland of Orpheus. In Greek mythology, Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet. His accolades are centred on his ability to charm all living things with his music. Including rocks. MITM invites you to be charmed by music also, along with the beautiful scenery and people of Bulgaria.9th – 11th Junemeadowsinthemountains.com
Sziget is one of Europe’s most iconic music festivals, famed for its diverse lineups. They span everything from EDM, house and techno, to rock, pop and indie. This week-long event brings some of the world’s biggest artists to an island on the Danube. Catch Major Lazer, Wiz Kalifa and Kasabian at this year’s festivities. Further acts include Birdy, Tom Odell and George Ezra. There’s also a host of other activities to get involved in and experience. There’s an amusement park, workshops and beaches to be enjoyed too. 9th – 16th Augustszigetfestival.com
As far as festivals go, this offers some of the most flamboyant and imaginative staging. It’s an electronic music event with global stars like Deadmau5 and Armuun Van Buuren. As well as Hannah Wants, Oliver Heldens and Axwell Ingrosso. Musically, the lineup matches the grandiosity of the festival’s production. A previous year saw a giant horse adorn the main stage. 26th – 27th August mysteryland.nl
Lollapalooza Berlin is a multi-genre music festival in Germany. It’s now in its third year and has already developed an enviable reputation. Taking inspiration from it’s American parent, the lineup packs in music of all styles. From stadium rock to EDM, pop to hip-hop and a lot more in between. Additionally, the festival is renowned for its inclusive atmosphere. A sense of joyful creativity permeates the event. It has a packed programme of children’s activities, exhibitions, workshops and more.9th – 10th Septemberlollapaloozade.com
Since launching in 2010, Hideout has become a permanent fixture in the festival calendar. Dance music fans from across Europe and the world flock to Zcre Beach for five days and nights of partying. It brings some of the biggest names in house, techno and more, year after year. With a beach, pool and world famous clubs, Hideout is an unforgettable experience. It’s the ideal holiday-slash-festival mini-break
26th June – 1st July
Primavera Sound, Barcelona
Primavera Sound, held in an industrial park by the sea, is Spain’s best festival. It attracts the biggest names in rock, pop, dance and indie, as well as thousands of global visitors. With Glass Animals, Bon Iver and Lady Wray, you’d be hard-pushed to find a more tantalising line-up. Things don’t get underway until the afternoon; ideal for exploring Barcelona beforehand. Or you can simply recover on the beach. 31st May – 4th Junelineup.primaverasound.es
Way Out West, Sweden
Way Out West is celebrating its 11th year with a huge international line-up. Spread across three days, the festival takes over Sweden’s music capital of Gothenburg. This year’s line-up includes Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey, Angel Olsen, Young Thug, with more TBC. Further to this, At night Stay Out West hosts more intimate performances around the city.
11th – 13th Augustwayoutwest.se
Electric Castle, Romania
Electric Castle celebrates its fifth edition with a plethora of world renowned acts. Seven stages and a huge food offering attract thousands each year. There’s also a barber shop, yoga classes, cinema, fashion corner and more to enjoy. Guests will be entertained from day to night and back again with one of Europe’s few truly 24-hour festivals.
12th – 16th July
Fresh Island, Croatia
Fresh Island is Europe’s leading hip-hop and urban music festival. It welcomes the finest international talent to the stunning island of Pag each year. The last five years have seen Stormzy, Snoop Dogg and Eve play across its three open-air super clubs. This year’s line-up features Rae Sremmurd, French Montana and Sean Paul. Further acts include Lady Leshurr, Krept & Konan and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
11th – 13th July