6 to try: Summer music festivals

More of the best European music festivals this summer


When and where: Gdynia, Poland, July 3-6.

The line-up: This genre-hopping schedule includes a lot of the big acts already touring Europe this summer, including Blur, Queens of the Stone Age, Kings of Leon, Skunk Anansie and Arctic Monkeys, while Rihanna has announced she will also play in Poland on the day after the concert ends.

The crowd: With a fashion stage and an art section, the feel is bound to be more on the artistic and creative side than some of the other concert options this summer.

The rest: This festival also features a heavy ‘green’ aspect – in 2010 the event won the international Green’n’Clean Award for its environmental credentials.

Tickets: A four-day pass costs from Dhs544 without camping, and Dhs637 with. One- and two-day tickets are also available through the festival’s website. Aeroflot flies to Warsaw from around Dhs2,233.


When and where: Benicàssim, Spain, July 18-21.

The line-up: Another big line-up and another opportunity to catch some of the summer festival stalwarts, such as The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Dizzee Rascal and Kaiser Chiefs.

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

The rest: Given the festival’s size, sideshows tend to be commercially orientated – think sponsored bars, markets and silent disco tents.

Tickets: Four-day passes with camping cost around Dhs835. Swiss flies to Valencia from around Dhs2,970.


When and where: Tromsø, Norway, July 18-20.

The line-up: No superstars here, but a fine roster of up-and-coming acts and comeback efforts, with The Hives, Kaisers Orchestra and Witchcraft among the programme.

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 environmental focus; drop empty drinks cups into designated recycling stations to earn money for local charities.

Tickets: A three-day pass costs about Dhs901 and can be bought via the festival’s website. SAS flies to Tromsø from around Dhs3,866.

Notodden Blues Festival

When and where: Notodden, Norway, August 1-4.

The line-up: One of the largest blues music festivals in Europe and the largest in Scandinavia, acts announced so far include John Mayall, Royal Southern Brotherhood and Mike Anderson.

The crowd: A good portion of the audience will probably look like they’re in ZZ Top tribute bands – some of them because they are.

The rest: A fully-loaded market square, structured discussions about the blues genre and late-night parties mean there’s plenty to do once the acts step off stage.

Tickets: A weekend pass costs around Dhs1,320. KLM flies to Oslo from around Dhs2,433.

Rock en Seine

When and where: Paris, France, August 23-25.

The line-up: Emo-styled indie band Placebo and veteran punk stalwarts Green Day have played in previous years, while the acts so far announced this year include Phoenix, System of a Down and Paul Kalkbrenner, with more to follow soon.

The crowd: With no specific musical niche being catered for at this event, you should encounter a fairly mainstream bunch, with ageing, pasty emo devotees likely to stand out against a backdrop of Converse-clad indie kids.

The rest: Expect the usual stuff you find at commercial fests – silent discos, video games stands, vintage markets and so on.

Tickets: From Dhs523 for individual day passes. Camping passes to be released soon. Emirates flies to Paris from around Dhs3,950.

Electric Picnic

When and where: Stradbally, Ireland, August 30-September 1.

The line-up: This is the tenth birthday of the festival, but no acts had been announced at the time of going to press. Previous headliners have included the likes of The Killers, The Cure, Elbow, Sigur Rós and Orbital, to name but a few.

The crowd: It’s usually a young congregation, and this year’s line-up and the special celebration will attract plenty of punters wearing wellington boots with skinny jeans.

The rest: There are tents for comedy and the spoken word, theatre and circus performances, plus loads, loads more.

Tickets: A weekend camping ticket costs around Dhs1,105, while a single ticket is from Dhs478. Turkish Airlines flies to Dublin from around Dhs2,542.

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