What are the key ingredients for a great, unforgettable party? The answers probably range from great company (no party poopers or cell phone addicts allowed) and plenty of drinks to a super-charged atmosphere and great music. What if we told you that we found six parties that fit the description to a T and, on average, 40,000 fun-hungry people will attend each one? Would you go? This summer, Europe is party central and, in particular, so are the six music festivals that take place from Belgium and Hungary to the UK and Serbia. If you are planning a music-themed getaway, please pick your favorite from the list below. Trust us, whichever you choose, you won’t regret it. On the contrary…. So, in no particular order, here are the best music festivals in Europe for the Summer of 2015.
1. Roskilde Festival – This is the biggest music festival in Denmark and one of the largest gatherings in Europe. It takes place in the namesake town of Roskilde, only 20km from the Danish capital of Copenhagen. It’s also one of the European festivals with the longest tradition. It was created 44 years ago by two high school students Mogens Sandfær and Jesper Switzer Møller, and over the past four decades it’s turned into one of the best, most respected, most visited and most exciting festivals on the old continent.
It takes place from June 27 to July 4. We have come to expect nothing but quality from Roskilde and this year’s lineup lives up to the festival’s reputation – Paul McCartney, Disclosure, Florence + the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, Mew, Muse, Die Antwoord, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Nicki Minaj, and a slew of other bands and musicians. Roskilde has nine impressive stages and a campsite that spans 80 hectares of land. The entrance to the campsite is included in the ticket price and it usually opens on Sunday morning prior to the festival itself.
2. EXIT Festival + Sea Dance – “Best Major European Festival” (5th Annual European Festival Awards), “The Most Vibrant Celebration of Music” (CNN), “The Best Festival in the World in” (The Guardian and The New York Times), “The audience was fantastic, kids travelling in from all across the region, gave us a great welcome which made for a career high!” – John Taylor, Duran Duran, “It has a crazy wild side that only very few festivals have. Bring us back again, we f*****g love it. Come on!!!” – The Prodigy.
These are just some of the compliments that the EXIT Festival has received over the last 15 years. This festival takes place in a medieval fortress in Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia. Since 2000, over 2.5 million people from 60 countries visited the festival which originally started as a student movement rebelling against the then president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic. Today, EXIT Festival is an impressive celebration of great and diverse music. There are 20 stages that will suit ever musical taste including the Dance Arena, the Explosive Stage and the Fusion Stage. This year, EXIT Festival will take place from July 9 to July 12 with performers like Faithless, Manu Chao, Motorhead, John Newman, Hardwell, Roisin Murphy, The Prodigy, Emeli Sande, Rudimental, Odesza and Sigma. And this is just a fraction of the musicians that will take part in this year’s EXIT.
There is another festival in the area that’s organized by the same people as EXIT but it takes place in the neighboring country of Montenegro on a beautiful beach near a coastal town of Budva. It’s called Sea Dance and is considered a sort of part two of EXIT. This year, Sea Dance takes place from July 15 to July 18 and the lineup is very similar to EXIT’s. So, if you prefer to listen to your favorite performers on a sandy beach, than Sea Dance is just the thing for you.
3. Sziget Festival, Hungary – After experiencing EXIT, you should definitely pop over to Hungary (which borders Serbia) to the country’s capital Budapest, and visit the festival that’s a 24-hour-party train. The festival takes place on a leafy island on the river Danube on 108 hectare patch of land. Just like EXIT, Sziget (meaning “island” in Hungarian) started off as a low profile student event back in 1993 to become one of the biggest and most prominent music festivals in Europe. The British newspaper ‘The Independent’ ranked the Sziget Festival one of the 5 best festivals in Europe in 2011. In 2009, the festival had an incredible 390,000 visitors.
As far as the 2015 lineup, it reads like who is who in the music industry – Robbie Williams, Avicii, Ellie Goulding, Florence + The Machine, Limp Bizkit, Paloma Faith, Interpol, Kasabian, Alt-J, Gogol Bordello, End Show With Martin Garrix… Sziget Festival also has a cultural side to it too. The festival has its own circus, there is the Giant Street Theater, and a luminarium (an 800 square meter inflatable sculpture made up of colorful labyrinthine tunnels and spacious domes).
4. TomorrowLand, Belgium – If there is a European version of the famous Burning Man Festival, than TommorrowLand has to be it. This is the biggest electronic music festival in the world which takes place in the town aptly called Boom, situated 32km north of Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. How can we describe TommorrowLand to you without doing any injustice to it? In the case of this festival, seeing is believing – from the futuristic looking stages and incredible atmosphere to diverse crowds (India, Australia, Russia, Germany, Chile, Canada, Spain, South Korea) and 400 DJs, blasting out music 24/7.
This year, the festival will be held from July 24 to July 26 and the lineup includes Avicii, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Dubfire, Solomun, MC Gunner, Alesso, Cajmere, Jamie Jones, Patric Topping, Smos and the Martinez Brothers. TommorowLand’s camp grounds are called DreamVille where, apart from the place to pitch up your tent, you will also find tea houses, bakeries and community centers.
5. Isle of Wight Festival, UK – The Isle of Wight Festival is one of those iconic festivals that it seems it’s been around forever. It started as a counterculture event in 1968, lasted until 1970 and was revived in 2002. It was made famous thanks to Bob Dylan who had his first performance there after his motorbike accident in 1969. By the way, the Isle of Wight is one of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom and the second biggest island there. It’s approximately 4 miles off the coast of the Hampshire County and you will have to take a hovercraft to get it from mainland.
Back to the festival…. It’s known around the world for its heritage, as well as for mixing the most popular artists with the hottest up and coming acts. This year, the festival will be held from June 11 to June 14, and the lineup so far includes Fleetwood Mac, Blur, The Prodigy, Billy Idol, The Black Keys, Pharrell Williams, Paolo Nutini, Counting Crows, Kool & The Gang, Suzanne Vega, Groove Armada and many more. Just like most open air festivals, the Isle of Wight Festival also has its own campsite but if you aren’t too keen on sleeping on the ground after a day of partying, there are many other options for accommodation nearby.
6. Oasis – Although this is not a European festival per se (it takes place in the stunning city of Marrakech in Morocco), we wanted to tell you all about it for two reasons. The first one is that this is a must see festival for all the fans of EDM, trap, techno, deep house and dubstep. And the second reason is a bit more personal but as equally important to us – our friends Blond:ish are performing there, and if you decide to go, please give them a special shout out on our behalf.
The Oasis Festival is happening from September 11 to September 13 and the lineup includes Derrick Carter, DJ Harvey, Matthew Dear, Dyed Soundroom, Eli & Fur, MANIK, Danny Daze, My Favorite Robot, and DJ Tennis while Cassy and tINI will be performing a special back-to-back set. The Oasis Festival is also the perfect festival for all of you who cannot imagine summer without hitting the surf. The team who organizes the Oasis Festival teamed up with Sustain the Stoke (STS) to give you a seven-day-immersive trip which includes surf breaks and dune drops just before the start of the Festival.