Music festivals have come a long way since the psychedelic wig-outs of the '60s. These days, there's a festival for everyone, even if you've shunned most annual mud-fests in the past because you dance to disco and you don't like rock. Beyond impressive architecture, diverse culture, and a smorgasbord of culinary offerings, Europe is also a mecca to some of the world’s biggest music festivals.
Access the best of the fest as you tick off the top five music festivals Europe has to offer.
Europe’s most hip festival at the moment, Primavera’s too cool for school line-ups is a hit across all genres—classic indie, rock, and pop.
Running across two sites, Barcelona and Porto, on consecutive weekends, Primavera attracts 200,00-strong attendees. Perfectly synchronized to one’s morning runs in the city or a late-night swim at the beach, Primavera is held at the Parc del Fòrum, a concrete complex on the waterfront. Acts such as Ariel Pink, Lorde, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Unknown Mortal Orchestra have all played in the festival.
Northside, Aarhus, Denmark
Relatively new to the festival scene until late 2016, this laid-back, mid-sized festival enjoys a steady number of festival-goer with Radiohead headlining in 2017. Set in the European Capital of Culture, Aarhus, Denmark, Northside is expected to triple its attendees as Bjork, The National, and Beck take the stage this summer.
A pleasant walk from the city centre, with makeshift bars lined up along the river banks, the contemporary art museum ARoS is a must-visit for festival attendees looking for a visual treat.
Secret Solstice, Reykjavijk
A feast for the eyes as it is for the ears, Secret Solstice is set during solstice in picturesque Iceland. Experience sensory overload and attend a surreal concert in a lava tunnel, with DJ-lead parties in a hollowed-out glacier.
The main festival takes place across five stages and is easily combined with sightseeing in tiny Reykjavik. The festival partners with a company offering day trips to the Blue Lagoon spa, or to a whiskey distillery – as well as activities, such as ice walking and whale and puffin watching. Performing this summer are a mixed bunch, including Slayer, Bonnie Tyler and Skream.
Norway's coolest festival is effortlessly so, with an easygoing crowd of 60,000 or so lapping up a huge range of music, from hip-hop to pop to death metal in the lush surroundings of Toyen Park, Oslo.
In between the acts, festival-goers can browse stalls selling records, art and clothes while sampling organic food.
Kendrick Lamar, Arcade Fire and Lykke Li are set to set the stage this summer.
Flow Festival, Helsinki
Gaining prominence each year, Flow Festival presents an exciting line-up to a sophisticated crowd. Set in fairy lights-lit, artsy surroundings of a former power plant, festival-goers can feast on helpings of delicious food from the capital’s top restaurateurs—served in on-trend food trucks.
The city centre is a short hop away, visitors are invited to explore its boulevards, green spaces and island swimming spots. Huge public saunas dot the area and are the ideal place to unwind and, in the traditional Finnish way, relax with new-found friends.
Expect to see the likes of Patti Smith, Grizzly Bear, Shame and Kendrick Lamar this year.
Putting a premium on experience, Europe puts on some incredible shows, in places often likely to be sunnier and open later than those in Britain. Set in locations that tourists wouldn’t otherwise see, some festivals offer a multisensory treat, after-parties take over late-night saunas and pop-up bars built into the corners of an industrial wasteland.
These city festivals are perfect, too, for those who would rather grab precious sleep on luxury linens as opposed to curled up in a damp sleeping bag. Many offer packages that come with a range of hotel options.
As music fans clamor to fiesta further, embrace a new city or country, its sounds and its nightlife, while they are at it. High up in the mountains, down by the ocean, or even inside a glacial tunnel, expect to have only the most Instagram-worthy music festival experience only Europe can provide. Your only problem? Deciding which festival to go to.
Once you’ve decided which festival to go to (or which festival to go to… first!), make sure you pack with you your handy hydration pack and fanny pack from SoJourner Bags! These bags are your perfect music festival companion as these let you secure your stuff and keep you hydrated all throughout the day, hands-free and fashionably so!