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Music & Events|The Ultimate Summer Festival Guide

It’s tradition for some people that their summer schedule includes at least one music festival. But with so many on offer, where to begin? It’s always tempting to return to last year’s festival, in an attempt to recreate those magical memories. But Rule Number 1 of festival-going is don’t do the same festival twice in a row: you’ll never recreate memories as magical as the first time around. So mix it up, try a different one each year – with so much variety around the world you really have no excuse.

Our Ultimate Festival Guide is a final summation of all the festivals we’d be attending if money – and limited holiday days – were no object. It’s the summer of OutKast, with their reunion tour taking them to 40 music festivals, so it goes without saying they’ll be making a few appearances in our dream schedule. We’re taking things international, hitting up events far and wide, from Croatia to Japan and a myriad of places inbetween. Don’t feel left out, tickets are still available so all you have to do is whittle your choices down, unless your time and money isn’t stopping you from attending them all.




What: Governors Ball
Where: NYC, USA
When: June 6-8

Lineup: OutKast, Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, Phoenix, Disclosure, Damian Marley, James Blake, Tyler, The Creator, Childish Gambino, Earl Sweatshirt, Chance The Rapper, BANKS and more

Located on Randall’s Island, NYC, this three-day musical extravaganza is known for its presence of rock bands while still catering to a varied audience. This year not only sees the reunion of OutKast but will host a one-off performance from The Strokes. Festivals that offer a more refined selection of genres can often result in a more well-curated festival, but it can also sometimes get a bit tiresome. Governor’s Ball’s variety coupled with its location means its unlikely you’ll be getting bored.

Get your tickets here.




What: Weather Festival
Where: Paris, France
When: June 6 – 9

Lineup: Mount Kimbie, Moritz Von Ozwald Trio Feat. Tony Allen and Max Loderbauer, Derrick May, Riccardo Villalobos, Seth Troxler, Floating Points, Moodymann, Motor City Drum Ensemble and more.

Camping is a cleanliness nightmare, festival sites are just asking for the weather to take a turn for the worse and turn the event into a quagmire, and the accumulating piles of rubbish quickly start to kill the vibe. Weather Festival swerves all of these predicaments by locating the events at various venues across Paris, Le Bourget, Bobigny and Montreuil. The festival events all take place in the evening, which is when the majority of festival-fun takes place, and won’t interfere with your hangover coping mechanisms.

Get your tickets here.




What: Bonnaroo
Where: Manc, Tennessee, USA
When: June 12 – 15

Lineup: Kanye West, Phoenix, Arctic Monkeys, Frank Ocean, The Flaming Lips, Wiz Khalifa, Disclosure, Lauryn Hill, Little Dragon, A$AP Ferg, Pusha T, Danny Brown and more.

When I was younger, Bonnaroo was number one on my festival hitlist because it seemed to combine all things great about British-style festivals with the location, weather and musical offerings of the USA. And now, it still all seems true. The lineup features Highsnobiety regulars including, of course, ol’ Yeezy. And elsewhere the festival has a wealthy offering of alternative arts entertainments, including a 35-foot inflatable water slide.

Get your tickets here.




What: Sonar Festival
Where: Barcelona, Spain
When: June 12 – 14

Lineup: CHIC Feat. Nile Rodgers, Caribou, Woodkid, Lykke Li, Four Tet, Todd Terje, DJ Harvey, Theo Parrish, Oneohtrix Point Never, Ron Morelli and more.

It really doesn’t take much to coax me over to Barcelona. Throw music and DJs and parties into the mix and it’s a done deal. Sonar has always maintained a focus on what it calls “progressive music and multimedia arts.” Call it what you want, I’m down for it. It takes place at various venues around Barcelona, and with a lineup full of DJs and dance music, after-parties mean the revelry continues on into the night. This has resulted in so-called “Off-Sonar,” which is where party-goers skip the day events in favor of the nighttime ones. Which does make sense when Barcelona has a beach to offer.

Get your tickets here.



