The best music festivals around the world this summer

Summer is here and so are the music festivals. But which one should you pitch your tent at this year? Here are the best summer music festivals around the globe

Make merry into the wee hours of the morning at Roskilde festival's Orange Stage

Make merry into the wee hours of the morning at Roskilde festival's Orange Stage © Roskilde Festival/Vegard S. Kristiansen

Category Beach & nature Cities

Date 1st June 2017

We’ve been partying researching hard to unravel this year’s most essential music celebrations across the globe. From desert landscapes in Nevada to verdant slopes in Japan, here are this year’s must-see music festivals.

Roskilde Festival ‒ Roskilde, Denmark

Roskilde Festival is a colourful event that features something for every taste
Roskilde Festival is a colorful event that features something for every taste © Janus Sandsgaard

Roskilde Festival, now in its 46th year of existence, is Scandinavia’s largest music festival, featuring crowds in excess of 100,000 and a week-long program of libertinage. Originally a rock festival, its lineup has become increasingly varied over the years and now features music selections for every taste. If you’re feeling brave, take part in the festival’s Naked Run – an increasingly popular tradition that has been entertaining festivalgoers since 1999.

When: June 24 – July 1

Headliners: Arcade Fire, The Weeknd, Justice

Book tickets directly

Find a flight to nearby Copenhagen

Calvi on the rocks ‒ Corsica, France

Warm Mediterranean beaches and live music at Calvi on the rocks
Warm Mediterranean beaches and live music at Calvi on the rocks

While the lineup of this year’s Calvi on the rocks has yet to be announced, this Mediterranean gem of a festival has a rich electronic music heritage that dates back 15 years.  Combine this with Corsica’s formidable beaches and good weather and you’re looking at quite the island fest.

When: June 30 – July 5

Headliners: TBA

Book tickets via Festicket

Find a flight to Calvi

Montreux Jazz Festival ‒ Montreux, Switzerland

Relax on the banks of Lake Geneva at Montreux Jazz Festival
Relax on the banks of Lake Geneva at Montreux Jazz Festival

If its jazz you’re after, you will find plenty of it at Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, located at the foot of the Alps, along the arcadian shores of Lake Geneva. The grand old man of jazz festivals, Montreux reels in crowds of up to 200,000, making it the second-largest of its kind, after Montreal’s International Jazz Festival. You will also find many other well-known (non-jazz) acts on the billing here.

When: June 30 – July 15

Headliners: Herbie Hancock, Chilly Gonzales, Hamilton Leithauser

Tickets can be bought for each individual show, via the festival’s website

Find a flight to Geneva

Exit Festival – Novi Sad, Serbia

Stock up on cathartic experiences at Serbia's Exit Festival
Stock up on cathartic experiences at Serbia’s Exit Festival

This year’s Exit Festival is billed as the 5oth celebration of the summer of love – a tribute to the revolutionary Peace Movement of the 1960’s. While there are four separate Exit Festivals in Croatia, Romania, Montenegro, and Serbia respectively, the latter is the oldest and most established of the bunch. Drawing crowds of over 35,000, Exit is a festival that carries strong social and political messages that date back to its history as a festival born of student uprisings against Serbia’s regime at the end of the 1990’s.

When: July 5 – 9

Headliners: Roisin Murphy, The Killers, Rag’n’Bone Man

Book tickets via Festicket

Find a flight to Belgrade

Be #Positivus Festival ‒ Salacgrīva, Latvia

Woodland resting spot at Positivus Festival.
Recharge your batteries at Latvia’s Be #Positivus Festival

You’d be forgiven for turning off completely here, as rich woodlands that run alongside an idyllic shoreline envelope you in a blissful embrace.  Located in the north-west of Latvia, Be #Positivus is a relaxed festival with an indie lineup composed of both local and international acts.

When: July 14 – 16

Headliners: Pixies, Rhye, The Lumineers

Book tickets via Festicket

Find a flight to Riga

Soundwave ‒ Tisno, Croatia

Seaside rave at Soundwave Festival.
A beach party to rival them all – Soundwave, Croatia © Dan Medhurst

The shimmering water of the Dalmatian Coast fused with a non-stop nightclub and infamous boat parties make Soundwave a Mediterranean paradise for dance-loving loons. Toss in an open air cinema experience and commissioned works from a selection of street artists and you’re looking at one of Croatia’s veritable festival gems.

When: July 27 -31

Headliners: The Pharcyde, Roy Ayers, Gogo Penguin

Book tickets directly

Find a flight to nearby Split

Colours of Ostrava – Ostrava, Czech Republic

Colours of Ostrava takes place within a narrative of steel and industry at what used to be the Vítkovice ironworks
Colours of Ostrava takes place within a narrative of steel and industry at what used to be the Vítkovice ironworks

Set in the industrial backdrop of a former mining site and ironworks, The Czech Republic’s largest multi-genre international music festival packs a heavy punch. Make merry amongst towering blast furnaces and oxidized iron structures from a bygone era. Your ticket also gives you discounts at selected spots in and around the city of Ostrava, so bring your wanderlust with you.

