Want a music-inspired summer holiday? We hop across the globe to bring you ten of the best festivals you simply must not miss if you’re a fan of alternative, electronic and pop beats – all taking place over the next three months.
Festival for: Beach enthusiasts and pretty folk.
2015 Highlights: Blur, Mark Ronson, Florence + the Machine.
There are a few reasons the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim is one of Europe’s most enduringly popular weekends for artists and music fans alike. There’s the pretty town of Benicàssim itself, a 20 minute stumble away from the main site. There’s the fact that the music doesn’t really get going till the sun goes down, and then doesn’t really stop until it comes up again. And it just happens to be one of the most consistently strongest line-ups in all of indie festivaldom.
July 16-19. Spain.
Electric Daisy Carnival
Festival for: High rollers and the glow stick industry.
2015 highlights: Afrojack, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Diplo, Tiësto.
Las Vegas is like no place on Earth, a combination of Dubai’s luxury and a Disneyland for adults. On the outskirts of town at the Motor Speedway, Electric Daisy Carnival is pure, condensed Vegas. There is a VIP ferris wheel. Helicopters shuttle in high rollers. Every millionaire DJ that plays the laser-riddled nightclubs on the strip is here. Once you let the neon wash over you, it is the time of your life.
June 19-21. Las Vegas, US.
Festival for: Vinyl buyers and celebrity shunners.
2015 highlights: Frank Ocean, Morrissey, D’Angelo, Belle & Sebastian.
FYF has become a major park-filler festival. The headliners are as a rule deeply cool, with names like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Phoenix. The rest of the bill eschews filler, putting the buzziest names in underground dance, garage, metal and minimalist electronic in the mix.
August 22-23. Los Angeles, US.
Festival for: Ageing hippies.
2015 highlights: Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Pharrell Williams.
These days as much a TV event as a place to head to with a ticket and a tent, the granddaddy of British music festivals is more and more the festival for granddaddies. It’s not only Lionel Richie, George Clinton and Motörhead wrinkling up the bill this year – with Suede and The Chemical Brothers in full retro effect, it looks like a 1995 festival line-up fossilised in amber.
June 24-28. Somerset, UK.
Festival for: People born in the ’90s.
2015 highlights: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Sam Smith.
Catch the hundreds of acts across eight stages at this alternative music fest conceived by Perry Farrell of ’80s rock band Jane’s Addiction. Get your groove on at Perry’s Stage, an EDM festival-within-a-festival in its own right. Then, after ten hours in the park, the action disperses to Chicago’s clubs for dozens of after parties… If your feet can make it.
July 31-August 2. Chicago, US.
Festival for: Beat snobs of every stripe.
2015 highlights: Jurassic 5, Kate Tempest, Wiley.
House, techno, dubstep, reggae, hip-hop and grime come together at Outlook, the largest Soundsystem Culture festival in Europe. The setting is stunning: a 2000-year-old Roman Amphitheatre and an abandoned 19th century fortress, in the city of Pula, next to the sparkling blue Adriatic. For bass music aficionados, this is an unmissable feast.
September 2-6. Pula, Croatia.
Festival for: Teenagers.
2015 highlights: The Libertines, Metallica, Mumford & Sons.
There’s wall to wall rock from some of the biggest bands at this good old fashioned festival – one of the UK’s most established. When we say old fashioned, we mean minus some of the luxuries associated with boutique fests, like edible food and pretentious ‘art happenings’. So don’t expect to be pampered; but do expect plenty of great music. In 2015, the big news is the return of The Libertines and headline sets from Metallica and Mumford & Sons.
August 28-30. Reading, UK.
Splendour in the Grass
Festival for: Party-starting intellectuals.
2015 highlights: Blur, Florence + the Machine, Ryan Adams.
After 14 years, Splendour in the Grass is becoming something of an Aussie institution, with 30,000 punters regularly making the trip to North Byron Highlands for three days of fine music, art and camping. Reunited Britpoppers Blur, Florence + the Machine and Mark Ronson headline, with able support from Tame Impala and Wombats. You can also exercise your brain at the Splendour forum: home to talks, comedy shows and much philosophical pondering.
July 24-26. Byron Bay, Australia.
Festival for: Culture vultures and music magpies.
2015 highlights: Robbie Williams, Florence + the Machine, Alt J.
Sziget regularly attracts more than 350,000 revellers to its charming island location in the heart of Budapest. The sheer scale of the festival – 50 venues and 200 daily performances over seven days – is dizzying. Musically, there’s everything from big names – this year: Florence + the Machine, Kasabian, Paloma Faith – to smaller acts performing metal, jazz, and folk.
August 10-17. Budapest, Hungary
Festival for: Glitter-strewn, EDM-loving social butterflies.
2015 highlights: Alesso, David Guetta, Carl Cox.
The Belgian festival, based in the appropriately named town of Boom, has attracted the biggest DJs and electronic music makers in the world for more than ten years now – topping the bill in 2015: Alesso, Avicii, David Guetta and Carl Cox. Fest-goers can expect 15 stages of music, volcanoes, giant disco balls, even bigger butterflies and industrial-sized quantities of confetti. Magic.
July 24-26. Boom, Belgium.