What: Electric Forest
Where: Rothbury, USA
When: June 26 – 29

Lineup: Lauryn Hill, Flying Lotus, Cut Copy, Moby, Classixx ScHoolboy Q, Aloe Blacc, Art Department, Cashmere Cat, Catz n Dogz, Jimmy Edgar, Soul Clap, Kaytranada and more

More and more festivals are beginning to focus on senses other than audio – with spectacular results from some – and Electric Forest is definitely one of them. It’s a four-day multi-genre event that focuses on dance and electronic music, helping bring the forest decorations to life. The trees glow with neon lights and the forest is scattered with surprise art installations, hidden treehouses and secret parties. All of which allows you to create your own individual experience of the festival, to the tune of your own schedule.

Get your tickets here.



What: MOMA PS1 Warm-Up
Where: NYC, USA
When: June 28 – September 6

Lineup: Stay tuned for the lineup

Perhaps not the traditional definition of a music festival, MOMA PS1 Warm-Up no doubt still ticks all the boxes and then some. Taking place every Saturday from 3:00 – 9:00 p.m. between June 28 and September 6 in MOMA PS1′s courtyard, the outdoor music event will be doing its best at showcasing a variety of experimental live music, sound and DJs to its audience. Although yet to release its lineup, you can have good faith that the strong curatorial committee will cook up a sonic storm. Warm-Up will also feature a feast for the eyes, with art installations from local New York design talent.

Tickets will be available early June from MOMA PS1.



What: Roskilde Festival
Where: Roskilde, Denmark
When: June 29 – July 6

Lineup:  Drake, Major Lazer, OutKast, Stevie Wonder, Chance The Rapper, Chromeo, Darkside, Diplo, Haim, Lykke Li, A$AP Ferg, BANKS, Earl Sweatshirt, Forest Swords, Future Islands, Kelela, James Holden and more

With the profits of Roskilde donated to charities for children and humanitarian causes, you can leave the festival feeling less morally delinquent than you usually might. It’s the largest festival in Northern Europe and it lasts a whole seven days so revelers can really make the most of it. The camping is alleged to be an important part of the Roskilde festival experience, and showers and toilets complete that experience. Although the lake-side location of the site means you can opt for a natural dip. And from the looks of the photographs from it, if you’re into naked mud sliding – this is your festival.

Get your tickets here.




What: Lovebox
Where: London, UK
When: July 18 – 19

Lineup:  Nas performing Illmatic, M.I.A., A$AP Rocky, Woodkid, Joey Bada$$, Duke Dumont, Bonobo, Mount Kimbie, Joy Orbison, Madlib, Soul Clap, Benji B and more.

Inner-city festival weekenders are a convenient way to attend a festival. Instead of shlepping across countries to reach your final destination, the festival is brought to you. The absence of camping means there’s a distinct reduction in smells, but just as much thirst to party. Lovebox is situated in East London and gives those traveling from near and far the chance to see a variety of dance-focused acts, which builds up anticipation for one of the many after-parties. And after all that, you can rest your weary head in an actual bed.

Pick up your tickets here.



What: Dour Festival
Where: Belgium
When: July 18 – 20

Lineup: 65daysofstatic, Baauer, Blawan, Boddika, Boys Noize, Phoenix, Nas performing Illmatic, Darkside, Flosstradamus, Freddie Gibbs, Hudson Mohawke, Joey Bada$$, Tyler, The Creator and more

Due to celebrate its 25th edition this year, the proof is in the longevity of Dour – and it’s still going as strong as ever. It does a good job at covering the full musical spectrum, with performances from bands and musicians that are bound to suit everybody’s tastes. But the festival does this without becoming too mainstream – it still gives enough focus to more underground, alternative music to satisfy the musos. And the music plays on for 17 out of the 24 hours in a day, which means there’s plenty of time to fit your partying in.

Get your tickets here.


summer-festivals-melt-festivalWhat: MELT!
Where: Ferropolis, Germany
When: July 19 – 21

Lineup: Chromeo, Baauer, Four Tet, Haim, Little Dragon, Panda Bear, Pantha Du Prince, Moderat, of Montreal, Omar Souleyman, Metronomy, Future Islands and more.

With a combination of big band performances and some of the world’s best DJs, MELT! Festival is described by the festival organizers as “electronic meets rock.” Which can be said to be true not only of the music but also the site itself. Ferropolis, or “the city of iron,” is an open-air museum of huge old industrial machines. That is until it’s taken over by MELT! who adorn these mechanical beasts with lights, lasers and LED signs. And because the site is mostly concrete, the muddy quagmires that so many festivals are known for are a thing of the past here.

