Didn’t get a Glastonbury ticket? Bit bored of Bestival? Scared of the potential wash out at Field Day? There’s no doubt the UK knows how to put on a great music festival, but so do our good friends over in Europe. They do it really well. You’ll find the same great bands, the world’s top DJs, and a much higher chance of that big shiny yellow thing in the sky making an appearance.
Plus, it’s also the perfect opportunity to discover the festival’s home town and surrounding cities. I spent two days falling in love with Barcelona before the Sonar festival, and I quite fancy the idea of heading to Croatia’s Unknown via Venice and Slovenia…
So let’s see what’s out there, and take at look at 14 of Europe’s best music festivals in 2014.
10–13 July 2014 | Serbia | Website
Exit’s just been named the ‘Best European Festival’ by those in the know at the EU Festival Awards – massive congrats, guys! This year sees its 15th run, and to celebrate, their hosting the Exit Adventure; as well as their usual four day music fest, they’ve added the Sea Dance Festival over in sunny Montenegro. Seven days, two countries, and a whole lot of good music.
If Exit is on your festival to do list, head over to our website where we’ve got a mighty six day Exit package that includes a festival ticket, accommodation, breakfasts, river cruise, and some down time and culture in the grand city of Budapest. All for just £399!
Recover from Exit at Montenegro's Jaz Beach - the location for Sea Dance Festival
12-14 June 2014 | Barcelona, Spain | Website
Sonar is 21! And boy, do they have a line up that’s worthy of any bearded hipster’s 21st birthday party. With Four Tet, Caribou, Bonobo, Richie Hawtin and Rudimental already on the list, this Barcelona based music and arts festival is probably in my top 3 of 2014. It might even be my Top 1.
3. Meadows in the Mountains
13-15 June 2014 | Polkovnik Serafimovo, Bulgaria | Website
It’s inspired by the Burning Man festival and Bulgarian revolutionaries. Enough said ― get me a ticket. If you’ve ever wanted to frolic through a mountainscape to the backdrop of jazz, folk and house music (while covered in face paint, obviously), then get yourself to the Meadow. The 2014 line-up is yet to be released, but it previous acts include Crazy P, Will Saul and Feel My Bicep.
4. Worldwide Festival
30 June-6 July 2014 | Sète, France | Website
Now in it’s ninth year, Giles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival has built up a credible reputation amongst music lovers. It has an eclectic mix of acoustic, percussion, and house based performers, and this year sees Osulade and Shigeto on the line-up. With previous acts including Floating Points, JETS and Ben UFO, you know it’s going to get better.
5. The Garden Festival
2-9 July 2014 | Tisno, Croatia | Website
It’s no surprise that Croatia is the go-to destination for a European music festival ― it’s got sun, sea, beaches and beautiful scenery. Last time I checked, these lay the perfect foundations for the perfect festival. The Garden Festival attracts a large, young and happy crowd, who love dancing to the likes of Ben UFO, Midland and Eats Everything. The Garden Tisno also does the best chicken wraps you will ever eat. Fact.
Make sure you explore Tisno town when you're heading to the Garden Festival
6. Main Square
3-6 July 2014 | Arras, France | Website
With only 2 stages and roughly 40 acts, this festival is small but it sure packs in a whole lot of atmosphere. From Disclosure to Depeche Mode, The Chemical Brothers to MGMT, there’s something for everyone and you’re guaranteed a good time.
7. Electric Elephant
10 – 14 July 2014 | Tisno, Croatia | Website
Also taking place at the stunning Garden Tisno, Electric Elephant follows directly on from the Garden Festival. The crowd is smaller, but there’s still the fun time vibe you know and love, and if you like dancing your days away to disco beats and the likes of Bob Marley then you’re in for a treat.
8. Primavera Sound
29-31 May 2014 | Barcelona, Spain | Website
Primavera Sound have been offering the best rock, pop and underground dance acts for over a decade now. Anyone who’s currently having chart success will be there, as well as those who will be having chart success this time next year. We’ve just not heard of them yet. Queen’s of the Stone Age have just been added to an already mouth watering line-up of Arcade Fire, The Pixies, Disclosure, Slowdive, Haim and Sky Ferreira. Wow.
9. Dour Festival
17–20 July 2014 | Dour, Belgium | Website
Dour Festival describes itself as ‘5 days of love and alternative music’. If you like throwing some shapes to a bit of hip-hop and house, and love nothing more than seeing live bands, then the Dour Festival is your new best friend. Last year saw the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and the Smashing Pumpkins, and this year they have Machinedrum, Phoneix and Boys Noize confirmed. Winner.
18–20 and 25–27 July 2014 | Boom, Belgium | Website
To celebrate their 10th year, Tomorrowland is taking place on two weekends. So there’s more chance of getting a ticket. Boom! Tomorroland is the ultimate festival for those of you that love EDM, and want to rave in what can only be described as the setting of Alice in Wonderland.
11. Melt Festival
18–20 July 2014 | Ferropolis, Germany | Website
Germany’s known for hosting some incredible DJs, and Melt certainly helps it live up to this accolade. Always managing to grab the bands of the moment, last year saw Disclosure, Alt-J, and Everything Everything. So who’s attending 2014 so far? Haim, Metronomy, Royksopp and Jagwa Ma to name a few…
12. Sziget Festival
11-18 August 2014 | Sziget, Budpaest | Website
Based on a beautiful ‘Island of freedom’ in Budpaest, Sziget festival attracts nearly 400,000 people from all over Europe, and offers up 50 venues and over 200 music, theatre and circus shows. It’s BIG. Queen’s of the Stone Age, Bastille and Calvin Harris are already confirmed.
The calm before the musical storm at Sziget Festival
8-12 September 2014 | Rovinj, Croatia | Website
Unknown is the brainchild of the guys behind Warehouse Project and Field Day, so it’s no surprise it sold out in it’s first year. The line-up for 2014 hasn’t been announced, but last year included Clean Bandit, The Horrors and Django Django for those into bands, and Dixon, Cyril Hanh and Four Tet for the techno heads.
14. Iceland Airwaves
5–9 November 2014 | Reykjavik, Iceland | Website
Spend your days relaxing in the Blue Lagoon’s hot springs (blissful after a few too many drinks the night before) and soaking up Reykjavik’s culture, and your nights partying until 4am to amazing bands and DJs. Confirmed acts include the Flaming Lips and East India Youth. This festival needs to be on your radar.