Attending a music festival can be one of the most intense, awe-inspiring experiences you have in life and many people find themselves completely addicted to the atmosphere and thrill. Whilst you may get your first taste of the wonders of music festivals close to home, there are plenty of incredible events to explore all over the world.
From rock and indie to dance music, from desserts to snow-capped mountains, exploring music festivals around the world can expand your horizons even further, leaving you with incredible lasting memories.
We have whittled down our list of the absolute best music festivals from around the world to put on your bucket list, so here they are:
Boomtown is a themed festival held in Hampshire, in the South of England. Every year a theme or “chapter” is released which follows a storyline continuing on from the previous events.
Stages are separated out into different districts that follow the theme. Artists tend to be a real mixture of genres, bands, DJs and performers.
Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage, The Streets
Set in the Spanish town of Benicàssim in Valencia, Benicàssim Festival has become a go-to for music lovers who like the guarantee of sunny weather for their festivals.
Playing host to some of the world’s most popular rock, indie and pop bands, Benicàssim has traditionally been fairly small but has recently expanded and will only continue to grow as its popularity gains.
Kasabian, Two Door Cinema Club, Justice
2nd week of July
8. EXIT Festival
Having won the award for Best Major Festival twice in the past 20 years, Serbia’s EXIT Festival is as historic as it is thrilling. Set in a fortress on the Danube river, EXIT Festival was founded during a student movement for democracy and freedom in the Balkans.
Its lineup sways heavily towards dance music with DJs from across a wide spectrum.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Boris Brejcha
7. Primavera Sound
Primavera Sound festival takes place in Barcelona, making it one of the best “urban” festivals within touching distance to a major European city. With an eclectic lineup of acts, Primavera covers artists from across rock, indie, dance and pop.
Massive Attack, Beck, Gorillaz
1st weekend of June
Hosted in Chicago, USA Lollapalooza is one of the biggest festivals in the world and one of the longest running in the US. First created by the lead singer of band, Janes Addiction, in 1991 Lollapalooza now attracts crowds of over 400,000 people every year.
Music tends to sway more towards the rock, metal and alternative end of the spectrum, but you can expect to find pop, electronic and hip hop artists there too.
Miley Cyrus, Tyler the Creator, Post Malone, Foo Fighters
Final weekend of July.
Held on an island in the Danube river in the north of Budapest, Hungary, Sziget has become one of the biggest and longest festivals in the world. With over 550,000 people attending each year and 2 awards for Best Major European Festival, Sziget is undoubtedly one of the greatest music festivals to attend.
Music is predominantly rock and alternative, but with over 1,000 performances over the course of the week you will find artists from a wide range of genres.
Arctic Monkeys, Dua Lipa, Kings of Leon
2nd week of August
Set in the snowy mountains of Mayrhofen, Austria, Snowbombing is unique for its wintery feel and its integration with skiing and snowboarding. Guests flock to the ski resort town of Mayrhofen every year, booking out all the rooms of local hotels to listen to an eclectic lineup of bands and DJs.
Whilst predominantly an electronic music festival, occasional bands do perform.
Bicep, Fatboy Slim
1st week of April
Hosted in the Flanders region of Belgium, Tomorrowland has become world renowned for its stunning visuals, light shows and set designs. Music is almost entirely from the electronic and dance genres, making it stand out as an unapologetic dance festival.
With an attendance in 2019 of 400,000 Tomorrowland is certainly one of the biggest festivals in the world. Each year has a theme which is reflected in the design of stages. In 2019 the theme was “The Book of Wisdom” which encapsulated a fairytale feel throughout the festival.
Hardwell, Tiësto, Afrojack, Major Lazer Soundsystem
End of July
2. Burning Man
Burning Man’s history goes back to 1986 when two friends named Larry Harvey and Jerry James constructed an 8-foot-tall make-shift wooden figure and hauled it to San Francisco’s Baker Beach for the Summer Solstice. They then lit it on fire, successfully managing to gather about 20 people to watch the show. And in this weird way, the festival came into existence.
Since then, every year, the Burning Man festival starts on the last Monday of August and ends on the first Monday of September managing to attract more than 50,000 people. Participants are given a chance to express themselves by showing off their works of art while including the annual theme at the same time.
End of August – Start of September
Glastonbury is often considered the pinnacle of festivals owing to its long history and enduring atmosphere. With all profits going to a range of selected charities, Glastonbury encapsulates a real peace and love vibe that sets it apart from all other festivals. With over 100+ stages and thousands of performances throughout the 5 day event, it is certainly an experience offering something for everyone.
Artists are paid much less for their appearances at Glastonbury Festival as it is seen by most to be a prestigious event to perform at. Performances are broadcast throughout BBC television and radio channels for the entirety of the event, making it a national institution.
Set in the sleepy countryside village of Shepton Mallet in the South West of England, Glastonbury attracts over 200,000 attendees every year.
Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar
Final weekend of June