The rain, that mud, those loos; no wonder we want to ditch the UK for the coolest, quirkiest festivals overseas. Summer holiday, anyone?
If you want to: Do sunny city sightseeing
Head for: Primavera Sound, Barcelona, 29-31 May
Even if you weren’t that into music, we’d recommend this one – think of the tapas bars, the parties, the beaches… it’s the best of both worlds. Saying that, when the line-up is this fierce, how could you not be into music? Arcade Fire, The Pixies, Haim, Disclosure… and, breathe. Primavera, you’ve done it again.
If you want to: Run for the hills
Head for: Meadows in the Mountains, Bulgaria, 13-15 June
Inspired by the Burning Man festival, we’d move mountains for a piece of this fab fest in the Bulgarian countryside. Promising a ‘festival unlike any other’ (don’t they all?), these guys are actually telling the truth – there’s horse and cart taxis, a zip line, horse-riding and a *shivers* death slide. And some of the best DJs you haven’t heard of. Yet. Party on.
If you want to: Kick back on the beach
Head for: Exit (and Sea Dance), Serbia, 10-13 July and 15-17 July
In its 15th year, Exit’s kind of legendary – no wonder it was just voted best European Festival (at the EU Festival Awards). This summer, the adventure’s bigger than ever with the aptly-titled ‘Exit Adventure’ which lasts for seven days (the four-day Exit festival at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad and then three-day Sea Dance festival on the beach in Montenegro after that). Oh, and Damon Albarn and Disclosure are headlining. Need we say more?
If you want to: Rock on
Head for: Dour Festival, Belgium, 17-20 July
Dubbing itself ‘five days of love and alternative music’, Dour fest is not wrong. If you’re in it purely for the live bands (and love camping), it’s time to get acquainted. Last year it was all about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, this summer, Phoenix are your guys. Oh and beer. We imagine the beer won’t be bad either.
If you want to: Party like an, erm, veggie
Head for: Way Out West, Sweden, 7-9 August
And really wild this West is too, making the woodland setting of Slottsskogen park in Gothenburg – the music capital of Sweden, don’t ya know – kind of purr-fect. Folk flock there as much for the vast range of environmentally friendly veggie food as the stellar line-up which this year boasts The National, Queens of the Stone Age and Janelle Monae. Rock ‘n’ (falafel) roll.
If you want to: Do the cool, arty one
Head for: Salt, Norway, 29 August – 1 September
Launching this year on a beach in the mountainous island of Sandhornoya, this ain’t your average festival. But while you might struggle to find street food, rest assured you’ll be part of something pretty spectacular. Exploring arts, culture and the environment, this is just the first in a series of conceptual events in Arctic locations.
You want to: Set sail
Head for: Unknown, Croatia, 8-12 September
Anyone who knows their Hunters from their high tops and their trilbys from their Heisenbergs knows that when it comes to festivalling abroad, Croatia is king. We’re all over (the now-not-so) Unknown festival, right on the coast, next to the picture-perfect town of Rovinj. Only in its second year, it’s got Wild Beasts and Chvrches, boat parties and private islands. Perfect for post-summer partying, or just winding down (who are you trying to kid?).
If you want to: Board a disco tram
Head for: Waves, Vienna, 2-4 October
Yes, really – since this is the festival where you can expect the hottest new music to pop up in the most unexpected places – and (hopefully) get you into all kinds of trouble. Hit old-school Viennese cafes, riverboats and the Ferris wheel; whether you’re an obscure electro buff or just a massive party animal, revel in the city – festivals don’t get much more fun than this.
Now here are the 7 tiny festivals we’re all over this summer.