World's top summer music festivals

The best music events from New Orleans to Niigata Discuss this article

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Festival Internacional de Benicàssim
When and where?
Benicàssim, Spain, July 12-15.

The line-up: With more European festivals scheduled for this weekend than any other in 2012, competition over the big acts has been fierce. Once again, this phenomenally popular Spanish stalwart has come out on top, bagging plenty of big names inlcuding The Stone Roses, Florence and the Machine, At The Drive-In, David Guetta, Dizzee Rascal and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, among stacks of other huge names.

The crowd: It’s Spain’s biggest music festival and, as such, about as mainstream as they come. You know the deal: Ray-Bans, flip-flops, straw hats and hot pants will be absolutely everywhere – often attached to mud-fearing Brits.

The rest: Given the festival’s size, most of the sideshows here tend to be commercially orientated – think sponsored bars, markets and silent disco tents. Last year there were even on-site branches of H&M and Dr. Martens.

Tickets: Four-day festival passes with camping cost Dhs905.

Getting there: Etihad flied to Madrid via Brussels, with return flights from Dhs3,420.

When and where?
Tromsø, Norway, July 19-21.

The line-up: No superstars here, but a fine roster of up-and-coming acts and comeback efforts, with Thin Lizzy, The Cardigans and Lars Winnerbäck standing out, alongside a strong Norwegian contingent.

The crowd: The organisers’ dedication to promoting home-grown talent means tourists are likely to be outnumbered by locals. Pack a phrasebook.

The rest: Given the natural beauty of the site’s surrounding areas, there’s a strong green focus; guests can drop empty drinks cups into designated recycling stations to earn money for local charities.

Tickets: A three-day pass costs Dhs448.

Getting there: Qatar flies to Oslo via Doha, with return flights from Dhs4,610.

Fuji Rock
When and where?
Niigata, Japan, July 27-29.

The line-up: Japan’s most established music festival looked in trouble last year, after the country’s devastating natural disasters caused several acts to cancel their appearances. Thankfully, this year’s bill is bigger and better, with The Stone Roses, Radiohead, At The Drive-In, Jack White, Elvis Costello and The Specials looking to make up for the disappointment of last year’s understandably subdued festivities.

The crowd: Unlike many festivals, children are more than welcome at Fuji Rock, lending the site and camping areas a slightly more mature, family-friendly vibe.

The rest: There’s loads to do besides gawping at guitarists. Revellers can catch a film at the open-air cinema, get noisy with some drums at the stone circle or chill out in the massage tent.

Dhs1,996 with campsite access, although buying tickets from outside Japan isn’t exactly straightforward.

Getting there: Etihad flies direct to Tokyo, with return flights from Dhs5,650.


Electric Picnic
When and where?
Stradbally, Ireland, August 31-September 2.

The line-up: US rockers The Killers, led by flamoybant frontman Brandon Flowers, will be playing their second and final show of the summer (the first being at the UK’s V Festival two weeks before). The Cure, Elbow, Sigur Rós, Orbital, Hot Chip and The XX will join them at the top of the bill.

The crowd: It’s usually a young congregation and this year’s line-up will exacerbate matters somewhat. Welly-booted rock chicks and their skinny-jeaned admirers will likely dominate, although an older crowd usually congregate in the theatre and comedy tents.

The rest: There are tents for both comedy and spoken-word gigs, theatre and circus performances and loads, loads more – you won’t run out of things to do.

Tickets: A weekend camping ticket costs Dhs1,124, while a Sunday-only ticket is Dhs486.

Getting there: Etihad flies direct to Dublin, with return flights from Dhs3,860.

By David Clack
Time Out Dubai,

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