European Music Festivals Guide 2016
Whether you’re after a weekend of sun-soaked tunes or an urban rave, we’ve got the dates, the line-ups and the lowdown on the hottest tickets in Europe this summer…
Brand new to Europe, Groovefest is winging its way from the Dominican Republic to various locations around the island of Malta this April/May. Kerri Chandler, Appolonia, Kolsch (DJ set), MK, Hot Since 82, Detroit Swindle, Mathias Tanzmann, Jamie Jones and Guti are just some of the acts bound for Malta’s shores.
Where: Gianpula Complex, Rabat and Café Del Mar, St Pauls Bay and boat parties around the island
When: 29th April – 1st May
Indie, hip-hop, rock, it’s all there at Primavera. Think of it as Barcelona’s answer to Glastonbury, but with a lot less mud (and a lot more sun). This year’s line-up is as solid as ever, with Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Sigur Rós, Tame Impala, PJ Harvey, Beach House, Suede and The Last Shadow Puppets set to headline.
Where: Barcelona Forum, Spain
When: 2nd – 4th June
One week. Eight stages. 175 music acts. As famous for its humanitarian projects as it is for its big name acts, Roskilde offers one of the most unique music festival experiences in the world. In 2016, the festival-with-a-heart welcomes PJ Harvey, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals, Tame Impala and Tenacious D to its main stages.
Where: Roskilde, Denmark (25 minutes from Copenhagen by train)
When: 25th June – 2nd July
The four-day Open’er Festival pitches up on a huge former military airfield just outside of Gdynia in Poland and offers an eclectic mix of hip-hop, electro, indie and house. This year’s headliners include Florence + The Machine, The 1975 and Wiz Khalifa.
Where: Gdynia, Poland
When: 29th June – 2nd July
Sunshine, boat parties, beach parties, and banging tunes are the order of the day at Love International, which picks up where the awesome Garden Festival left off last year. This is going to be another one of those glorious Croatian festivals that combines all the best things about life, in one concentrated area full of supremely good vibes. The line-up is amazing, plus this year is the first one, so if you’re a fan of festival firsts this one is for you.
When: 29th June – 6th July
The South of France’s biggest festival celebrates its 20th birthday in style this year with over 60 live performances from acts including Muse, Disclosure, The Hives and The Kills. There’s plenty more action off-stage too including petanque competitions and art exhibitions – plus the pretty town of Marmande is just a 10-minute stroll from the festival site.
When: 30th June – 3rd July
Nos Alive returns to rock the Lisbon coastline this summer with Radiohead, Arcade Fire and The Chemical Brothers heading up the bill for 2016. When it comes to after-parties, you’ll be spoilt for choice – Algés is sandwiched between the non-stop nightlife of Lisbon and the beach bars of Estoril’s coast. Embrace the madness – nobody remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep…
Where: Passeio Maritimo de Algés, Portugal
When: 7th – 9th July
Electric Daisy Carnival
Electric Daisy Carnival is coming all the way from Las Vegas to blow the socks off Milton Keynes for one unforgettable night of absolutely banging dance music. From house djs to techno and even some old school trance heavyweights (Ferry Corsten anyone?) through to the dirtiest Drum & Base and jungle you can fathom, the tunes here will be so good that frankly one night is enough for anyone.
Where: Milton Keynes Bowl
When: Saturday 9th July
With sun, sand, sea and a stellar line-up that features The Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack, Kendrick Lamar and Bloc Party, Benicàssim is the one to beat if you fancy rolling a music festival and a beach holiday into one epic weekend. Expect all-night parties, as well as the latest addition to the festival site – a ‘dancing beach’ stage.
Where: Benicassim, Spain
When: 14th – 17th July
SuncéBeat sets sail to Croatia this July with DJ Jazzy Jeff, Black Coffee, Louie Vega, Derrick Carter, Auntie Flo, Mo Kolours and Detroit Swindle bringing the sounds of summer to the coastal village of Tisno. Look forward to boat parties on the Argonaughty, including sunset trips to the beautiful Kornati Islands.
