It’s May and festival season is just about to get into full swing. If you find yourself around the European continent this summer, though, what can you expect to see?
Rock en Seine, Paris, France
While its name might say otherwise, Paris’ best festival is a diverse, eclectic take on modern-day music that takes a selection of the brightest English language talent, throws in some local French artists and creates a hipster haven for those attendees. This year Kasabian, The Libertines, Chemical Brothers and alt-j are just a handful of the top acts on show, with the growth of the festival going from just two stages to its current five, there’s a lot on offer throughout the day on each day for all types of music fan. And with the great city of Paris just a metro ride away, for those who want a break from the music, a visit to the city could be on the cards.
Totalling at £75 for a three-day extravaganza, and just over the pond for the British, it offers a great alternative to the behemoths on offer within the British Isles.
Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona may have a number of exceptional music festivals, but the Catalan branch of the Primavera Sound branch is the best of the bunch. With a stage right on the coastline offering exceptional views of the lush tide, just a ride away from the city, it’s a perfect setting for a party. 2015 sees the likes of Run the Jewels, Patti Smith and Simian Mobile Disco on offer. It’s another exceptionally diverse line-up that promises a lot of different options to the music fans in attendance. It all kicks off in a couple of weeks time, as one of the first major events on the Euro festival calendar, expect some highlights in the Catalan sun.
Rock Werchter, Werchter, Belgium
Priced at £170 and rolling in on the same weekend as Glastonbury, this Belgian festival shares many of the same artists with the uber-cool British gathering. This year the major draw will be Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz and Chemical Brothers, some interesting performances there to be sure. Another look at the line-up will again tell you that the name of the festival isn’t the only genre on offer. With four days of rock, electronica and increasing levels of hip-hop, it’s Belgium’s biggest music gathering and rivals the experiences that you’ll have within Britain, or even, daresay it, the mighty Californian staplemark that is Coachella.
Mandrea Music Festival, Trentino, Italy
Reeling things back a little, the perfect setting of Lake Garda at the foot of the Italian Alps, Mandrea is a perfect antidote to the big, corporate shindigs that many of the festivals on this list represent. It’s a throwback to festivals of times gone by, from the hippie-style campsite, to the folk and reggae vibes that are on display on the sprawling campsite. With mountain biking and rock climbing also on offer, the £52 weekender offers a great getaway and alternative to the other offerings, Trentino isn’t a big city by any stretch, and the weekend may well only appeal to few, but it looks like a viable for option for those with festival fatigue.
Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark
Denmark isn’t a particularly well thought of nation when it comes to music and its impact on the industry. However, strip yourself of those thoughts and take a look at a festival began in 1972 by a couple of students. Roskilde is established just 20 miles away from Copenhagen, meaning visitors to the festival could take a look at the capital city that bewitches so many.Taking place in the heart of summer, end of June, and proving a little pricy, coming closer to £200, but with Muse, Pharrell Williams and the country’s own Mew, the line-up is of the highest order.
Lollapolooza Berlin, Germany
Rivalling Bestival as one of the latest and greatest end-of-festival season weekenders, Lollapalooza Berlin is a continental take on the American classic, and a two-day sojourn for those interested in indie and pop music. It’s cheap and offers the opportunity to time in a trip to the city with so much history, in the middle of September. With hot artists like James Bay and Wolf Alice alongside the established stars, Fatboy Slim, Sam Smith and Tame Impala, with one last big announcement to come at the start of June. It’s an exciting festival with the potential for exponential growth.
Flow, Helsinki, Finland
Taking place in the wonderful surroundings of Helsinki, with an intriguing mixture of old and fresh architecture, the Finnish festival offers a lot of English language artists, in varying genres. Major Lazer, Chic, Pet Shop Boys and Florence + the Machine, are just a clutch of the stars. For those willing to take a chance on a fresh, new environment, the stellar list of acts might just be the festival and chance to try something new. And who knows, with the clutch of unknown European talent on offer, a new fan favourite could be discovered simultaneously.
Sziget, Budapest, Hungary
The ultimate week-long getaway, the island just a stones throw away from Budapest, and is a much-hyped mega festival. And yes I said WEEK-LONG. Coming in at the price of your average big festival, with showers, camping and all that important stuff included, Sziget is making a legitimate claim to becoming one of the biggest, greatest festivals in the world. With the music heavy on some days ahead of others, there’s also the opportunity to escape the island for a beautiful city in Budapest, too. On offer this year, though, are Future Islands, Jungle, Florence, Robbie Williams, Enter Shikari, Tyler the Creator, alt-j and Foals. And to be honest that is not even the pick of the bunch, there are a tonne more options for those attendees. Throw in non-musical activities, like ‘Chill Pools’, art installations, a circus and a theatre, there is a plenty for everyone, even if you just fancy a week off work!
What other hidden-gems have we missed from this exceptional list of European festivals?