Get your tickets here.



summer-festivals-dekmantel-festivalWhat: Dekmantel Festival
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
When: August 1 – 3

Lineup: Axel Boman, Daphni, DJ Harvey, Gerd Janson, Jamie XX, Jimmy Edgar, Nicolas Jaar, Joy Orbison, Moodymann, Theo Parrish, Ben Klock, DJ Koze, Jeff Mills, Jackmaster & Oneman Can U Dance, Tom Trago and more.

Last year saw the first festival venture from Amsterdam club promoters Dekmantel and it’s good news to hear they’ll be returning to the lush green forests of the Amsterdam forest for a second time. The lineup is primarily concerned with electronic music, simultaneously showcasing some of the biggest names and most exciting new talents. “Small festival, big names,” is there motto, keeping it on the more intimate side of festivals – with last year’s capacity maximum at 5,000. This year, the festival has been extended by a day and the festival organizers are providing the option of camping, while the festival’s closeness to Amsterdam means you can still quite easily opt for the more luxe festival experience by staying in an apartment or hotel.

Get your tickets here.


summer-festivals-osheaga-festivalWhat: Osheaga
Where: Montreal, Canada
When: August 1 – 3

Lineup: OutKast, Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, Modest Mouse, J. Cole, Lykke Li, Childish Gambino, Chromeo, Haim, SBTRKT, Pusha T, Chance The Rapper, Four Tet, Jon Hopkins, Joey Bada$$, Shlohmo and more.

The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival pitches itself towards the indie lovers among us, hosting a selection of eclectic music and arts over the three-day weekend. It’s situated in Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène in Montreal, where the beauty of the park is only heightened by the contrasting backdrop of Montreal’s skyline. The festival attracts some of the biggest and best names in alternative music, and this year plays host to one of OutKast’s many reunion tour dates. Its proximity to Montreal means it couldn’t be easier to travel to and from the city center, where there is an abundance of accommodation options.

Get your tickets here.



What: Øya Festival
Where: Oslo, Norway
When: August 5 – 9

Lineup: OutKast, Queens Of The Stone Age, The National, Janelle Monae, Joey Bada$$, Darkside, Little Dragon, Jon Hopkins, Todd Terje and more.

Øyafestivalen – or Øya Festival – is keen to bring together a diverse and international program to its location in Middelalderparken, Oslo. It attracts around 60,000 revelers to its four-day long festival each year, where music-lovers can expect to enjoy four stages of music on a site that also boasts the aquatic benefits of a lake. This years lineup includes big bands like The National and Queens Of The Stone Age to bring the noise, as well as dance-heads Jon Hopkins and Todd Terje.

Get your tickets here.



What: Dimensions Festival
Where: Fort Punta Christo, Croatia
When: August 21 – 31

Lineup: Warpaint, Darkside, Caribou, Theo Parrish, Kelela, The Internet, Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann, Onra, Nils Frahm, Moodymann, Floating Points, Nina Kraviz, Move D, Motor City Drum Ensemble and more.

There are many ways to describe Dimensions, flawless is one of them. Situated in an abandoned 19th-century fort on the coast of Croatia, this festival location is like no other. With each area of the site hosting the different stages, over the four days you can expect to party in a courtyard, a ballroom and even a moat. Take into consideration all those boat parties along the stunning Croatian coastline and it’s impossible to have a single moment that’s devoid of fun at Dimensions. The well-curated lineup focuses on the more underground side of music, catering largely to house and techno devotees, with a smattering of live music to set in those balmy sunset evenings.

Get your tickets here.



summer-festivals-labyrinth-festivalWhat: Labyrinth Festival
Where: Naeba Greenland, Japan
When: September 14 – 16

Lineup: This year’s lineup is yet to be released, but if last year is anything to go by it won’t disappoint – if you’re an avid techno connoisseur.

The emphasis of Labyrinth is on careful curation rather than overwhelming selection, with just one single stage of music at the Naeba Greenland, Japan-located festival. The handpicked lineup of DJs come from a lineage of well-respected house and techno DJs, all of which who know exactly how to use the exceptional Funktion One sound system to its advantage.

The site is as spectacular as its musical attention to detail, sandwiched between the fabulous, luscious, green mountains of Niigata, which are covered in powdery snow by winter. Only 5% of the tickets can be purchased internationally, however, so we hope you won’t be too disappointed if you can’t find them after this build up.

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