Where: Tisno, Croatia (around 45 mins from Zadar airport)
When: 20th – 27th July
This year’s Tomorrowland sold out in record time, but if you’re lucky enough to get your mitts on the hottest festival tickets around, you can look forward to Armin van Buuren, Eric Prydz, Deadmau5 and Oliver Helden taking to the decks in Belgium this July.
Where: Boom, Belgium (yep, fittingly the town really is called Boom – it’s located between Antwerp and Brussels)
When: 22nd – 24th July 2016
Ask anyone who’s been – Soundwave is one of the loveliest festivals you could have the pleasure of getting crunk at. The line-up is always awesome and features plenty of electronica with a healthy dose of nice dub, and a bit of proper hip hop too (Pharoahe Monch headlines this year). The weather is always equally awesome, the crowd is generally comprised of really sound people, and the sea is right there the whole time, and perfect for swimming in.
Where: Tisno, Craotia
When: 4th-8th August 2016
If there was an award for the greenest, (cleanest) and most chilled-out summer festival in Europe, it would surely go to Oya in Oslo. Set in the beautiful surroundings of Tøyenparken, the 2016 line-up features New Order, Jamie XX, Chvrches and M83.
Where: Tøyenparken, Oslo
When: 9th – 13th August
Looking for a place to feel free? That’s this year’s slogan for Sziget 2016, the week-long festival of music, theatre and art that takes place on the island of Óbuda in the heart of Budapest’s Danube. Chill out with cocktails at the Sziget Beach venue before checking out sets by Noel Gallagher, Sia, Muse, David Guetta, The Last Shadow Puppets, Jess Glynne, The Lumineers, plus tonnes more new and emerging talent.
Where: Sziget, Budapest
When: 10th – 17th August
Muse, Sigur Rós, Chvrches, The Last Shadow Puppets and LCD Soundsystem are just some of the acts taking to the stage at Lowlands this August. Festival-goers can also look forward to theatre performances, stand-up comedy and open-air markets all within an hour from Amsterdam.
When: 19th – 21st August
Where: Biddinghuizen, The Netherlands
Italy + awesome live music = summer festival perfection. Staged in the beautiful medieval town of Asolo, headliners at this year’s AMA Music Festival include Foals, Vitalic and Thee OH Sees. Quite possibly you’ll never want to leave, but with Venice so close, there’s plenty of scope to plan an Italian adventure around your festival trip.
Where: Asolo, Italy
When: 23rd – 28th August
South West Four
South London gets its Ibiza on over the August Bank holiday when Clapham Common’s South West Four festival plays host to some of the biggest electronic music acts in the world including The Chemical Brothers, Above & Beyond and Sasha.
Where: Clapham Common, London
When: 27th – 28th August
Rock En Seine
The world’s biggest rock stars have been jetting into Paris to play Rock en Seine since 2003 – Foo Fighters, Blondie and Arctic Monkeys are just some of the acts to have headlined over the years. The festival prides itself on its varied programme of events and family-friendly atmosphere, even hosting a Mini Rock En Seine for kids as part of its line-up every year. Watch this space for 2016 announcements.
Where: Domaine National de Saint-Cloud park, just west of Paris
When: 26th – 28th August
See off the festival season in style with a trip to Ireland’s Electric Picnic in early September. LCD Soundsystem, Lana Del Rey, The Chemical Brothers and New Order are just a few of the acts that have already confirmed sets for the annual arts and music extravaganza that takes place in the leafy surroundings of the Stradbally Estate in Co. Laois. Keep an eye on the Electric Picnic website for news of further additions.
Where: Stradbally Estate, Co. Laois
When: 2nd – 4th September
For one final festival hurrah, head to Lollapalooza in Berlin where truckloads of music acts including Kings of Leon, James Blake and Martin Solveig will be taking over the German capital for two days in September.
Where: Treptower Park, Berlin
When: 10th and 11th September