Best European Music Festivals this Summer

by Jules on April 18, 2013

The age old dilemma usually starts to rear its ugly head around this time of year: do I go on holiday, or do I go to a festival? Whether it’s time or money constraints, for many of us, it can be a tough decision, especially when a summer over here seems very unlikely, and your favourite band just released a new album, and have been announced as the headlining act everywhere.

Instead of having to make this decision, why not mix both, and go to a festival abroad? Not only do you get a holiday, you get live music, and a festival that you can actually spend in shorts and flip-flops, not wellington boots, knee deep in mud.


Where: UK

When: 28 – 30 June

Who: Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons, Billy Bragg, Skream + Benga, Alt-J

How much: £205 will get you a weekend ticket, but only if you remember to register in October. However, some tickets get resold in April.

Why: Because it’s Glastonbury! With over 100 stages across the festival, it turns into its own universe. Everyone has played here, from Beyonce and Jay Z, to Tom Jones and Elvis Costello.

Distinguishing features? Glasto gives back: it raises money for a variety of charities, including Water Aid, Oxfam, and Greenpeace.


Where: Belguim

When: 15 – 17 August

Who: Eminem, The xx, The Prodigy, Fall Out Boy, Foals, Imagine Dragons

How much: €165

Why: it always has a huge range of bands playing, and is Belgium’s second largest open air festival.

Distinguishing features? The festival has quite a chequered history: Charles Haddon, lead singer of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, committed suicide in 2010, and in 2011, a huge storm hit the site, resulting in fatalities and severe injuries.


Where: Croatia

When: 29 August – 2 September

Who: Andy C, Joey Bada$$, Goldie, Shy FX, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Boddika

How much: £135 for the weekend, but package deals can be arranged

Why: Outlook is the largest bass music and soundsystem festival in Europe, attracting some of the largest names in music.

Distinguishing features? Some of the stages include a castle dungeon, an empty moat, the town’s harbour, and on board a boat.


Where: Serbia

When: 10 – 14 July

Who: Atoms for Peace, Snoop Dogg/Lion, Ceelo Green, Fatboy Slim, Bloc Party, Eric Prydz

How much: a weekend ticket is £95, or £115 will get you a ticket, airport transfers, and accommodation.

Why: the festival is held in an 18th century fortress: Petrovaradin.

Distinguishing features? Exit Festival has its roots in helping Serbian youth, especially in relation to education, as well as being politically active.

Rock Werchter

Where: Belgium

When: 4 – 7 July

Who: Green Day, The National, Netsky, Bloc Party, Blur, The Gaslight Anthem

How much: €200

Why: there’s enough choice and variation between bands and music types to please even the most fussy of listeners. In previous years, bands from Muse, to Oasis, and Metallica have played: there’s room for everyone here.

Distinguishing features? Rock Werchter boasts one of the best line-ups of any festival, guaranteeing big names throughout the day, on every stage.


Where: Croatia

When: 3 – 5 July

Who: Chase + Status, Skream + Benga, Eats Everything, Dusky

How much: £109

Why: set on one of Croatia’s most beautiful beaches, Zrce Beach on the Island of Pag, Hideout has artists playing everywhere from the beach to boats.

Distinguishing features? Despite only running for three years, it’s already established itself as a major player in the Croatian music scene, rubbing shoulders with bigger festivals such as Dimensions and Outlook.

Secret Garden Party

Where: UK

When: 25 – 28 July

Who: Soulwax, Regina Spektor, Bastille, Django Django, Modestep, Rodigan

How much: the ticket system is tiered, and they get more expensive as they sell out. Tier 1 is £142.50, going up to £201.50 for Tier 5 tickets.

Why: Secret Garden Party is an independent festival, divided into different areas and stages. Think a mix between Alice in Wonderland and A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, and you should have a good idea.

Distinguishing features? Most bands pay for free – they do it because they love the festival, the atmosphere, and the music! SGP only release weekend tickets: either you’re in or you’re out!

Wacken Open Air

Where: Germany

When: 1 – 3 August

Who: Anthrax, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, Nightwish, Deep Purple

How much: €140

Why: Wacken offers every kind of metal: death, power, thrash, gothic, and folk, as well as nu-metal, metalcore, and hard rock.

Distinguishing features? The Wacken Firefighters open every year – the local volunteer fire department band!

Peace & Love

Where: Sweden

When: 25 – 29 June

Who: Depeche Mode, Queens of the Stone Age, Ben Howard, Paramore

How much: 1960,00kr (or £200!)

Why: not only are the bands going to be epic, but the entire festival promotes exactly what is says: a message of solidarity, diversity and understanding.

Distinguishing features? Peace & Love was founded to counter the amount of violence in Borlӓnge, the location of the festival.

Arenal Sound

Where: Spain

When: 1 – 4 August

Who: Editors, The Kooks, The Drums, Chase + Status, The Fratellis, The Maccabees

How much: €52.50

Why: set on one of Spain’s gorgeous beaches, Arenal Sound has chilled out music, a great atmosphere, and no shortage of sun!

Distinguishing features? Alongside the bands, check out the Beach Club – it’s six days (30 July – 4 August) of music, 24 hours a day, complete with a 300m² pool.


Written by Harry Peters of Just The Flight who are a low cost flight booking company in the UK. Visit online at

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