When: July 19 -22

Headliners: Norah Jones, LP, Benjamin Clementine

Book tickets via Festicket

Find a flight to Ostrava

Secret Garden Party ‒ Cambridgeshire, UK

Sunsets over the magical Secret Garden Party.
The sun will set for one last time over this year’s Secret Garden Party © Danny North

This year’s Secret Garden Party will be the last ever, for various reasons. A decade and a half of unbridled hedonism will finally grind to a halt for this loud, proud fest for all. Over the years, the loopy weekend in the British wilderness has developed a reputation as an inclusive, well-organized party with no shortage of notoriety and this year should be no exception.

With accommodation options that include ‘Royal Safari Tents’ and ‘Vintage Showman Cameras,’ you can also look forward to a good night’s slumber amidst all the shenanigans.

When: July 20 – 23

Headliners: Crystal Fighters, Metronomy, Toots, & The Maytals

Book tickets via Festicket

Find a flight to London

Fuji Rock, Niigata, Japan

The slopes of Naeba ski resort form the green backdrop for Fuji Rock during the summer months
The slopes of Naeba ski resort form the green backdrop for Fuji Rock during the summer months @ Kevin Utting

Japan’s largest music festival takes place at the Naeba ski resort, whose vast grounds make for a truly remarkable location.  If seven main stages spread across the resort area, linked by long nature trails and the world’s longest Gondola lift (Dragondola) sounds halcyon, it is because it is! Fuji Rock aims to be the world’s cleanest festival.

When: July 28 – 30

Headliners: Gorillaz, Aphex Twin, Björk

Book tickets directly

Find a flight to nearby Tokyo

OFF! ‒ Katowice, Poland

Poland's OFF festival is an off the wall experience
Poland’s OFF festival is an off the wall experience

OFF Festival is an eclectic mainstay on Poland’s summer festival calendar located in lush surroundings just south of the city of Katowice. Founded in 2006, OFF Festival is built on a mantra that aims to change the world through music and intimate social experiences.

When: August 4 – 6

Headliners: PJ Harvey, Talib Kweli, Feist

Book tickets via Festicket

Find a flight to Katowice

Øya Festival – Oslo, Norway

Oslo's Øya festival is quickly becoming a mainstay on the Scandinavian music festival calendar
Oslo’s Øya festival is quickly becoming a mainstay on the Scandinavian music festival calendar

Oslo’s Øya Festival is one of Norway’s festival greats, hosted in the lush confines of the city’s Tøyen Pak. If the diurnal decadence doesn’t satisfy your festive hankering, move your feet to the beat at some of the evening’s events, held in many of Oslo’s clubs.

When: August 8 – 12

Headliners: Lana Del Rey, Mø, Pixies

Book tickets via Festicket

Find a flight to Oslo

Sziget Festival ‒ Budapest, Hungary

The dazzling main stage at Sziget Festival
Sziget Festival is monstrous in size and scale © Balazs Mohai

Sziget is a veritable behemoth on the European festival circuit that hosts over 400,000 partygoers and features over 1,000 performances from an ensemble of live acts to tickle every fancy. The head honcho of European festivals, Sziget takes place on Óbudai-sziget (“Old Buda Island,”) located in the middle of the Danube.

When: August 9 – 16

Headliners: Alt – J, Kasabian, Major Lazer

Book tickets via Festicket

Find a flight to Budapest

Flow Festival ‒ Helsinki, Finland

The glowing orb and power plant at Helsinki's Flow Festival.
Flow Festival is a distinctly urban music festival with an industrial touch © Jussi Hellsten

Helsinki’s Flow Festival breathes life into the rustic confines of a disused power station located a stone’s throw away from the city center. Beyond the music, Flow Festival puts a lot of work into being carbon-neutral and is constantly tweaking its approaches to food stalls, supplier relations, and other aspects, in a bid to further strengthen its ecological focus.

When: August 11 – 13

Headliners: Frank Ocean, The XX, Aphex Twin

Book tickets via Festicket

Find a flight to Helsinki

Burning Man, Nevada, U.S.A

Burning Man is a festival that adheres to very few norms -expect the unexpected
Burning Man is a festival that adheres to very few norms – expect the unexpected

Nevada’s parched Black Rock Desert forms the backdrop for Burning Man – one of the most colorful, different, thought-provoking festivals you’re likely to come across. Burning Man is a gathering that is free of commercial sponsorships and transactions, one of 10 guiding principles that define it.

Another Burning Man mantra is that of leaving no trace, which essentially means that most of the temporary structures here are razed to the ground at the end of the festival. Keep a lookout for mutant vehicles and artworks of all sorts here.

When: August 27 – September 4

Headliners: Madmotormiquel, Unders, more artists TBA

Book tickets directly

Find a flight to nearby Reno
Keep the good times rolling with a visit to one of these street art festivals this summer or don your swimsuit and drop by one of these epic party beaches around the world

Originally published

1st June 2017