The 5 Best Festivals in Europe to get your party on in the summer

The summer music season has been pushed to the fringes extending into the early months of the year and reaching all the way out to the late year holidays. There is an overwhelming number of amazing festivals in Europe which seems to quickly be becoming the number one in the world for extravagant and varied festival experiences.

There are many festivals that are not directly involved with music, such as craft festivals (hell, Turner was even doped into working at a festival in Holland for children) and other great niche events. But all these festivals take music to the very core of what they are all about. In doing so, they celebrate fashion culture, arts, design, and everything else in between in a collective swirl of fun and excitement. Below is the top 5 overall festivals in Europe, for a more comprehensive list, here is a Europe festival guide.

End of the Road

end of the road festival

We do not necessarily start with the biggest festival, but End of the Road is certainly the most charming. 2014 was led by headlining gurus The Flaming Lips, and was rounded off with indie giant Yo La Tengo, St Vincent, and the always alarming Stephen Malkmus.

The festival is particularly known for its independent credibility. It really manages to bring in acts that often do not appear at other European festivals, making End of the Road a sort of rudimentary exploration of indie’s left of center.’ This attracts a very eclectic crowd. Because of its niche offering and relative smallness (relative, of course, to the massive festivals in Europe) the cost is pretty modest. At about 100 euros, you can enjoy an eccentric blend of new and invigorating indie sounds.

 

OYA fest

Fleet Foxes - ¯ya 11

This usually four day festival is world renowned for its mixture of the biggest contemporary acts in all major genres, inter-dispersed with some buzzworthy bands gathering a large following.

2014 saw a line-up that included the recently reunited OutKast as well as the return from hiatus doom rock group, Queens of the Stone Age. Both these acts gathered massive crowds. OYA also gets one-off appearances. For example, you had electronic duo Royksopp pairing with European pop star Robyn for in brilliant set of original material. What makes the four day organization so great is that you can manage to see most of the acts you want to. Sure, the line-up each day is jampacked, but it is not excessively so. The attendance records are reasonable, and the line-up spread out thin enough that you can manage to attend all four days and see just about everything.

It can be a bit costly. At hundreds of euros for a full attendance, you can expect the need to save up for the year.

Tomorrowland

tomorrowland in europe festival

Tomorrowland is arguably one of the world’s most famous and widely recognized electronic festivals. Ultra Music fest in Florida puts up a good fight, but Belgium’s Tomorrowland is quite possibly on a whole different scale entirely. It has been active since 2005 and it is in the small town of Boom. The festival dominates the entire town, for this Northern Brussels city-district gets absolutely overrun with electronic music fans. Considering the majority of electronics’ current popular attributes arose from Europe and parts of North Belgium, the place seems only appropriate.

Glastonbury

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Glastonbury is the world’s largest music festival, and could not possibly be ignored on a list of the greatest music festivals in Europe. What they lack in tact and the reigning in of indie elites, they make up for with sheer volume. 2014’s Glastonbury saw close to 500 acts grace one stage or another, from small tent set-ups to borderline arena stages set-up miles away. Glastonbury also has close to 100 stages set-up at any given time, making it nearly impossible to see all the bands you wanted to. You will have to make a lot of compromises. This is especially so considering that Glastonbury is confined to three days. If we were speaking proportionally to other European festivals, we would need about two weeks to properly cover all the acts.

Glastonbury is sort of like another universe. There are lots of codes snuck into the event to keep things reasonable and lawful, but it seems to exist on its own terms. Many attendees ferry into Glastonbury from other European countries. Glastonbury rests in Western London, and is across the sea from Paris, Belgium, and the Netherlands where most attendees travel in remotely. Glastonbury can cost close to 500 euros to attend, and many report spending a lot more for access. There is even a famous Glastonbury map given out, with carts that escort attendees throughout the region.

 

Primavera Sound

primavera-2013-650

The thing about Primavera Sound is that it is a bit of an encapsulation of everything that makes a European music festival great. Firstly, you have just about every major festival band for the year. For example, 2014 saw The national, Pixies, Nine Inch nails, Kendrick Lamar, Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel, Disclosure, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Haim, Chvrches, and St. Vincent, among hundreds of others. These were the major headliners, and especially apt music fans will notice that they are all mainstays in the festival circuits. Primavera is like a refined Glastonbury with a lower attendance rate and overall size. But it manages to create what is essentially a greatest hits of festival bands. Across three days, the show is a testament to the big bands of the year and the rising stars of the times. There is a strong slant towards electronic music and heavier rock, which gives the festival an edgier feeling overall.

The especially potent line-up of bands at primavera ends up representing the best of what Europe has to offer.

Many people travel from all over the world to attend these great events. Europe is quickly rising to the top with their festival offerings, merging sounds from the Untied States with Europe’s own unique palette of music. Attending even one of the above events could be a game-changer. Fitted with some of the best bands in modern music, you cannot go wrong with any for each has their own unique perks and style.

Guest Writer
turnerbarr@yahoo.com
10 Comments
  • Michela of Rocky Travel Blog
    Posted at 11:56h, 25 August

    Great list of European Festivals. The Primavera Sounds is the one that most attracts me. I hope one day I can visit.

    • Turner
      Posted at 12:04h, 03 September

      Yeah it was my first time hearing about it, but Barca has got soooo much going on it is ridiculous. I will probably just live there for a few months so I don’t miss any of the action.

  • Bhavya
    Posted at 23:54h, 25 August

    My cousin went to Primavera last year. He was in a daze for the next 2 months. His bar has been pushed so high, the local fests like Sunburn seem like a pittance to him.

    Kudos for the post,

    Bhavya.

    • Turner
      Posted at 12:05h, 03 September

      haha such is life. Always want a greater adventure. Comparison robs us of joy, love each for their own excellence.

  • Caroline Achieng Otieno
    Posted at 12:18h, 30 August

    You can never be bored in Europe during summer..so many festivals to go to!!

    • Turner
      Posted at 12:03h, 03 September

      Yeah seriously. I am mixed on Europe in the summer as a lot of cities empty out and tourists hordes swarm like locusts. But I will go at it next year.

  • Victoria@ The British Berliner
    Posted at 12:08h, 01 September

    An interesting collection Turner! I went to Glastonbury in the 90’s. A crazy time!

    Where I’d like to go next year perhaps is Tomorrowland. I only heard about Tomoorowland in July, and Belgium isn’t that far LOL! It’s so my type of music especially as “The Love Parade” moved on from Berlin, where I live.

    • Turner
      Posted at 12:02h, 03 September

      Yeah I haven’t been to nearly as many as I want bc I have been busy with jobs, but I will make it a priority. My favs are the Fringe in Edinburgh and Positivos in Latvia.

  • Monika
    Posted at 00:18h, 02 September

    Visit Przystanek Woodstock in Kostrzyn (Poland), 750 000 people this year, atmosphere like nowhere else

    • Turner
      Posted at 12:06h, 03 September

      I love Poland. Deal.