Party on at Europe’s 10 best music festivals
From Beethoven to The Beatles, Europe has produced some of the world’s greatest musicians. It only makes sense that a continent that shaped so many musical legends also hosts legendary music festivals. Whether you’re a veteran of Bonnaroo or looking to cure the summer blues, consider taking a trip to one of these European musical events this summer.
1. PINKPOP – Landgraaf, Netherlands
If your tastes lean toward rock ‘n roll, PINKPOP is the perfect destination. Since 1970, rock and pop legends have graced the festival’s stages, including Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Though only six acts have been announced so far, the lineup already includes Muse, the Foo Fighters and Rise Against. PINKPOP runs June 12-14 in .
2. Sónar – Barcelona, Spain
EDM fans should plan a trip to in late June and check out Sónar. The festival is divided into two locations: Sónar by Day, held in Fira Montjuïc and Sónar by Night, held in Fira Gran Via de L'Hospitalet. Sónar features well-known artists along with budding performers. If you can’t make it to Barcelona, the festival also has an international presence, with upcoming events in Copenhagen and Reykjavik, Iceland.
3. INmusic –
If getting down and dirty isn’t your style, head to INmusic, an up-and-coming festival, from June 22-24, which spans three islands: the Isle of Youth, Trešnjevka Island and the Univerzijada Island. In addition to the festival itself, INmusic offers the chance to camp on Trešnjevka and Univerzijada from June 19-25. Campsites come equipped with hot water and free Wi-Fi, and offer activities ranging from sporting events to tours around the area.
4. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts –
Since 1970, Michael Eavis, has hosted this quirky festival on his own expansive farmland at the end of June. Though headliners will not be announced until spring, world-renowned acts ranging from Paul McCartney to Beyoncé have previously graced its stages. In 2014, there were twenty-five areas to explore, from Babylon Uprising, described as one of the festival’s “secret jewels,” to the Unfairground, which had sideshows and sculptures, alongside the musical acts. Though tickets are currently sold out, there will be a resale of returned tickets in the spring.
5. Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark
has been completely non-profit since 1972. This year’s notable acts include St. Vincent, Pharrell Williams and Muse, with more to come. International visual artists and other various performers will also be featured at the festival, though the website promises “you’ll find no white museum walls here.”
6. Les Eurockéennes de Belfort –
Like Roskilde, Eurockéennes is a non-profit event that stresses environmental awareness, with on-site bicycles and free shuttles from nearby Belfort. There is also a team of volunteers working to make sure the festival is accessible for those with limited mobility, hearing or sight. So far, The Chemical Brothers and the rock legend Sting are both scheduled to perform.
7. Dour Festival – Dour, Belgium
If your tastes tend more toward alternative artists, make Belgium your festival destination. offers stages featuring indie and alternative, reggae, hip-hop, metal, electronic and more. With something for everyone and plenty of room for musical experimentation, Dour is the perfect place for fans looking to expand their horizons.
8. EXIT Festival – Novi Sad, Serbia
What began as a student movement for peace in , blossomed into an award-winning, non-profit festival. EXIT is known for its varied performers, including past appearances ranging from Snoop Dogg to Duran Duran, as well as for its location in the Petrovaradin Fortress. After the festival is over, continue the fun at the affiliated Sea Dance Festival from July 16-18 at Jaz Beach in Budva, Montenegro.
9. Secret Garden Party – Abbots Ripton, England
All you have to do is visit this independent festival’s funky website to realize how wild Secret Garden Party is. This may be the only festival where, along with music and art, there is the chance to walk on fire, participate in a giant paint war and join a parade. This year’s theme is “Childish Things,” so release your inner child and head to for the craziest garden party you will ever attend.
10. Sziget Festival – Budapest, Hungary
Described as the Island of Freedom, Sziget is a weeklong extravaganza that promises a range of music and events. Festival-goers, called Szitizens, who are looking for a break can relax on the beach or venture into and explore the city’s history and culture. Notable acts announced so far include Florence and the Machine, alt-J and AWOLNATION.