The world’s best summer festivals

If you’re looking for a musical escape before summer is over, try one of Andrew Wagstaff’s top global picks

Leeds and Reading Festivals
Leeds and Reading Festivals
David Guetta
David Guetta
Muse
Muse
Alison Goldfrapp
Alison Goldfrapp
Paolo Nutini
Paolo Nutini
Juan Maclean
Juan Maclean
Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music
Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music
Dizzee Rascal
Dizzee Rascal
MIA
MIA
1/9
Leeds and Reading Festivals

August 27-29 Leeds/Reading, UK

Line-up The Libertines, Guns n’ Roses, Alkaline Trio, Dizzee Rascal, The Maccabees, Arcade Fire, Blink 182, Mystery Jets, Queens of the Stone Age

It’s worth braving the hordes of teenage ravers to spend the August bank holiday listening to some of the world’s best bands at this two-venue festival. Whether you’re north or south of London, you’ll never be far from great music.

We’re watching Foxy Shazam – amazing Freddy Mercury-esque vocals from one of the ‘gonna-be’ bands of 2010.

Creamfields

August 28-29 Cheshire, UK

Line-up David Guetta, Tiësto, Calvin Harris, Judge Jules, Crookers, Eric Prydz, Paul Van Dyk, Deadmau5, Sasha

After hitting Abu Dhabi last December, Creamfields sets up camp in the UK again for its annual dance festival. World-class DJs and the possibility to indulge in ‘glamping’ (camping with hot showers and posh toilets) should ensure an epic weekend.

We’re watching Boemklatsch, a brilliant Dutch electronic band with a huge following in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Frequency

August 19-21 Salzburg, Austria

Line-up
Muse, La Roux, The Specials, The Gaslight Anthem, The Cribs, Klaxons, Wir Sind Helden, We Are Scientists, Die Toten Hosen

Alternative names from the mainstream music scene make their home in Salzburg’s Green Park this August. There’s a healthy mix of well-known Anglophone artists and home-grown Germanic talent.

We’re watching
Tiefschwarz. We first saw these German brothers behind the decks at Madinat Rooftop last month and their deep house mixes left us eager for more.

Pukkelpop

August 19-21 Hasselt, Belgium

Line-up Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age, Placebo, White Lies, Snow Patrol, Goldfrapp, The Prodigy, Pendulum

Although this is only the second-biggest festival in Belgium, it’s definitely an undiscovered gem. Eight different stages play host to a wealth of big names, and tickets include free train travel to the festival from any Belgian station.

We’re watching School Is Cool – we predict a breakthrough on the indie scene for this Belgian band, who cite everyone from the Pixies to Handel as their influences.

Rock en Seine

August 27-29 Paris, France

Line-up Stereophonics, The Ting Tings, The Kooks, Arcade Fire, Massive Attack, Beast, Blink 182, Paolo Nutini, 2ManyDJs

For such a brilliant line-up packed with British and North American bands, it’s strange that few global festival-goers make the journey to Paris – this one is normally a Gallic-only affair. We think it’s time to break this trend.

We’re watching I Am Un Chien!! – a super-cool French electro-rock group who are quickly gaining beaucoup de groupies on their home soil.


Electric Elephant

August 27-29 Petrcane, Croatia

Line-up The Phantom Band, Jesca Hoop, Plugs, Architeq, François K, Soundstream, Juan Maclean, Stefano, Don Letts

This inventively-named festival boasts a mammoth list of DJs and live artists. Twilight boat parties on the Adriatic and a late-night cinema club make this festival as much about the experience as its beats.

We’re watching Hannah Peel – think Soko meets Florence and the Machine. Hannah supported singer-songwriter Duke Special on tour this year.

Electric Picnic

September 3-5 Stradbally, County Laois, Ireland

Line-up Roxy Music, Mr Scruff, PiL, Leftfield, Massive Attack, Friendly Fires, The National, Wolf Parade, Two Door Cinema Club

Ireland’s Glastonbury equivalent has now overtaken Oxegen to become the most popular festival on the Emerald Isle. A deliciously varied line-up and quirky silent discos will please the crowd this September.

We’re watching
Beardyman – the two-times UK beatbox champion has become an internet sensation. Must be seen to be believed.

Bestival

September 9-12 Isle of Wight, UK

Line-up Dizzee Rascal, The Flaming Lips, The Prodigy, Mumford & Sons, Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Hot Chip, Ellie Goulding

One of the quirkier events on the UK festival calendar, big names are supported by lesser-known bands, and Bestival has become a breeding ground for new talent. This year’s fancy-dress theme is ‘fantasy’, so dig out those old Halloween costumes as well as your wellies.

We’re watching Babybird. Formed in 1995 (remember ‘You’re Gorgeous’?), this Sheffield band returned to the scene in 2010 with a new album.

Virgin Mobile Free Fest

September 25 Maryland, USA

Line-up Jimmy Eat World, Pavement, Thievery Corporation, Yeasayer, LCD Soundsystem, Ludacris, MIA

Last year, this festival raised more than US$80,000 (Dhs294,000) for youth homelessness charities and this year it’s hoping to beat that target. Great performers and a woodland location draw a chilled-out crowd to this popular one-day festival.

We’re watching Die Antwoord – this South African hip-hop group have clocked up more than five million views on YouTube of their single ‘Enter the Ninja’. We love it.

Parklife Sydney

October 3 Sydney, Australia

Line-up
Groove Armada, The Wombats, Missy Elliot, The Dandy Warhols, Kele, Soulwax

Though this dance music festival tours five Australian cities during September and October, there’s no better place to catch these acts than beside Moore Park’s Kippax Lake. Dedicated to dance, past events have drawn a very lively crowd, and this year looks set to be every bit as energetic.

We’re watching Ajax. Named as ‘one to watch’ by artists including Mylo and Tiga, we’re clambering over women and children to bag a spot near the front for this DJ set.

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